This is one example of many projects found in the book The Best of Making Things – A Hand Book of Creative Discovery. Find out more about the book!

You wil need: 8 strips of wooden lath (or cut a wooden yardstick) – small nails – hammer – window screening – staple gun – dry vegetable fibers (such as corn husks, onion skins, celery strings, sawdust, weeds, or straw) – scissors -blender – paper towels, napkins, paper bags, newspaper or tissue – dishpan – newspaper – sponge – iron.

  1. Make 2 wooden frames the same size (any size that fits in a dishpan). Staple a piece of window screen onto one frame. This is your mold; the other frame is your deckle.
  2. Cut dry vegetable fibers into bits.
  3. Put them in a blender, then add a torn-up paper towel or other torn-up paper as filler. Fill blender with water, and blend until smooth. This is a called a slurry.
  4. Partially fill dishpan with water, and pour in slurry. Position the mold screen side up, and place the deckle on top of it.
  5. Holding the mold and deckle tightly together, dip them into the slurry.
  6. Holding them level, raise mold and deckle horizontally. Allow water to drain, leaving mash undisturbed on screen. This is called a wet leaf.
  7. Set mold and deckle down on a sheet of newspaper, and remove deckle.
  8. Place a newspaper sheet on top of the wet leaf, to act as a blotter.
  9. Turn mold and newspaper blotter over, and put them facedown on table.
  10. Sponge away excess water through screen.
  11. Carefully lift mold up off the wet leaf.
  12. Put another newspaper blotter on wet leaf, and iron it dry. Remove blotters.

See how many kinds of paper you can make.

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