WHO WOULD HAVE thought that making paper could be so much fun for a bunch of grown-ups?
But making paper at The Paper Discovery Center in Appleton, Wisconsin, on Saturday proved so much fun for our family that I declared, “I could really get into this paper making.”
At that moment my 18-year-old son, Mr. Logical Scientist-Math Guy, clarified: “Technically we did not make paper.”
He would be right. We did not transform a tree into paper. Rather, we recycled the Sunday comics and other paper into new paper.
And here is how we did it with the assistance of two patient and friendly young missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who volunteer at the discovery center.
First, peruse the paper samples to determine what type of paper you would like to make. Ideally, you (your daughter) should drink your (her) coffee before coming to The Paper Discovery Center. But, if you (your daughter) are (is) fortunate enough, the nice lady at the front desk will allow you (your daughter) inside with your (her) coffee as long as you (she) promise (s) to keep a lid on it (the coffee cup, that is).
After you have torn your selected papers into postage stamp size pieces, drop the paper into the blender and add water, about three-fourths of the blue cup shown here.
Here you can add condiments (that's what I call them) like glitter and pressed flowers to the mix before blending in an ancient blender. A garage sale blender would work great for this part of the paper making. On the left is one of the patient paper making volunteer instructors. That's my husband waiting his turn.
Next, pour the blended paper pulp into a screen inside a wooden form and immerse in water. Here's where you get to dip your fingers into the pulpy water and swish everything together.
Evenly ease the forms from the water to reveal your paper. Remove the forms and sponge excess moisture off.
Move to the next table and lay an absorbent sheet of paper (can't recall the name, but it starts with a "c") on top of your paper. Put a board on top and press. The idea is too absorb even more water. Repeat several times.
Pull back the absorbent paper to reveal the recycled paper you've made. But you're not done yet. Next, move to a contraption that exerts 2,000 pounds of pressure onto the paper, binding the fibers. After that, move to a machine that applies heat to the paper. Keep your fingers out of both.
Finally, pose for a photo with the paper you've just created.
HAVE YOU EVER MADE paper like this? I’d like to hear, especially if you’ve made your own forms, etc. This may just be an art I’d like to try at home.
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© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling