recycled paper (any kind, really. Newspaper, copy paper, construction, tissue. Just avoid gossy magazine paper. The ink gets everywhere!)
10 gallon bin
Wooden rib (a ceramic tool)
Mould (screen stretched over a wood frame)
Kitchen blender (not the same one you use for food)
Blue shop rags
Tear or cut paper into small pieces.
Soak in water in a large kitchen mixing bowl at least 10 minutes. This helps break down the paper before you blend it, and helps prevent the blender from getting clogged. If you skip this step, your pulp will be more chunky (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
Fill 10 gallon bin with 5 inches of water.
Place pre-soaked paper and water into a blender and blend until it has created a pulp. How fine or chunky you make it is up to you, but the finer the pulp, the smoother and more uniform the paper.
Add 1 Tbsp white baking flour to blender and blend again. This helps the pulp stick together and makes for stronger paper.
Pour pulp into 10 gallon bucket.
Mix pulp and water in the 10 gallon bin.
Take the screen with the flat side facing up and push it to the bottom of the bin.
Move it side to side to make sure the pulp is evenly distributed throughout the water.
Pull the screen up through the pulp slowly.
Allow water to drip through. You may need to tilt it slightly from side to side to prevent the pulp from collecting in one area.
Press the sponge to the underside of the screen. Absorb and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Lay a blue shop rag on a flat surface with a folded towel underneath. The aim is to draw water out of the paper, so the more absorbent the better,
Place the screen face down on the rag, so the paper is sandwiched between the rag and the screen.
Use a wooden rib (or a credit card) to compress the paper by running it smoothly back and forth across the screen, making sure you get all of the edges.
Take the paper off the screen: With one finger, rub the shop rag (with the paper still between it and the screen) in an arching motion to help the paper detach from the screen. Once one edge is freed, you can try to lift and peel the paper off the screen. If your paper is very thin, i recommend leaving it stuck to the rag while you do this to avoid tearing. If it's thicker, you may be able to remove the shop rag and peel the paper off the screen by itself.
Every sheet of paper is a little different from the last, so this process takes a lot of trial and error! With time you'll start to be able to predict how the paper will react to each of these steps and adapt how you manipulate it.
Tip: make sure your fingers are wet! If they're dry, the paper may stick to you and tear.
Now is a good time to change your pulp if you aren't happy with the paper you made. If it's too thin, blend more paper and add it to your large bin. If it's too think, add more water or start with the screen less deep. If you want to mess with the color or texture, add colored paper or any other blendable item. I use a lot of leaves, flower petals and glitter :)
Leave the paper to dry. If you left it on a shop rag when you removed it from the screen, peel the paper off the shop rag when it is damp. If you leave it on the rag to dry completely, it may get glued to the rag.
When paper is almost completely dry, I flatten it using an iron.
Did it work??? If you have any questions, please send me a message on any social media platform and I'll be happy to help!