Craft Ideas for Kids | Paper Making Discoveries image

This is a real feel-good craft. All crafting feels good, but when you're recycling something old and rubbish and turning it into something new and beautiful, it feels even better. Make it into a sensory activity, add some aromatherapy and glitter, and you may just end up in crafting heaven. This is all without mentioning how good it feels to MAKE YOUR OWN PAPER!

You will need: Scrap paper, (we used 8-10 pieces per batch), Bowl of water, Blender or Food processor, Sieve, Greaseproof paper, Rolling pin, Tea towels or Kitchen roll, Food colouring, Essential oils, Glitter.

There are many different versions of how to do this out there but we decided to go as simple as possible for this blog, using only things that we had at home. If you would like to take your paper making to the next level you can get this Recycled Paper Kit from Conscious Craft, which includes more advanced equipment as well as some other lovely stuff.

1. Rip your scrap paper up into little pieces and put them into a bowl of water. Aided by a bit of warm water and hands to squish and rip them up further, your paper should be soft enough for the blender in no time.

2. Pick up handfuls of your paper and pop them into the blender. You can give the handfuls a little squeeze before they go in but not too much - the moisture helps with the blending.

3. If you would like to add any food colouring, essential oils or glitter to your mixture, this is the moment. (The quantities will be to your personal preference, but I always find that I need more colouring and less oils than I thought!)

Please be aware when crafting with little ones that some essential oils can cause inflammation in direct contact with skin, and they should be kept away from mouths and eyes.

4. Run your blender until your mixture is as smooth as possible and then strain it through a sieve if necessary. (If using a food processor you may need less water, and therefore be able to skip this step).

5. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper down onto a flat surface and dollop your mixture onto it. 

6. Put another sheet of greasproof paper on top and use your rolling pin to flatten your paper mixture between them.

7. Remove the top layer of greaseproof paper and lay a tea towel or some kitchen roll over your mixture, pressing down with your hands to draw out some of the moisture.

With a couple of our batches we tried adding more food colouring after the rolling out process, which created a sort of tie-dye effect.

8. Leave your mixture in a warm place to dry, for at least a day. As it stiffens you can transfer it to a wire rack, or even to the oven for a short burst on the lowest temperature. If at any point you come back to your paper and it has curled up or gone wibbly in places you can give it a light spray of water and flatten it again under some heavy books.

We discovered that making the paper this way means that it will always be quite thick and textured, because when you have to squeeze out the water it lumps it together into little balls. It's such a pleasure to make, but not so good for writing on - for that you would need the framed mesh that come in the Recycled Paper Kit.

We have cut out some beautiful shapes from what we made.

Because they are scented we are going to thread some of them and give them to people to hang in their wardrobes, and use the others to embellish cards.

My children really didn't want to waste all the water that came out of their mixture when strained, so we used it to make some coloured, scented and glittery salt dough! More sensory play and and even more creativity.

For instructions on how to make salt dough see our previous craft idea on how to make a Salt Dough Advent Spiral.

We hope you have hours of fun with these ideas, and that it all feels really good!

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