Unfortunately we are staying in quarantine all over the world. Public playgrounds and other kids-friendly services are shutting down. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t play at home. This is a great opportunity to represent environmental content to our kids. During quarantine we will be producing enormous amount of waste (paper, glass, plastic, fabrics, wood…) so there will be plenty material to recycle.
#1 Paper selection
Paper selection is the first phase where you define the quality of your final handmade paper. We suggest to recycle drawing, printmaking, and watercolor papers as they are generally made from stronger fibers and not chemically treated tree fiber. But still you can experiment with junk mail, office paper, paper grocery bags, the yellow pages, and more. Avoid glued or coated paper.
#2 Tear the paper into small pieces
Cut or tear your paper into small pieces. Put them into plastic tub.
#3 Dip the paper into warm water
Dip the paper into warm water for a few hours or overnight.
#4 Blend the paper to get smooth pulp
Fill up a kitchen blender with handful or two of the tear paper. Add a glass of water from the plastic bucket where you dip the paper. Start blending with a smaller amount of paper otherwise you can burn the blender motor out. Keep blending until you get a pulp.
#5 Assemble your “mold”
For assembling your mold you’ll need picture frame, cotton textile or mosquito net, scissors, and stapler. Try to use materials that you have at home. The most important is that this fabric or net is permeable.
#6 Pour the pulp into your “mold”
The color of homemade paper usually becomes gray. So if you have some acrylic color you can add it to your pulp and mix it well. Dip the frame into the pulp, take it out, and the water will slowly drain. Don’t forget to use gloves to protect your skin.
#7 Flip the “mold” over and press out excess water
Find your old towels and kitchen clothes. Flip the “mold” over the towel to get paper out. Lay over another towel and dry it a bit with an iron.
#8 Let the paper dry
It will take you 1-2 days to dry out the paper. It depends how thick it is. If you’ll put more water into pulp it will become thinner.
#9 Make your own greetings card
It is taking time to make a handmade paper. Kids were following the process of recycling and couldn’t believe that you can reuse paper waste in such way. Allow them to decorate the greetings card and make them priceless.