Oct 7, 2013

Craft Lab: Playing with Paper Pulp

What can you do with paper pulp besides making more paper?

scrap paper in lots of different colors
old blenders (not to be used for food afterwards)
pitchers, buckets, containers for water
plastic bowls (we used some coated paper bowls, but I wouldn't recommend them...)
paper clips
wire mesh strainers
large spoons

What we did:
--add paper scraps to the blender with lots of water.  if it sounds like it's struggling to blend at all or if it smells like burning rubber, add more water!
 Add in glitter if you so desire.
 Once it's well-blended, pour the pulp into a sieve balanced over a bucket or pitcher
 press some of the excess water out (not all of the water, just the parts that make it soupy).
 If you want to make a paper bowl from your pulp, press the somewhat dried pulp into the bottom of a plastic bowl using a sponge.  Squeeze the sponge back into your water bucket as it fills up.  The more water you can remove now, the less long it will take to dry completely.  Plus, pressing it with the sponge helps to compact the fibers together and makes a stronger finished piece.
 Add glitter to your finished product if desired (although I'm not sure if this turned out well once dried...)
 Push the pulp into whatever shape you want while it's wet. 
 You can also make beads by shaping the pulp into balls and carefully poking a hole through the center using a bent paperclip or other sharp skinny object.
Let your paper creation dry for a few days, then try to extract it from your mold (if you're using one).  If it doesn't come out easily, it's not dry all the way.  Give it another day or two and try again.

Hindsight Tip:
--If you keep all the tools for this project in a kit box for future use (which I recommend!) be sure that your sponges are 100% dry before closing the lid.  Sponges covered in dry black mold are not much fun to use for this project (or any project, really).
--Make sure you have a disposal plan for your pulp-water after the event.  Do NOT dump it down the drain as it will clog them up.  I recommend dumping the water outside where it can make colorful patterns on the ground.  But watch out for angry hornets.

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