Wild Paper Making

The Beach Schoolers latest adventure in to sustainable crafts has been making their own paper. We have been taking advantage of the dry and sunny weather here in East Kent and making recycled paper. I prepared some pulp, made from used brown packing paper (soaked for several hours and then blended using a hand blender!) Then together we cut scraps of used tissue paper and added them to the pulp – tissue paper softens and starts to break down in the watery mix quite quickly.

We spooned the pulp on to our moulds and used our hands and flannels to squeeze out the excess water and bind the paper fibres together. Brilliant squelchy sensory fun. Then we flipped our paper on to some parchment and left them to dry in the sun. On a bright sunny day, some of the thinner sheets could be taken home after about 2 hours, though best results came from the paper being left to dry for 24 hours.

Because of our location in the marine environment, I was very conscious to use only bleach and chlorine free paper in our pulp, but you could do this activity with almost any paper in your recycling box.

We enjoy a purposeful craft activity – having a strong focus on process not only provides an activity that can be experienced in an open-ended way. Some Beach Schoolers were fonder of cutting the paper and stirring the pulp, while others were definitely “squelchers”! A process-based experience also provide huge opportunities for developing descriptive language, as well as a deepening appreciation of where everyday items come from and how much energy it takes to produce them.

You could extend this activity by adding wildflower seeds to your pulp to make your own seed paper, which could also make lovely gifts. I’m even quite tempted to make seaweed paper one day!

Published by Rachel Stevens

Nature Lover. Educator. Fascinated with people, spaces and places. Lover of life.

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