If you like to give homemade items as gifts or mementos, then why not create your own paper to give as a card? This project is perfect for birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions where a homemade card might be that extra special touch that creates a lasting memory.
You can also use homemade botanical paper to create your own ornaments and bookmarks. This is a great way to preserve some favorite leaves or flowers from the garden.
If you add seeds to your botanical paper, it can even be planted in the garden to grow your favorite flowers and plants!
Here is what you’ll need to get the project started.
- Some type of scrap paper (newsprint, envelopes, printer paper, junk mail, etc.)
- A wooden frame, like a picture frame. It must be at least 5×7” in size.
- Window screening for the frame.
- Staples to tack the window screen in place.
- Plastic or rubber tub.
- Glue (optional).
- Felt, wool fabric, or a similar product.
- 1 sponge.
- Dried flowers, herbs, or seeds.
If you want the paper to have extra strength, add dryer lint to the list of project items. Give yourself at least 2 hours to prepare the paper, then allow it to set overnight.
Instructions to Follow When Making Homemade Botanical Paper
Step #1: Create your paper scraps. You’re going to need a lot of them. If you plan to use the paper for writing, you’ll want lighter colors rather than darker colors for this project. Your scraps should be at least 1-inch square. If you’re using different colors of paper, try to keep each color to a separate pile.
Step #2: Soak the paper in warm water for at least 2 hours. It works better if you soak the paper overnight.
Step #3: Blend the paper scraps and water at a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup paper scraps. Denser papers may require a 3:1 ratio instead. Use the base color first, then start adding colored paper scraps to reach the right color.
Step #4: To write on your botanical paper, it is useful to blend about 3 teaspoons of white glue with the water and scrap paper. Cornstarch is a good alternative, if you prefer. Then add your dried flowers, herbs, or coloring to finalizing the paper structure. Dryer lint can be added here too.
Step #5: Create your mold. Take your picture frame, then cut window screen so that it is about 2 inches larger than the frame itself. Staple the screen to the frame, making sure it is taut. A second frame will help your paper form into specific shapes.
Step #6: Place about 6 inches of water in the tub. You’ll need enough to make sure your paper pulp can be evenly distributed. Pour the blended mixture into the tub, then lift the screen through it. This allows the paper fibers to cover the frame. Then flip it into the second frame if you are shaping the paper. Use the sponge to dry the paper.
Step #7: Add seeds to the paper if you plan to use it in the garden.
Then you’re ready to have the paper dry. Have it lie flat, then cover it with a sheet of clean paper or a towel. Press it with a rolling pin to bind the fibers together. Pile up layers as you make new sheets if you wish. Then hang it on a line to dry for best results.