It's also a great way to recycle paper scraps, and turn them into something beautiful. And most likely, everything that you need to make paper you already have at home.
Handmade paper can be used throughout your wedding. Embellish your invitations with torn paper decorations; use the paper for place cards, menus, programs, and save some for your wedding scrapbook.
You can use any of the following elements to add to your paper mix:
- Computer paper
- Old stationery
- Egg cartons
- Used greeting cards
- Tissue paper
- Construction paper
- Tin foil
- Flower seeds
Supplies that you'll need include:
- Cheesecloth or window screen material
- Old 5x7 picture frame
- Large basic or plastic tub
- A staple gun or nails and a hammer
- 3 heavy bricks or textbooks
- Old dishcloths or rags
- Turkey baster
- Large piece of cardboard
Follow these general steps to make your paper:
First you'll want to create the frame for which you'll be forming your paper. Simply staple or nail the cheesecloth or window screen material to the back of the picture frame. Make sure the screen is stretched tightly to the frame, and attached at all four sides.
Cover your work surface with plastic or newspaper. Tear your paper scraps into small, 1-2 inch pieces (you'll be using about 3 cups of paper scraps, or enough to fill the blender half way). Keep in mind that if you add newspaper, the end result will have a grayish tone; if you add dark blue construction paper, your paper will have a bluish tone, etc. Some people like to soak or boil the paper ahead of time, which results in softer paper with less texture. But that step is optional; you might want to try it both ways. Fill the blender with about 3 cups warm water. Turn the blender on medium-high for about 60 seconds, or long enough for the paper to form a smooth, uniform pulp with a fluid texture.
Pour this mixture into your basin, and repeat the blender step with the rest of your paper scraps. Add each batch to the basin. You might want to repeat about 3-4 times to get enough paper to make the project worthwhile.
If you are using embellishments such as confetti or flower petals, add them to the mixture now. You also can add flower seeds. The end result is paper that can actually be planted in the ground, from which flowers will sprout. Think about using seed paper for thank you notes, or for wedding favors. You'll need to add about 1 seed packet per blender mixture. At the end of this article you will find directions for your seed paper.
Stir the mixture together in the basin, then slip the frame, mesh side up, into the basin and pull up some pulp. Let a thin layer of the pulp settle on the frame. If you don't have enough, re-submerge the frame until you have an even layer of pulp. After lifting the frame out of the mixture, hold it over the basin so that excess water can drain out.
Lay the frame "upside down" (pulp side down) on a dishcloth or rag, and let the pulp fall onto the cloth. If it doesn't fall right away, use a sponge to blot the screen with water. If you have any holes in the pulp, you can fill a turkey baster with pulp and fill them in. Put another dishcloth on top of the molded pulp.
Repeat steps 4-5, putting a new cloth on top of each piece of molded pulp, with a cloth on top of the last sheet of paper, followed by the large piece of cardboard.
Lay three large bricks on top of the paper stack, in order to flatten them. Let the bricks set for about 15 minutes, then remove them and put each sheet of paper on some newspaper. Let them dry for about 12-24 hours; you can expedite this process by putting them in the sun to dry or using a hairdryer.
That's it, you're done! Once you've made your first batch, you'll likely want to experiment with other paper scraps and embellishments.
If you added seeds to your paper, here are the instructions for planting seed-paper:
Seed paper can be planted directly into the ground, or spouted before planting. To plant it in the ground, simply dig a hole 3/4 inch deep, cover with soil and water. The paper acts as mulch. Water daily. To sprout before planting, dampen the paper and put it into a plastic bag. Keep the bag moist at all times, and the seeds will begin to sprout in 2-3 weeks. Then, plant them in the garden or in a pot. Water regularly.