Decorative paper can be used for scrapbooking, card making and as personal stationery. You can make your own decorative paper from recycled paper scraps, saving you money and helping the environment at the same time.
You will need paper scraps to make your handmade paper. Your paper scraps can be from tissue paper, office paper, old greeting cards, craft paper or even toilet paper. You will also need an old picture frame that is roughly the size of the paper you desire, and a window screen, a plastic tub, blender, white felt, a sponge and tacks. You can also use liquid starch if you intend to write on the paper to help prevent ink from bleeding, if you don’t plan to write on the paper then you can skip the starch. Set up a clothes line and have some clothes pins handy for drying the paper.
Create the mold for your paper. You do this by taking the material that you would find on a window or door, and tacking it onto an old picture frame (just the frame) as tightly as possible. You can also use a staple gun instead of tacks to attach the screen to the frame.
Keep in mind that the colors of the paper scraps that you use will show up in the pieces of paper you make, so select scraps in the colors that you want in your final product.
Making the Pulp
Put your paper scraps into the blender until the blender is about half full with paper. Fill the rest of the blender with warm water. Blend the paper and water mixture, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing speed, until the mixture is well blended and fairly smooth. Fill your plastic tub halfway with water. Add each blender full of pulp to the tub until you have added three blenders full. Add two teaspoons of starch at this time if you are going to add it. Now is the time to add decorative elements so that your paper will be decorative. You can add glitter or paper confetti to the pulp. Add waterproof dye to the pulp if you want your paper to be a certain color. You can even add flower petals or sequins.
Making the Paper
Lower your mold into the paper pulp and shake it side to side to even out the pulp on the screen. Slowly lift the mold out of the water and hold it above the tub until most of the water has drained. Bring the mold over to your piece of felt and quickly flip it over onto the felt so that the paper is now between the felt and the mold. Gently remove the screen from the paper after using a sponge the press out excess water. Place another piece of felt on top of the paper and firmly press down to remove more water from the paper. Gently remove the paper from the felt and hang it on your clothesline to dry.