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Scratch Mommy… taking junk mail to a WHOLE new level!
Handmade paper– we’ve all admired it, thought how pretty it was and thought “I could probably do that.” Thinking and doing are two different things. Making your own handmade paper puts you into one of those DIY Superwoman categories, doesn’t it?
I’m here to tell you, we can all be DIY Superwomen.
This project takes some time, but it really is easy peasy. When you’re done the results are gorgeous and you’ll get the response “You made THAT?!” from everyone you show it to. You too can live the illusion of being a DIY Superwoman (it’s a pretty terrific feeling!).
This DIY is great for the environment, which is always a plus in my book.
Sort through your office and filing cabinets, gather all of your outdated, confidential, top secret bills and documents, sift through campaign brochures, pull junk mail out of the recycling, and get ready for this fabulous handmade paper project. (Just don’t use your electric bills and credit card statement. I know we’d all like to get rid of them, but this project is not the solution).
Creating handmade paper is a great craft to do with the kids.
I remember doing it at a friend’s house and dipping the screen frames into a kiddie pool full of paper slush. Talk about messy fun! Gather the whole family around and have a DIY handmade paper party!
There are several ways to do this to really customize the look you want. You can add flowers and leaves to give it an even more natural look. Cutout pieces of your handmade paper for the perfect accent to your yearly Christmas card, or as a place card at the table this Thanksgiving.
I tried experimenting with red food dye and beet root powder to try and tint the paper pink. However, it ended up looking like a bad scene from the tv show Dexter. So my advice is to stick with regular paper without tons of ink on it for the best look.
For the other supplies needed, this is a great way to reuse and recycle some old items around the house. I’ve seen directions for this craft that require going to the hardware store and building a frame from brand new wood. Not only does this take time, but there are so many other things lying around your house or the local second hand store that could be used instead.
My husband deconstructed a wire hanger for me and bent it into a frame since that’s what we had. It works if you don’t have an old picture frame to use, but I think the wood frame would be easier. You can also use grease splatter screens if you have any on hand, but this will make your paper round.
DIY Handmade Paper Made Out Of Junk Mail Tutorial
Materials You Will Need:
- Matte scrap paper – Preferably not glossy, newspaper, or paper with too much ink. Newspaper will turn your paper grey. Paper with lots of ink will tint your paper that color.
- Very warm water
- Blender (we love this blender)
- Large, wide mouth containers for water (I used a few drink pitchers)
- Old window screen
- Dry sponge
- Old wooden picture frame, wire hanger or grease splatter screens
- Utility scissors or box cutter
- Thumbtacks or staples
- Large plastic bin or metal pan
- Flower petals or leaves (optional)
- Begin by tearing or cutting the paper into small pieces. If you have a paper shredder this is a great time to use it! If you use paper that you already shredded, be sure there aren’t any old credit cards in with it. This can really tear up your blender.
- Fill your large containers about halfway with the torn up paper and then cover with the very warm water. I used a couple one gallon drink pitchers for this. Let the mix soak for about 15 minutes.
- While you’re waiting for the paper, construct your frame. If you’re using an old picture frame, cut out 2 pieces of the window screen so that they’re the same size as the wood frame. Stretch one of the pieces tightly across the back and secure with thumbtacks or a staple gun. Reserve the other piece for later.
- If using a wire hanger, use the pliers to untwist the top and bend it into a square or rectangle shape. You could even do a crazy shape for some interesting paper! We used the top of the hanger as a handle at the corner. Cut out some window screen so that it extends about 3/4 of an inch over the sides of the frame. Tuck the edges under and staple to secure. Cut an extra screen that’s the same size or slightly bigger than the wire frame.
- Now that your paper is ready, fill the blender with some of the paper and water mix, no more than 3/4 full. Slowly begin to blend, adding more water if needed. This should look like a soft, pulpy slurry when it’s done.
- If you want to add flower petals or leaves to the paper, put them in the blender with the already blended paper slurry and pulse until roughly chopped.
- Pour the paper slurry into your plastic bin or metal pan.
- Dip the screen into the pan, jiggle it around a bit, then pull it evenly out of the water. There should be a semi thick, fairly even coat of soppy paper slurry on it.
- Place the extra screen you made earlier on top of the frame and gently press some of the excess water back into the pan. Move the frame onto a towel lined countertop. With the extra screen still on top of the frame, use the sponge to squeeze out the extra water. Don’t be afraid to push down fairly hard.
- When you’ve removed as much water as possible with the sponge, remove the extra screen. I found it helpful at this point to gently move the edges of the paper away from the edge of the frame on the screen, otherwise it would stick and be hard to remove the paper. This picture is of the paper made with newspaper, so it looks darker than the others.
- You can either use a hair dryer on the paper for about 10 minutes, or you can gingerly peel it off and let it air dry overnight. If using a hair dryer the paper will be done much faster (obviously), but it won’t be as flat. If you go with the hairdryer option, you can iron the paper on a low setting to flatten it.
- Admire your beautiful results!
Some ideas of what you can make with your handmade paper– cards, stationary, wrapping paper, gift tags, embellishments for gift wrapping, place cards, postcards, and so much more!
Let your imagination soar and come back and let us know what you’ve crafted with your DIY handmade paper.
Wouldn’t handmade paper make a wonderful handmade gift? Check out some other great DIY gifts from some of our favorite blogger friends.