Art of Paper-Making

Handmade Holiday Gift Tags

Hone your skills in paper-making and create a unique holiday accent. The ancient egyptians pounded and flattened papyrus to make paper for scrolls. Now you can produce one-of-a-kind tags and cards using a similar technique.

What you need:

• Scrap paper: wrapping paper, tissue paper, construction paper, newspaper, napkins, etc.

• A deckle (9 x 12-in. Or smaller). You can purchase this frame used in manual paper-making at a craft supply store, or make your own.

• Plastic basin or tub; large enough to submerge your deckle.

• Felt cloth for drying (9 x 12-in.)

• Wooden spoon

• Blender

• Towel

• Hole punch

• Ribbon

What you do:

1. Tear or cut all kinds of scrap paper into approximately 1 in. Squares and place in a blender up to halfway mark.

2. Add warm water to cover the paper scraps by one inch.Run the blender slowly, and increase the speed until pulp looks well-blended (approximately 30 to 40 seconds)

3. Fill a basin or tub with about 3 inches of water. Add one or two blender loads of pulp (the more pulp you add the thicker the fi nished paper will be). Stir the mixture.

4. Submerge your deckle into your pulp mixture. As you carefully raise your deckle out of the mixture, the water will drain through the mesh, leaving behind paper pulp. Shake the deckle side to side to even out your pulp and to drain excess water.

5. Place the mold screen-side down on a towel, and place a piece of felt on top of the pulp.Using a sponge, press into the felt to soak up the remaining water.

6. Once the towel and felt appear saturated with excess water, flip the deckle over and slowly pull the felt (the paper should remain attached) from the mold. Repeat steps until you have the desired amount of paper sheets.

7. Allow paper to dry for 24 hours. Once the paper is dry, peel the felt off carefully.

8. Cut into custom-made cards or smaller sizes for gift tags. Punch a hole at the top of your tag then thread a piece of ribbon through it.

Make your own deckle:

Cut one piece of mesh vinyl screen to fit an old frame. Wet the mesh and staple it to the frame using a staple gun*. Staple the middle of one side, then the middle of the opposite side, pulling as tightly as you can. Repeat with the other two sides. Then staple all around the frame, making sure the netting is taut. * Adult supervision is recommended for children under 14.