School's Done - Paper Fun!

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What do the two pictures below have to do with each other and helping out with the end of school?

Figure 1: Ripped pieces of paper                                    Figure 2: Handmade Artisanal Paper


A) They both are pretty

B) They both involve colour names I learned en francais in school this year

C) They both will help change the mountain of year-end waste paper into something awesome

D) Aren’t we done with quizzes?! It’s summer!

If you chose option “D” you are correct! But if you chose option “C” you are really correct and will find a summer activity below that will both be fun and divert all those pages and pages of notes, worksheets, and projects from the recycling bin, or worse landfill!

Read on, and Ms. Lema’s Grade 7 class from J.A. Laird Elementary School in Invermere will guide you step by step through the process of making artisanal paper from your old worksheets! Ms. Lema’s class learned to make this paper in one of their Beyond Recycling classes this past year.

Step 1: Rip all of your leftover worksheets, crosswords, essays into small pieces – see below.

Step 2: Put two handfuls of paper in a blend with 1 – 2 cups of water, 1 tsp of cornstarch, and any sparkles, petals, or colourings (e.g. beet powder) desired. Put the lid on and blend until the consistency of a thick smoothie.

Step 3: Pour your paper ‘smoothie’ through a screen and smooth out so that the surface is evenly covered. Make sure you’re doing this outside or have a bin underneath to catch the water.


Step 4: Carefully flop your paper on the screen onto an absorbent towel or cloth. Gently flip the paper over so you can put an absorbent towel on the backside as well. Remove the screen, and press with a rolling pin to remove as much water as possible.

Step 5: Transfer your wet new paper products to a place where they can dry out. You may need to add something heavy – like a book – on top of the paper as it dries to maintain the flatness. Wait a few days and voila, you’ll have your very own homemade ‘artisanal’ paper to use as you see fit.

Step 6: Get all of your friends over and create your own assembly-line style production of the above steps! You’ll have a booklet of beautiful paper in no time! Or, request your own Beyond Recycling program in your class (if you’re Grade 5-7).

Thank you to Ms. Lema’s Grade 7 class from J.A. Laird in Invermere to showing us how to transform our seemingly now less-than-useful leftover school papers into a fun and useful summer project!