When all the presents have been opened on Christmas (or after the eight nights of Hannukah), you are likely to find yourself with a mound of crumpled and torn wrapping paper. While your first thought might be to throw everything away, think again! With crafting, you can recycle that wrapping paper in your own home, reduce the amount of waste coming from your household and save money on future paper crafts. Use a simple technique to create your own paper from leftover gift wrap. Be green and frugal at the same time!
Making your own paper at home is very similar to what happens at a recycling plant, but homemade paper will be thicker and a bit rougher. Homemade paper is nonetheless lovely and demonstrates an extra special touch when used for homemade cards and other crafts. Here’s how to make your own paper from leftover wrapping paper.
- Leftover wrapping paper
- Newspaper or Couch Sheets (highly absorbent blotting paper used in paper-making)
- Smooth Cloth (also for blotting)- A plain tea towel would work well for this purpose.
- Rolling Pin
- 12 x 8″ Non-Rust, Fine Mesh Screen (or size of paper desired)
- 9 x 13″ Flat Baking Pan (or slightly larger than screen)
- Instant Starch (optional)
- Hot Water- Boil a kettle or large pot of water.
- Separate the wrapping paper into groups of similar colors. Do different color batches to specific certain colored paper. For example, use red wrapping paper to create homemade paper for Valentine’s Day cards.
- Tear and shred the paper into very small bits. Kids will love helping with this step. You can also run paper scraps through a paper shredder if you have one in your home office.
- For interest, you can also add glitter, dried flowers, colorful threads and leaves to your pulp mixture. For a beautiful color, add leftover poinsettia leaves to a white paper pulp.
- Place 1/2 cup of shredded paper into the blender. Add 2 cups of hot water. Mix in the starch if desired. Cover and blend the mixture on medium speed for 30 seconds-1 minute. You want a pulp with no paper bits left.
- Put a double layer of newspaper on the counter and place your blotting cloth on top.
- Pour the pulp into the flat baking pan. Slide mesh into the pan and move around until the screen is evenly coated with pulp.
- Slowly and carefully lift the screen from the pan keeping it level. Let drain for a minute over the pan.
- Place the screen, pulp side up, on the blotting cloth. Put another blotting cloth over and a double layer of newspaper on top of everything. Your are basically sandwiching the paper screen between blotting materials.
- Roll your rolling pin over the “sandwich” to squeeze out excess water.
- Remove the top two layers of newspaper and very carefully flip the screen sandwiched between the two blotting cloths. Do not touch the paper yet. Allow to dry for 24 hours.
- Carefully remove the paper from the screen
- Enjoy your homemade paper! Turn the paper into Thank You cards after Christmas, birthday cards, scrapbook pages and much more.