How to Make Homemade Paper

From the ingredients to the mold to the final product, here's a way to make artful paper at home.

by Dani Yokhna
How to Make Homemade Paper - Photo by Stephanie Staton (
Photo by Stephanie Staton

Use this beginner’s recipe for making homemade paper using materials readily available on the farm, such as recycled paper and your own unique, farm-grown crops.

Create a Mold
Find an old, empty, wooden picture frame or embroidery frame at home or at a flea market; the inside of the frame should be the size and shape of the paper you want to make. Cut a piece of window or door screen, stretch it over the frame as tight as possible and staple it to the frame. This is your paper mold.

Paper Ingredients

  • Collect a large bag full of mostly white, recycled envelopes from invitations, bills and junk mail.
  • Collect fresh herbs, greens or flowers, such as marigolds. (The resulting paper might already be somewhat colored, depending on any ink already on the recycled paper; keep that in mind when experimenting with plant material for color.)
  • Gather previously pressed dried flowers or leaves.

Paper Preparation

  1. Fill a blender or food processor about half full of the recycled paper ripped into bits.
  2. Fill it with warm water and blend until the mixture looks very smooth and contains no paper flakes.
  3. After processing the main paper mixture in the blender, add your farm-grown ingredients a few bits at a time or, in the case of marigolds, one flower head at a time, until you like the appearance.
  4. Fill half-full of water a tub big enough to completely immerse the mold.
  5. Add about three blenders full of the pulp, depending on how large your mold is and how thick you want the paper to be.
  6. If you’ll eventually write with ink on the paper, stir in 2teaspoons of liquid starch to keep ink from running.
  7. Stir the pulp, place the mold into the tub, screen-side-up, and move it around until an even amount of pulp settles onto the screen.
  8. Lift the mold out of the water, wait for it to stop dripping, and ease it onto a piece of white felt or flannel fabric so the new paper is on the fabric and the mold can eventually be lifted off.
  9. At this point, sponge away as much liquid as possible.
  10. Slowly and gently lift off the mold, allowing the wet paper to stay on the fabric. If the paper sticks to the mold, sponge off more water.
  11. Remove any bubbles and continue to press out more water by placing the fabric with paper in a dry bathtub and pressing with a smooth, hard surface such as a cookie sheet.
  12. Hang with clothespins to dry or lay on a drying rack.
  13. When dry, peel your new paper from the fabric.

Optional: When the paper is formed, but still wet, lay a pressed flower or leaf onto it and press to embed it into the paper.

Crops for Paper Additives

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  • Spinach makes paper green.
  • Lavender adds a subtle scent and texture. Add lavender essential oil to make the fragrance last longer in the paper.
  • Bachelor’s buttons add colorful flecks.
  • Marigolds retain their color to make a yellow-flecked paper.
  • Rose petal colors might bleed slightly and spread into interesting designs.
  • Fennel leaves give a feathery look to the paper.
  • Mint leaves, dried and crumbled, add interesting flecks and a nice aroma.

If you find success at creating homemade paper, craft it into value-added paper products you can sell on your farm.


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