Making paper is a fun way to reuse old newspapers to create a unique piece of art for a gift. Not only are you reusing items that would otherwise be wasted, but you are eliminating additional waste that often comes from sending generic gift cards to loved ones. This biodegradable art project is not only reducing waste, but can become a beautiful wildflower garden to be enjoyed for years to come. This year, I made cards for all the Mom’s in my life and mailed them out before Mother’s Day. They were thrilled to receive a creative gift that was an ecologically sustainable idea.
You will need:
a large shallow water tight container
rainwater or tapwater
a blender with power extension
wood frames and screen/netting
an exacto knife/box cutter
a couple bricks
Optional: flower petals and seeds
Begin by tearing old newsprint into small pieces and soaking it in a bucket for a few nights. Waiting for the newsprint to become soggy and breakdown is an excellent time to get your tools together and prepare.
Stretch your netting, nylons or old screen over some wooden frames. The more delicate the netting, the finer the final results. However, it is easier to work with a coarse material your first time. We used some old copper screen and a staple gun to secure it in place.
If this is your first time making paper, remember not to get attached to the final outcome, but enjoy the process and be open to where your hearts greatest inspiration leads. In my case, it lead to the backyard rosebush.
After gathering the rose petals into a basket, I set them aside. You can begin to soak them in a bucket if you want the petals incorporated into the fine grain of the paper (not sitting on the surface like in my photographs).
Next, set up your blender and put a small amount of the saturated newsprint with three times as much water. Blend thoroughly. Pour into the large, shallow, water tight container. Repeat until the container is 1/3 full.
(((Please note, the size of your “large container” depends upon the size you make your screens. You want your shallow bin to be near three times the size of your frame. We made our frames about 8 x 10″ The smaller your screens, the easier it is to work with.)))
Next, fill the large, shallow container with water until you get a thin pulp mixture. Make sure your solution is at least four inches from the top or it will get extra messy. Add your flower petals. Mix. Then dip your frame into the concoction in a fluid motion away from you.
Allow your screen to drain. Set it on two bricks and add seeds if you like. This will make the paper a nice gift for someone who may want to plant it and watch some flowers grow!
When your paper is dry, carefully cut along the edges and then peel it off the screen from under a corner.
Now you are ready to decide what you want to make with your new paper. They make great cards, or if you are especially pleased with your result, you can even matte and frame it to hang on the wall!
For this project, I used rose petals and wildflower seeds. What sort of flowers and seeds do you have for making paper? Who would you give your paper to???
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