MAKE HAND­MADE PA­PER FROM re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als

With a few sup­plies and ba­sic tools, you can turn scrap pa­per into beau­ti­ful gifts for fam­ily and friends. Go one step fur­ther and em­bel­lish your pa­per with flow­ers and leaves from the gar­den.

NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Crafts -

Mak­ing pa­per by hand is a fairly sim­ple process and it’s a great way to use up scrap pa­per – old bills, junk mail, pho­to­copied print-outs, old wrap­ping pa­per and so on – that was headed for the re­cy­cling bin any­way. You can use leaf fi­bre as well (mulched phormium or cordy­line, for ex­am­ple), or sim­ply add leaves and petals to the pa­per slurry. White hand­made pa­per with rose­mary leaves and colourful cal­en­dula petals looks beau­ti­ful. Throw in pieces of coloured cot­ton, glit­ter or the punched out holes from hole punches for added in­ter­est, and add es­sen­tial oils for a sweet scent.

To make pa­per you need a mould and deckle (avail­able from craft shops, or make your own – see in­struc­tions be­low). The mould is a screened frame that catches the pulp; the deckle is a frame that sits on top of the mould to hold the wet pulp. To as­sem­ble, put the mould down first, lay a fine mesh on top, then add the deckle.

The colour of your pa­per is gov­erned by the colour of the waste pa­per you use. Pur­ple waste pa­per will give your hand­made pa­per a pur­ple hue; newsprint will make it a ‘dirty’ grey.

The thick­ness of your pa­per de­pends on how much pulp you add to your tub. The more pulp, the thicker your pa­per. Fill your tub ini­tially with half your pulp, then add more later.

If the pa­per slips off the mesh when lift­ing it (see step 7), it’s likely too wet. Let the wa­ter drain away com­pletely be­fore lift­ing it again.

You need a food pro­ces­sor or blender to make the pa­per mulch. Look for a sec­ond hand one at an op shop.


A leather-bound jour­nal makes a lovely gift. Fold hand­made pa­per in half. Take three folded sheets and place one inside the other, like a book. Re­peat with the other pages. Bind with waxed Ir­ish linen thread. Cut scrap leather to form a cover, and long strips to tie. At­tach the ties by sew­ing them onto the cover. Open the pages in the mid­dle and sew waxed linen through leather to at­tach.

Pa­per was in­vented in China around 100BC. The first pa­per-mak­ing in­dus­try in China be­gan in 105AD. Be­fore that, writ­ings and in­scrip­tions were gen­er­ally made on tablets of bam­boo or on pieces of silk.

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