By Katie Weitkamp/Who’s That Editor
I always wanted to be crafty, and over Christmas break I got my chance. My friend is studying art and while at college she learned how to make paper. I was very excited about her new found hobby and stalked over break her until she taught me how. Making paper is so easy, but it takes a lot of time and more materials than I thought to actually do it. In some cases we used 3 sheets of used paper to make one piece of new paper. But old paper wasn’t all we used to make new paper. Drier lint works great, cut up yarn makes it colorful, grass also works great and, since we’re girls, we got all cute and put flower petals in it.
To actually make paper you need a blender, felt, a tub, a screen with a deckle that fits inside the tub and a rolling pin, plus the actual materials you plan on making into paper. To start, you put your base of the paper into the blender, this would be the dryer lint, or used paper. Then you put in some warm water and blend it until the mix is even.
Now you get to put the fun things into your paper that makes it all artsy. My favorite thing is flower petals, they not only look pretty, their color bleeds while the paper dries and makes neat designs and the paper actually smells nice. Grass makes the paper look cool, but the smell isn’t always as pleasant. Glitter is also fun to put into the mix.
Then you blend all your fun materials in with the paper base. If the color isn’t exactly what you want, don’t waste your time with food coloring, it doesn’t work. Try adding some construction paper or old flyers you have lying around. If you don’t have any, there’s always a stack of bright colored pizza flyers in the dorm lobbies. Just remember the paper will dry a lighter color than the mixture.
The mixture should be thick, but not clumpy. If you have big hunks of materials in the mixture leave it in the blender a little while longer. Once the mixture is like a smooth liquid you pour it into your tub. I must emphasize that your screen must be able to fit in your tub or you will have terrible problems. I know from experience.
This is the part where you actually have to get your hands dirty, so take off your rings and you watch. Now you place the screen into the tub and move it around until the top of the screen is evenly covered with pulp. Now, lift it up and wait for the water to stop dripping from the bottom.
When the water has stopped dripping, turn the screen over onto damp felt and make sure the paper comes off evenly without breaking apart. The good news is, if you screw this part up you can just put the pulp back into the tub and try again. If you want to be really cute here you can put more flower petals on the top of the paper and make designs or use other materials to make it look cool.
Once you have the pulp on the damp felt you can put another layer of damp felt over it and use a rolling pin to squeeze the excess water out.
If you want a different texture for your paper you can lay it on a smooth surface and put damp felt over the top and roll the water out from one side. The paper you make can be really cool if you find a neat texture for it.
When the paper dries, if you’re making it for a special Valentine, something too cute to do is put perfume or cologne on it. You can spray it with your own, or you can get those sample packs from stores.
If you want to be so cute you make someone puke, you can write poetry or a love note on your home made paper. I recommend using a pen that exudes a lot of ink, like a pilot pen. It depends on the texture of your paper, but most of the time gel pens don’t work as well.
At some craft stores you can buy a kit to make paper, but they are over priced and the easy way out. All you really need to make paper is old stuff lying around that no one would use anyway. So start saving your drier lint or start raiding the laundry rooms on campus so you can make some awesome paper for your sweetie.