Want to make your own paper, just like these girls?

We know we’ve been talking about Forever Green for a while now (hint, hint, have you taken the pledge yet?) but we just heard a very cool story about how Troop 44126 just made their own paper! The project let each girl both design and create her very own hand-made paper.

How’d they do that?

The troop visited an organic flower and vegetable garden where each girl collected her dream mix of bright flower petals, delicate leave and other interesting plant pieces to use as decorations in their paper. After carefully arranging the petals on a screen, the girls poured a water and recycled paper slurry (with fabric fuzz from the dryer added for strength) from a blender onto the screen to start forming the base of the paper. Once the slurry was in place, the girls pressed it to remove all the extra water, then flipped it onto a towel to dry. Because everybody got to pick their own decorations to put in their slurry mix, no two pieces of paper looked the same! The colors and patterns were natural and beautiful.

As part of creating their paper, the girls learned that it can be easy to use fewer resources, and to be creative in how you use resources. Creating paper like the girls did isn’t just fun and pretty, but it’s useful too! When asked what they liked best about the project, one girl responded “choosing colors for the paper to look good with the flower petals” while another liked seeing the final paper design the best! Now that the girls understood how simple and fun it was to make their own paper, they couldn’t wait to teach their friends and siblings how to make their own!

How could I make my own paper at home?

If you have the Girl Scout Juniors “Get Moving” workbook, this project’s in the Waste, Energy and Wasted Energy section on page 27. If you don’t, don’t worry! We’ll walk you through how to recreate their project on your own. If you like it, you can buy the book from the GSUSA website or you can save on shipping and get it from our stores!

First, you’ll need these tools and ingredients:

  • A screen – try a pre-framed screen lid for an aquarium or a screen from a thrift store
  • Recycled paper torn into 1/2” squares – remember the colors will mix to make the base of your paper
  • Decorative pieces of flowers and leaves torn or cut into small pieces
  • An electric blender
  • Old towels
  • A butter knife
  • Cardboard cut to match your screen size

Now you’re ready to get going! Make sure you have an adult around to help you with the blender and to make sure you have an extra hand when it’s time to move your paper to its drying place.

Step 1: Set up a workspace where it’s ok to make a mess, like outside or in a garage
Step 2: Put the screen onto a hard surface where it’ll be okay if the slurry (remember, the water/paper mixture is called a “slurry”) splashes out
Step 3: Fill the blender 2/3 full of warm water and add in 1-2 handfuls of torn paper
Step 4: Wait 30 minutes for the water to soak into the paper
Step 5: Arrange your flower petals and other plants face down on your screen (the girls in Troop 44126 found that random designs looked better than really organized ones)
Step 6: Ask an adult to help you power the blender for 30 seconds until the slurry has the same texture as oatmeal
Step 7: Pour the slurry onto your screen
Step 8: Use your piece of cardboard to press the extra water from the slurry – it’s okay if you have to ask your friends to help you press out the extra water!
Step 9: Use the butter knife to help lift the cardboard out of the screen, making sure the slurry doesn’t stick
Step 10: Flip your screen over onto an old paper towel until the paper comes loose from the screen, then leave it on the towel until it’s dry

Have you ever made your own paper? Maybe this weekend you and some friends can create your own designs and make paper to show off! Not only will you be able to show off your creativity, but you can help teach others about why it’s important to help preserve our natural resources!

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