Recycled Newspaper Gift Tags: An Easy Papermaking DIY Project

3 years ago

Every time my father-in-law comes to visit, he leaves stacks of newspapers behind. He does the crossword, chuckles at the comics, and then he tosses the paper aside. After this weekend’s visit, I decided to get crafty with the kids and his newspaper. I have always wanted to try making paper, but somehow it seemed really daunting. I was wrong; it is really easy. So easy, in fact, that I could make sheets and sheets of it after every visit. Maybe I will.

For my first batch, I decided to get extra crafty and throw in some herbal tea. I thought the tea would add a nice color, scent, and texture. Grab a stack of papers and a tea bag or two.




Plastic canvas



Frame (optional)



More towels

Even more towels

Step 1

Shred your paper. As I mentioned, I used newspaper. If you want your paper to be whiter in color, use white paper. If you have a shredder, use it; if not, tear and cut a big bowl of newspaper.

Step 2

Boil some water and add your tea.

Step 3

Pour the tea water over your newspaper and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Step 4

In small batches, blend your paper until it is a thick pulp.

Step 5

Pour your pulp into a vat the same size as you want your paper to be. At this point, if you want to cut open your tea bag and add the dried herbs, go for it. Small dried flowers or scraps of colored paper look swell, too.

Step 6

You can make a mold for your paper several different ways. The most traditional is using a screen in a mold like a picture frame. I happen to have plastic canvas, which worked great. I put the canvas in a frame, but ended up finding that the plastic was strong enough to hold the pulp and the frame was not necessary.

Step 7

Submerge your screen (or plastic canvas) into the pulp vat. Pull up and allow excess water to drain off. Spoon pulp over any bald spots.

The paper when wet….

Step 8

Put the screen/canvas on a towel and allow to dry. Gently pat the paper dry with another towel, extra newspaper or sponge. Once the paper has dried out a bit, gently transfer off your screen and onto a towel for more patting and drying time. Allow the paper to dry completely. This might take overnight.

… and the paper when dry enough to move to a towel.

Step 9

Your paper is finished, and what you make with it is up to you. The paper has a very earthy organic feel. The lovely, subtle smell of the herbs is there, and so is the tea color and bits of herbs for texture. I cut my paper into heart shapes to use as gift tags.

Step 10

All that is left to do is wrap your gift (might I suggest tea) and add your handmade tag. I also have upcycled paper beads and a bowl still drying!

Disclosure: The Mighty Leaf sent me the tea and the cup pictured, but I’m not being paid by them to write this post or to feature their products. I just thought that tea was a cool addition to a papermaking project.

Please stop by for more crafty fun.

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