Make Your Own Recycled Paper | Anyclean

updated: 23/10/2023

Most of us have heard that the three Rs of sustainable living are “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Paper and cardboard is one substance that most of us use very liberally and, all too often, throw out into the landfill. We should all recycle all our waste paper if possible.

Most of us know how to drop off our household (or office) waste paper at a council-run resource recovery centre or use a waste management London company to deal with it. It’s a very simple step we can all take to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills and conserve resources.

But have you ever tried recycling your own paper? It can make a good hobby, especially if you enjoy paper crafts such as card-making or scrap booking. It would also make a good craft activity for children during the school holidays or a long weekend when there’s nothing much to do.

To recycle your own paper, you will need old scrap paper (obviously), a sizeable tub (don’t use the bathtub – the clean-up job will be atrocious if you try this), warm water, and egg beater, a strainer frame, some sheets of cardboard, a sponge and some heavy weights (canned food? free weights? heavy books?) You probably have most of these in your home already, but a strainer frame is not quite so everyday. You can buy strainer frames in paper recycling kits, or you can make your own. You will need a rectangular frame (like an old picture frame with no back or glass). For a basic strainer frame, you can just stretch an old pair of pantyhose over the frame, but for a more durable frame you can reuse several times, then staple wire mesh or even net curtains to the frame, making sure that it is nice and tight.

You will also need a good creative imagination!

First of all, turn your old paper into pulp. Rip it up and put it into the tub. Then pour warm water over it and leave it to soak for an hour or even overnight to let the paper soften. Then use a beater to turn the soggy paper and water to a pulp – a paper puree, almost! You may need to add more water. Then take your strainer frame and scoop up a layer of pulp – you may need to swish it to and fro to get a nice even layer on the frame. When you have a good layer of pulp on the frame, lift it out and let the water drain out for a minute or so. Then invert the strainer onto a thick, dry sheet of cardboard. Soak out excess water with the sponge, then remove the strainer away slowly, rather like turning a cake out of a baking tin. Cover your new sheet of paper with another sheet of cardboard and weigh it down with one of the weights for 10 minutes or so. Then put the sheet of paper, still on the bottom piece of cardboard, by a heater or in direct sunlight to dry fully.

The sort of paper you use to make the pulp can determine the colour of the finished paper. Of course, you can always add things like scent or food colouring to the mix. To create textured papers, put something with a good 3D pattern on top of the paper before putting on the top sheet of cardboard and the weights.

The finished paper will have a rough, textured finish that makes it suitable for cards, letters or other places that fancy textured papers are used. Or just use it for shopping lists!

Need carpet cleaning Whetstone? Call 020 7099 6964 for the best quote on your list. Fully guaranteed carpet cleaners

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.