From the Recycle Bin to the Craft Studio

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Students at Valemount Elementary School had a lot of fun making new paper out of the used paper in their recycling bin. The Grade 5/6 classroom was converted into a paper making factory, and groups of students worked through stations to complete all of the steps of making paper. By the end of the lesson, the students had a stockpile of handmade paper ready for Valentine’s Day cards. 

In the first station students tore paper into small pieces. The new paper was made primarily of white paper, with a little coloured paper added to tint each batch. 

The second step was to blend the paper, along with lots of water, and a little corn starch. Students had fun mixing colours. Every batch was a little different. After blending they also had options to add flower petals to create an artisan look. 

After blending the paper pulp was transferred to screens. Students worked in pairs at each screen to carefully press some of the water out and create an even layer of pulp. Then the screens and paper were moved on to the next stations for more pressing and water extraction. 

After pressing more water out with dry flannel, and removing the screens. The paper is rolled between towels to remove as much water as possible. Then it was left out to dry, soon to be used in card making crafts. 

Making paper gave the students a hands-on learning experience, helping them understand a little more about how paper is made. It also made them appreciate how they could make something new out of things that are discarded or destined to be recycled. The students loved this activity and wanted to do it again!