Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recycling paper

The tot and I recently embarked on another mess-up-the-kitchen adventure.  We recycled a Time magazine into new paper.

old paper
blender or food processor
food coloring or other dye
a paper making kit or just a deckle
Few pieces of felt

We used the Bill Nye the Science Guy kit from Wal-Mart, although if you're moderately handy you could make your own decke and be all set.  A deckle is just a frame of wood (or plastic, in Bill Nye's case) with a screen pulled tight across it.  It can be used with a mold to make straigt edges, but I just let the mush make rough edges because I like how it looks.  Here's some info on deckle-making.

The night before you plan to mess up your kitchen with a new "tottertainment" project (that's entertainment for tots), rips your magazine or old paper into small pieces.

Allow them to soak in a bowl or warm water overnight.

In the AM, throw them in the blender for a few seconds until you get a nice mushy pulp.

Add a few handfuls of pulp and some more water to a tray and give it a stir so the pulp is distributed evenly.  You can add food coloring or dye at this point too.  We did some red, which came out pink:

Use your deckle to scoop some pulp out.  If the frame of your deckle is higher on one side, put that side DOWN and scoop the paper on the flat side.  (If you are using a mold, put it on top of the deckle). Jiggle the deckle back and forth underwater to get an even layer, then lift it straight up. The orange frame in the bottom left corner below is the deckle. 

Turn the deckle upside down onto a piece of felt.  Bottom to top, you should have felt, paper pulp, deckle screen.  Use a towel to blot the water from the top of the screen, thus drying the paper a tad.  When enough paper is removed, you should be able to GENTLY remove it from the deckle, leaving it on the felt so it's shape doesn't get distorted. 

You can also use a press to squeeze the water out of the paper, but I found this to be more complicated than need be. 

Let dry overnight, preferrably taking up as much of the kitchen counter as possible, requiring you to order pizza for dinner.

There you have it! Beautiful, fresh, recycled paper!  I got about 15 half sheets from half of a Time magazine.

You can trim the rough edges, but I love them just as they are.


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