How to Make Your Own Paper

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Siegele

Yesterday, I took on the daunting task of cleaning my apartment. My place is small, so in theory, cleaning should be quick and easy. In reality, however, things find a way of piling themselves in hidden corners, carpets get dirty much faster and a small amount of slobbishness (it’s a technical term) can seem downright disgusting in a matter of days.

I’m used to this constant cycle of sparkling clean to pig sty, so I wasn’t surprised when I found a pile of unopened mail and reading assignments from last semester stacked on the corner of a coffee table waiting for me. As I opened my mail, I discovered that my bank had begun sending my husband and me each an identical bank statement — I assume this is so we can each hold a copy of the evidence while we spar over who spent more. In the same pile, I found a 20-page “optional” assignment from one of my editing classes (when will professors learn that “optional” means “nobody will read it”?), a notebook filled with notes that I will never look at again and numerous grocery-store receipts and shopping lists.

The amount of wasted paper that I am linked to every day is phenomenal. Though I recycle as much as I can, I inevitably make mistakes. This week, however, I plan to redeem myself.

I came across a do-it-yourself article from 1993, How to Make Homemade Paper, that made me feel as though my excess paper was a blessing, not a curse. I’m thinking holiday cards, birthday cards and scrap paper all from homemade recycled paper. The process is simple enough, and I’ll put my old notes and assignments to good use. I imagine that tearing them all up will be quite the cathartic experience.

Obviously, I need to do a better job of making sure that paper isn’t wasted on me in the first place. I’ve picked up a tip from The Daily Green. I’ll be moving all of my bill payments online soon, and you can too.

Have you made your own paper before? What creative projects have you used recycled paper for? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Lindsey Siegele is the Senior Web Editor at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .