Junior Ranger - Paper Making

Paper Making

Recycling is important to the health of National Parks and the planet. The air and water around us is connected to some far away places. If you live on Chesapeake Bay your water comes from as far away as southern New York State. Air in Europe and Asia affects the air in Alaska. Everything is connected. When you throw out your trash do you know where it goes when you take it out of your house? Could you be affecting someone downstream or down wind?

One of the things we can do to reduce negative effects downstream or downwind is recycle and buy recycled products. Aluminum can be recycled over and over again forever. You can reuse paper on both sides before you get rid of it. Instead of throwing paper out after you have used both sides, you can make it into "new recycled paper."

What you will need:

Wire screening (30 mesh); old paper of different types (newsprint, cardboard, copy paper); laundry starch; water; wash basin or other large pan; egg beaters or blender; newsprint, blotter paper, or old sheets (2). Wire screen can be secured to a frame for easier handling.

What to do:

1. Tear paper into small pieces, about the size of a quarter. Place in bottom of pan and cover with water. Let soak for at least 24 hours.

2. Make paper pulp. Cover scraps with water and laundry starch. (1 tablespoon starch to 1 cup of water. Pulp can be made without starch) beat with eggbeaters or in blender until mixture is pulpy, like gravy.

3. Put pulp back in pan if necessary. Dip wire screening into pulp from the side so it is completely covered with pulp.

4. Lift the screen straight out of the mixture. (Having a frame helps with this.) Decorate the new paper with leaves, dried flower petals, yarn or thread.

5. Place another piece of screening over new paper on the framed screen. Press gently. Put this between several layers of newsprint, blotting paper, or old sheets. (Old sheets are reusable over and over again.) Press using a rolling pin or by stepping on it.

6. Remove the top screen. Turn over the new paper and framed screen, new paper face down on a damp, old sheet or felt. The Screen can be removed or left overnight. Remove the dried paper by gently brushing the edges away from the screening.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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