In the weeks leading up to Christmas last year, I was browsing through my local Bartell Drugs store. At the front of the store, they had some shelves with some novel Christmas gift ideas. On this shelf were some boxes of paper recycling kits! I’d seen these in the past, but never before did I really have a use for homemade paper until Andrew and I got into making handmade cards. Knowing that handmade paper might add an even more personal touch to our cards, I bought the kit for Andrew to open on Christmas. It wasn’t until after New Year’s that we actually dug in and made paper.
We began by tearing paper to shreds. The kit came with a bunch of white tissue paper. We also dug through our scrap baggies and pulled out some reds, oranges, green, and pinks, cutting them up into little pieces. We were imagining primarily white paper with little specs of color here and there.
Next came out the blender. This was a brand new blender and we used it to mix the paper with water and blend it literally into a pulp.
Uh, this isn’t really the color we were going for. The color and texture were disgustingly reminiscent of vomit. I half expected it to smell like it too. Oh well, on with the show!
The next step is to get the green, firm plastic tray which has lots of holes in it. We put in a mesh screen, which fits into the tray, and we then spread the pulp over the mesh screen. We then laid another mesh screen over top this. Then, in a similar way to how one destroys a sandwich, we pinched it all between our pamls and fingers, trying to press out all the liquid, leaving only a thin layer of paper pulp behind.
And here we have the finished product! It turned out a bit thick. And it’s unfortunately a color we’re probably never going to use in a card. But we still had a lot of vomity pulp left over, and it was time to experiment with different ideas!
Above, you see two sheets in progress. The one on the left had some pink strips of cardstock and two cardstock butterflies embedded into the paper. The one on the right was Andrew’s idea: embedding lavender buds into the paper.
So there you have it, five sheets of handmade paper. Two of them have lavender buds embedded into them. I think the one with the most potential is the confetti paper, in the lower right. If Andrew and I decide to recycle paper and make our own again, we’ll probably do this to make multicolored paper. It’s probably best to mix the fun colors in after blending, because otherwise it just becomes one gross, solid color.