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Recycled Papermaking For Invitations

by Carol Reed-Jones

For wedding favors, an interesting environmentally friendly option is to
give each guest a haiku poem, hand printed on a piece of handmade,
recycled paper.  This is nice, meaningful, inexpensive, and requires
nothing disposable in the making or giving.  And it is recyclable.
Structurally, a haiku poem usually consists of three lines of five,
seven, and five syllables respectively.  It may describe a moment in
nature or a natural scene.  They are very relaxing to write.  If you
really get into it, Haiku: One Breath Poetry  by Naomi Wakan (Pacific
Rim Publishers, 1993) is a great resource.

Making Recycled Paper

  • Mixed scrap paper
  • Dishpan or tub
  • Water
  • Kitchen blender
  • Sponge
  • Newspaper or cardboard
  • Old towels
  • Framed screen smaller than the dimensions of the tub. *
  • Old empty frame smaller than the screen (will be the size of the finished paper).
  • Lightweight to medium fabric with an interesting texture (will give texture to the paper; use finely woven fabric if you don't want a conspicuous texture)
* Instead of a picture frame, you can use a large, open cookie cutter
for a unique shape such as a heart, tree, etc.


Fill the blender about two thirds full of water.  Tear up two 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of scrap paper into pieces the size of postage stamps.  Add a handful to the blender and blend until cloudy , about 20 seconds.  Put this in the tub and add water until tub is half full; the resultant
mixture is called slurry.  Blend the rest of the scraps with water in this same manner, and add to the slurry in the tub.  The thicker the slurry, the thicker the paper will be, and vice versa.  To incorporate dried leaf pieces or flower petals the easy way, just add them to the slurry at this point.  But they won't be visible if  your paper is too thick.
Place the empty frame on top of the screen, and hold securely with your
hands.  Have someone stir up the slurry so that all the paper fibers do not sink to the bottom of the tub.  Dip the screen and frame down into the slurry with a scooping motion, and quickly lift it out of the tub, keeping it level.  Hold it over the tub to allow water to drain.  Brush or peel away excess paper fibers outside the empty frame, and return them to the slurry.  Remove the frame, lifting straight up, and you should have a fairly decent square of homemade paper.   Place a newspaper or piece of cardboard on it, and flip everything over--frame, new paper, screen, cardboard.  Leaving the screen in place, blot the paper with a sponge, pressing each area once and wringing it out.  Lift screen off of paper, tapping it gently if it sticks. If desired, you can add confetti, glitter, dried flowers or small leaves at this stage.  Place them exactly where you want them on the paper, and pour a miniscule amount of slurry on them to cement in place.  Japanese maple leaves look nice, especially if the slurry has tiny twigs and bits of leaf.  Now cover the paper with your textured fabric, and continue to sponge water out of the paper until it is as dry as possible.  To give your paper texture, iron it between two pieces of textured fabric.  The paper will pick up the weave pattern. If you're making your own invitations, keep in mind that the smallest size of postcard or envelope the post office will take is 3 1/2" x 5".  

So, the basic steps are: 
Blend, scoop, peel off extra, blot and iron.

This column is an excerpt from the book, Green Weddings That Don't Cost the Earth, by Carol Reed-Jones.

Copyright 1999 Carol Reed-Jones

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