Playing with Phenomena: Paper-Making

Playing with Phenomena: Paper-Making

For the second and last week of our "Playing with Phenomena" theme, we made our own paper. To do this, we made pulp, pulled sheets using screens and dried the sheets.

The pulp we used was simply made out of newspaper and water, something that could easily be replicated at home (see instructions below). This means we were actually making recycled paper, so our making was also good for the environment!

On a few days we also worked with mulberry bark, or Kozo, which was donated to us by the University of Iowa Center for the Book. After boiling this bark for two hours, participants helped us to beat it into a pulp which could then be used to make another type of paper.

The “yuckiness” of the pulp did turn away some, but those that gave it a try got to see that it really wasn’t that bad, and they got to make some awesome paper, as shown in the picture. While not every piece turned our as a perfect rectangle, all of the finished products were unique and functional.


Directions for newspaper-based pulp:

  1. Tear an old newspaper into strips, and soak in water for about 30 minutes
  2. Rip the newspaper into even smaller pieces to be blended, and fill up a blender halfway with these pieces
  3. Fill the blender the rest of the way with warm water
  4. Blend on low speed for about 10 seconds, then on high for about 20
  5. If pulp is too thick to pull sheets of paper, add water as needed

Category: Make@SCI