I finally got bold and took matters by the hand around here! I have been wanting to try to make homemade paper from my shredded stuff for weeks, but something always stopped me! Finally, I just started the process and made due as I went.
First I made a big pot of the shredded paper from my shredding machine...mostly white but a few other colors mixed in as well.
I boiled it gently for a while, then left it sitting on OFF for a few hours while I went away for a while.
When I came back, I put three batches of my shredded stuff, with water added (enough to make it easily blendable) into my Vita Mix blender. It turned to pulp almost immediately.
I poured it into a large pot, and took all of it out to my wheelbarrow out under a tree in the backyard. Poured it in, and added more water with the hose, until I had a nice watery/pulpy mixture (I guessed on the consistency, but it seems I did OK on this).
Now, I know a lot of people use an old picture frame, and remove the glass, etc, and staple a peice on screen on the bottom, but I wanted something stronger...so I used a flat bottomed grill basket for vegetables. It has larger holes all over it to allow the water to run out. It has a flat bottom that is about 7 inches square.
I cut a peice of nylon screen to fit into the bottom, and then I just held the screen in place while I scooped my basket down into the wheelbarrow and got a layer of watery pulp over the top of the screen, as even as I could.
I let a lot of the water drip out the bottom, then I sat the basket on the grass, and used a peice of white felt to cover the top. Then you take a sponge and press down repeatatively all over the surface to press out all the water. I had to keep squeezing the sponge after one or two presses to keep it as dry as I could as I kept pressing more and more water out. You can tell when you are not really pressing much out anymore.
Then I took the basket in the house to the table, where I turned it upside down over a towel. I used a pencil to poke through the holes in the grill basket to push the screen out and the paper and screen would fall onto the towel.
I let my sheets of wet paper lay there for a few hours...(mainly due to having to attend to other things...and came back later to dry the sheets. I did that by placing them on a dry towel and covering with one of my husbands hankerchiefs, and pressing with a dry iron over and over...moving until I felt it was fairly dry on one side, then turning and repeating until they were fairly dry.
Now I just have to wait a few days (probably) with them in the airconditioning, to finish drying completely.
Oh...please remember that this was my first time. I think there is another ingredient you can throw in to make the paper behave better with ink (when you write on it)...and I want to say it is glycerin (But I must research before I can say for sure). I added a few drops of food coloring onto the surface of the paper when I first pulled it out of the pulp/water bath, and before pressing with the felt and sponge. I thought it would have swooshed the color more than it did, during thins water stage, so I am going to make more tomorrow and add some ingredients...like grass, flower petals, and glitter (just a little).
Will let you know how it turns out. This was fun...seriously fun. OH...and I have a question for you? I like the sort of deckled edges for an artsy look, but what do you think...should I cut them to be like straight paper edge, or leave artsy? I am trying to think of how I could fashion them into a journal and not lose the neat edge aspect. Any ideas???