How to Make Old Prints & Junk Mail into Handmade Paper


Way back in October of last year I posted about some thrift store finds during one of my thrifty Saturdays.  Among those finds were two old window screens I found for 50 cents.  I told y’all in that post I bought them to use for making handmade paper.  I also said a tutorial would be coming soon.  Well, today’s the day!  It finally warmed up enough to be able to dry out the paper.  This paper is great for scrapbooks, cards, and collages.  It’s really easy to do, just a little time consuming because of the soaking and drying.  Okay, let’s see if I can make junk mail something to look forward to!

Note:  I’ve had some issues with commenters being blocked.  If you have tried to comment on the blog and been told you were a “spam bot”, I apologize!  This should be fixed now and you should have no problem commenting.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you buy something through my link or ad.  This does not change your cost it just helps keep this blog running.  Thanks for your support!  See Privacy Policy & Affiliate Deals page for more information.


Getting the Paper Ready

For today’s tutorial I’m using paper from my paper shredder.  This is a combination of junk mail & other items that needed to be shredded.  The type of paper you use will determine the color & texture of the handmade paper.  A cross cut shredder works even better for this because you get smaller pieces.  You can also tear the paper into small pieces by hand if you don’t have a shredder.

I have a huge plastic bowl I found in the party ware section of, probably, Walmart.  You could also use a big plastic bin for this part.  Just place some of the shredded paper into the container, loosely.

Add enough warm water to fill the bowl.  You can add a little more paper, just don’t pack it in.  It’s kind of like cooking collards!  ; )

I let this soak for about 5 to 6 hours.  You should be able to rub it apart between your fingers without much effort.  I have let it soak 1 to 2 days.

Once the paper is finished soaking, you’re going to need something to blend it up with.  I’m using my Ninja to do this – just this once.  If you’re going to be doing this frequently, you need to buy a separate blender for this because it will damage the blades after repeated use.  I intend to look for one at the local thrift store the next time I visit!

Put the paper in the blender, a little at a time.  Add enough water to come up at least half way over the paper.  I used the “crush” setting to blend the paper into a pulp.  Remove blended paper to another bowl before adding more paper.

This is what it will look like after it’s blended.  Since I used paper with different prints and colors, the pulp is a light grey color.  You can get different looks by using only certain papers or prints.  There’s some bits and pieces still showing the print, but that’t the look I want.  If you don’t want any print showing still, let it soak longer and blend it more.

Now we have paper pulp ready for making handmade paper.

Laying Out the Paper

I’m just using an old window screen propped on some bricks for my “deckle”.  Most deckles are smaller and used to scoop the paper pulp out of a vat of water.  Just Google “handmade paper” to see more about that process.  I want a really textured, thicker paper, so I’m not using the same process.

Dump the paper pulp onto the screen, spreading it out a little as you do.

I used my finger tips to press and push the paper around the screen.

This will take a little bit of time because paper pulp does not spread like icing!  I also put one hand under the screen and one on top to mash some of the water out.

It will take a day or two for this to dry, depending on the temperature.  I let mine dry in the sun, but sometimes natural elements land on it.  Usually I can just brush it off after the paper dries.  Bring it inside at night so dew doesn’t set on it.  If it’s really cold in your area, I suggest leaving it in a heated area to dry.

Wedding Inviations with Handmade Paper

In my thrifty finds post, I showed you some paper I made previously.  I only used old drafting prints to make this paper, so it’s whiter with little black specks.  My dad made me a huge screen, about the size of a screen door.  I let the paper soak about 2 days before blending it.  This gave me a finer pulp and I was able to spread it thinner.  I found some leaves made out of a sheer natural paper and added them to the back.  The invite was printed on tracing paper and I was able to have 4 per sheet.  I attached it with ribbon I found in the clearance section.  My invitations cost me about 5 cents each!

I used some of the leftover paper to make an envelope.  You can see what the screen side texture looks like in this picture.

The possibilities are really endless when making paper and it’s a great way to recycle all that junk mail!  My current paper is still drying, but I will be sure to show you what I do with it.  See y’all back here on Friday!




Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply