Jul 13, 2009

making recycle paper - tutorial

i have been looking at my stash of recycled printing papers piling up for a couple of weeks now. i always recycle printed material by printing them on the other side too. it saves cost, furthermore, isn't it such a waste to throw away papers that have only been used one side? well ... maybe i'm a hogger but i don't even throw away papers that have been printed on both sides! i have no idea what to do with them, yet i keep them. so ... this pile has been sneakily building up.

i dunno what gave me this idea but yesterday i decided to make new paper from my used papers. i remember watching on discovery channel a long time ago, a village in china that specializes in making paper. i don't necessarily think that this is the most correct way to make them but somehow the paper did materialize :)

so ... you will need :

* paper supply (i think newspaper would be easier to disintegrate)
* scissors
* water
* large enough container
* wooden photo frame (size depending on how large your container is)
* wire netting (or strong plastic ones) cut to size
* staple gun (or thumb tacks)
* transparency (or any strong plastic sheets) cut to size
* towel

cut paper into little pieces and place into container

2. add enough water to cover the paper
3. wait for the paper to soften (about 4-5 hours)

4. mash the paper up (use any means) ... the result should be a thick puree-like substance

5. add more water ( i added about an inch more)
6. let the paper sit for at least another half a day to further disintegrate (the best is let it sit overnight)

7. while waiting for your paper to disintegrate, make the sieve
8. i used a couple of my extra ikea frames, the smallest becos of the size of my container
9. cut wire net to the size of the frames

10. attach the wire net to the front side of the frame. i used a staple gun but tacks should work just as well.
(never attach the wire net to the back of the frame becos the paper puree will be trapped in the indentations of the frame and you will not be able to pop them out later)

11. your paper should be ready when it looks like this ...

12. lay a towel on a flat surface

13. and now for the exciting part ...

* turn the sieve back side up

* submerge in the container

* skim a thin layer of paper puree

* make sure it fills the whole of the net area (no holes)

* place transparency over the layer of paper

* the transparency should be cut to fit snugly in the inside of the frame

* press the transparency against the net to release excess water

* place the frame on towel and press on the towel to further release water (transparency still there)

* flip the frame over and apply pressure to the net to release the paper puree from the net

* the set paper puree should fall off the net (sometimes you need to lift and gently tap the frame on the towel to release the paper)

* once the paper is released, you can further absorb more water by pressing a towel on the paper

* carefully peel the set paper puree off the transparency. do not let the paper sit too long on the transparency as it will dry and stick to the transparency

14. lay your recycled paper on a flat surface and let it dry :)

15. admire your hard work and know that you've helped in a small way :)

although it may not look or feel like the pretty, smooth papers we're used to, but i do think it's got a character of it's own. i just love the bits and pieces of different colored paper which didn't "puree" properly showing on the recycled paper ... reminds me of cold cuts!

happy pimping! :)


  1. Great post - thanks so much for sharing Luthien! It's something I've always wanted to try!

  2. this is cool!... thanks for sharing ^^

  3. GREAT info! I might just go ahead and try it ;)

  4. Ok, this is totally awesome!! I've always wanted to try this and I can't believe you've blogged all about it!!

    I'd like to add a small posting about this to our team blog with a link back to yours if you don't mind. ;-)

  5. hey ladies! thank you!!! :))) please try it and if you discover something else ... tell me ya!!!

    and sharon :)) of course i dun mind! that'll be great actually!! :)) thanks!

  6. I really have to try this. After beads, paper is my passion. I collect paper of all kinds. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh I love your tutorials, I am learning so much from your blog - cheers buddy :D

  8. I love love handmade paper! the feel of it is yummy! Are you going to use this paper in one of your books?? with your coaster covers?? I think that would be so gorgeous!!

