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How to Make Paper From Plants

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

Making paper from the plants in your garden is a fun and relatively easy craft. The paper you make can be used to back photos, make note cards or be given as gifts. However, not all garden plants are suited for making plants. Search your garden for leaves, canes grasses and other stiff, fibrous plant material that can produce enough fiber to make stable sheets of paper.

Harvest suitable plant material and cut it into 3-inch pieces. Cattail leaves, iris leaves, decorative grass blades, raspberry or blackberry canes, and corn husks make great paper.

Soak the plant pieces in a bucket of water for two hours, then rinse them off thoroughly.

Separate the fiber from the cellulose by boiling the plant material in an alkali solution. Fill a large pot with water. Then add 1 tbsp. of soda ash per quart of water in the pot and stir. Add the plant material and boil it for at least three hours or until the plant material is completely broken down. Allow the mixture to return to room temperature.

Rinse the plant fibers thoroughly.

Turn the plant fibers into pulp. Fill a blender with a mixture that is one part plant fiber to three parts water. Pulse the mixture for 12 seconds or until the mixture has the consistency of thin oatmeal.

Place the paper-making mold over a few sheets of newspaper.

Pour the pulp from the blender directly onto the mold and spread it evenly over the surface of the mesh. Depending on the size of your mold and blender this may not require all of the blender's contents, or it may require more. Make the paper as thick or as thin as you like.

Use a paper towel to blot excess water from the bottom of the screen.

Lay a piece of felt (cut to roughly the same size as the mesh screen of your mold) over the paper pulp and press it down gently.

Flip the mold over onto a few sheets of dry newspaper. If the paper does not immediately come out of the mold, pat the back of the mold with a paper towel to remove more moisture. If it still does not come out, gently tap the back of the mesh until it comes off.

Cover the paper with another sheet of cut felt. Then roll the paper/felt sandwich with a rolling pin.

Weight the paper/felt sandwich down with a heavy book or pot and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

Remove the felt, then place the dried paper underneath a weight for at least one week.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Paper-making mold
  • Bucket
  • Paper towel
  • Pot
  • Soda ash
  • Spoon
  • Blender
  • Newspaper
  • Felt
  • Rolling pin

About the Author

 

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.