Making Paper by Payton McHugh

This Sunday, the McHugh clan attempted to make their own paper just as the ancient Chinese did thousands of years ago. Paper was invented in China during the second century BCE. It is said that it was invented by a man named Ts’ai Lun. Back then, the Chinese used bamboo, mulberry tree, rice hemp and wheat stalk fibers to make paper unlike wood that we use today. To make our own paper today, we are using a technique similar to ancient Chinese. However, we won’t be using bamboo, we will be using the fibers of used paper and cardboard.

Step 1. The first step in paper making is ripping the pieces of paper into small bits. Then you put all the pieces in a bucket or pot.

Step 2. You make a “slurry”. A slurry is a concoction of water and bits of paper blended together in a blender to make a thick, gray, watery goo-like substance. You use all the paper in your bucket for your slurry. All your slurry should go into a bigger, separate bucket.

Step 3. After all your slurry is in the bucket, you take a small window screen or mesh frame and pile the slurry on top. You then gently spread it out by pressing down and letting all the excess water from the slurry drain away.

Step  4. Once done draining and flattening your slurry, you slowly and carefully flip the frame over onto a towel or cloth, and let your piece of paper dry for as long as needed.

This project was very fun and exciting. However, it took a lot of focus and concentration when flipping the paper. It paid off though because the paper came out beautiful. We each made our own piece by ourselves with a little help from Mom and Dad. A special thanks to Ava and Jack who photographed, to Mommy who helped with the blending and to Daddy for helping me face my fears and get a little dirty with the slurry. This project was so much fun and I hope we get to do it again sometime.

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