  9. Thanks for sharing, I definitely will try this. :D

  10. hey ladies :)) thank you for all you sweet comments!!! you're all awesome!!

    michele :) hehehe!!! i am contemplating that, but mayb just slip in a couple sheets here and there cos these are quite thick...i made like 30 pieces, put them in a stack, they already look like 100 pieces of normal paper... plus they warp a little which adds to the bulk :) but yea... i may slip some pieces in :D

  11. Wow! Brilliant! I love the way the paper turned out! Is it durable when it's completely done or does one have to be careful with it. How are you going to use your new (old) pieces of paper? :) I think they'd make a great, handmade journal.

    Very cool ... and so Eco-friendly!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Small Footprints

  12. hey sf :)
    thank you! thought you'll like them :) oh yea... they are quite durable, i think it's becos i made them quite thick :p

  13. Amazing post Luthien!! So good of you to share so much info with us and the pictures are a wonderful guide for we 'visual' learners too!

    Best wishes to you Inspiration Friend!


  14. Luthien, this looks like it is a lot of fun to do. I have never tried it but I might with the grandchildren this summer. You did a great tutorial.

  15. Wow Luthien!!! You never cease to amaze me with your wonderful ideas and the way you work out how to do these things!! I love how the paper turned out - so unusual and I can definitely see it being used in your gorgeous artwork!!!


  16. thank you ladies :))

    dawn :) i'm a visual learner too!!

    brenda :) oh! your grandchildren are going to love it esp the "mashing" part ;)

    catherine :) lol! you are too kind! it's not exactly my ideas ... it's been done already by so many ppl from time in memorial :))

  17. This is a great tutorial! One of my younger piano students was very much into making paper a while ago, and she gave me a tutorial, too... But somehow, yours is a bit more coherent =D
    I think your paper turned out very nicely - and one could probably make paper in all kinds of cute pastels if you collect and colour coordinate the material? I've got some handmade paper with inlaid dried petals which is lovely; wonder if that would be easy to make.

  18. OH TRUDI!!! that's a great idea! i've seen those with petals as well ... i'll try i'll try!!

  19. hey, i started collecting papers which i normally throw into the trash... thanks for the idea...hope can make smthing nice out of the papers :)

  20. You are very ambitious! Thanks for sharing!

  21. hey shera! that's so cool!! when you do, remember to post pictures :D

    hey catherine :) lol! i just have really itchy fingers!!!

  22. What an awesome tutorial Luthien! It must have taken quite some time to get all the shots worked out. You made it so simple to follow. Thanks, I may just have to try that sometime.

  23. hey there.... i tried out my 1st batch.. oh it was so fun.. check it out in my blog ^^ thanks for the idea and inspiration :)

  24. Hi Luthien! Wow...looking at this process of making recycled paper reminds me of the experience I had years ago making them at home. I was so addicted to it! But when I came to work in KL I stopped doing it all together. But when I see this, it sure does brings back the memories and it makes me wanna try it again someday...I still have all the recycling equipments to make the paper. And I still keep most of the recycled paper I made years ago...they are still in good condition...I kept most of them because to me, they were too precious to make handmade cards...each were special in their own way...I think you know what I mean...they each had their own character heheeh...Congratulations on making such beautiful recycled papers...I know you must be having a great time making them! Enjoy!!

  25. this is interesting! thanks for sharing. i'll give it a try during my free time. =)

  26. I did this earlier in the year and was able to sort out household mail envelopes and make colored paper like pinks and blue. Yours came out great! gina

  27. Hi!

    Wanted to let you know I posted a link to this tutorial today on my blog, PaperFriendly.

    Nancy Ward

  28. I have just found you Luthien and what a treat.
    These tutorials are just wonderful especially this one - I can't wait to make some. I already know what I want to create on them.
    Thank you so much for your kindness in sharing this - I was just 2 weeks ago talking to my husband about wanting to make some and here is how. You're a genious.
    Love Suzy

  29. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it.. trash disposal


thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post :) it makes my day!!
Luthien :)