DIY Recycled Paper: Simple Guide (2024)

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Making DIY recycled paper is a pretty straightforward process, but it still took me months before I tried making it, mainly because I didn’t have some of the equipment, more specifically the mould & deckle, and a blender.

In the end, I decided to improvise, and even though the process took a bit longer, it still worked, and the final result was pretty great. 

In this article, I’ll share with you the step-by-step process of making DIY recycled paper at home, the main mistakes to avoid, and how to modify it and use what you already have. 

Materials needed

  • A big container: To soak and mix the paper pulp. Any large bucket will work.
  • Water: For soaking the paper scraps and creating pulp.
  • Scrap papers: Old newspapers, office paper, or junk mail. I used lots of different paper packaging from various products. Avoid glossy papers, and receipts (they contain toxic BPA or too much already recycled paper).
  • A sponge: For pressing out excess water from the wet paper. A clean cloth can also be used.
  • Mould & deckle: A set of two frames, one with a mesh screen, used to shape and drain the paper pulp. You can make a simple version at home using two identical picture frames and attaching a fine mesh to one of them. I used a single frame & a mesh screen, and still worked but the process was slower.
  • Blender: Speeds up the pulping process, however, if you don’t have a blender, extend the soaking time and manually mash the paper.
  • Kitchen towels & cloths: For drying the wet paper. Use absorbent and lint-free cloths.
  • The sun: Helps in drying the paper. If there’s no sun, use a hairdryer or fan for drying.
  • Floral petals (Optional): Add them to the pulp for decorative effects. You can also use other natural materials like leaves or threads.

DIY recycled paper: Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Preparing the paper pulp

Tear the scrap papers into small pieces and place the paper pieces in a big container.

Add boiling water to the container and let the paper soak for a few days to soften. Or you can add the hot water and blend the paper with water immediately to create a pulp.

Step 2: Creating the Mould & Deckle

A mould & deckle consists of two frames of the same size, one with a mesh. You can buy one here or make it yourself.

If you don’t have one, you can make a simple version using two picture frames and a piece of fine mesh or screen attached to one frame.

I made my DIY version, and although it was improvised, and not as good as the real thing, it still worked, I just needed to be a bit more patient & careful.

Step 3: Forming the Paper

Fill a large container with clean water.

Add the paper pulp to the water, stirring to ensure an even mixture. You can add floral petals or other decorations to the pulp mixture.

Step 4: Dip the Mould & Deckle

Submerge the mould & deckle into the pulp mixture.

Lift it slowly, ensuring the pulp is evenly distributed over the mesh.

Gently shake the mould & deckle to help even out the fibers and remove excess water.

Step 5: Drain & dry the paper

Let the water drain through the mesh, leaving behind a layer of paper fibers.

Use a sponge to press out more water from the wet paper.

Carefully separate the deckle from the mould, leaving the wet paper on the mesh.

Transfer the wet paper to a kitchen towel or cloth.

Leave the paper to dry under the sun for several hours. You can also use a flat surface indoors if sunlight is not available.

Step 6: Press the dried paper

Once the paper is dry, place it under a heavy book or a flat weight to press it flat. Leave it pressed for several hours or overnight.

DIY recycled paper guide (Video)

DIY Recycled Paper (Simple Guide)


Experiment: Beyond floral petals, you can add various materials to your paper pulp to create unique textures and colors. Try incorporating leaves, grass, threads, etc. Just ensure that any added material is well-blended with the pulp.

Color your pulp: If you want colored paper, you can add non-toxic dyes or natural colorants to your pulp mixture. Beets, spinach, and turmeric can provide vibrant colors.

Pulp consistency: The consistency of your pulp affects the texture of your paper. For a smoother paper, blend the pulp thoroughly. For a more textured, rustic look, blend it less.

Drying techniques: If the sun is not available or if you want a quicker drying process, you can use a hairdryer or place the paper near a fan.

Multiple sheets: You can make multiple sheets in one go. Prepare several frames or a larger mould & deckle to create multiple sheets that can dry simultaneously.

Reuse the ‘failed’ attempts: Recycle your failed attempts by tearing the paper again and adding it back to the pulp mixture. 

Mistakes to avoid

Uneven pulp distribution: If you don’t distribute the pulp evenly over the mesh, it will result in uneven paper thickness. Ensure you shake the mould & deckle gently and evenly while lifting it from the water.

Insufficient soaking time: If you don’t soak the paper scraps long enough, the fibers won’t break down properly, resulting in a rough, uneven pulp. So, make sure you soak the paper for a long time, and if you want to speed up the process, blend the pulp thoroughly.

Skipping the pressing stage: Not pressing the dried paper can also result in wavy or uneven sheets. Make sure to press your paper under a heavy book or flat weight for a smooth finish.

Too much water left in pulp: Not pressing enough water out of the paper will prolong drying time and can lead to the paper being too fragile. Use a sponge or pressing board effectively to remove excess water.

Removing the deckle too soon or quickly: If you try to remove the deckle before the paper has set, it can tear or lose shape. Be patient and ensure the paper is well drained.

Improper drying environment: Drying paper in a damp or poorly ventilated area can lead to mold growth or uneven drying. Always dry your paper in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area.

Overloading the blender: Adding too much paper to the blender at once can cause it to jam or produce an uneven pulp. Blend in small batches for best results.

Benefits of making DIY recycled paper

Reduces waste: By recycling scrap paper, you upcycle paper and upcycle waste in a fun, creative way.  

Conserve resources: Making your paper uses significantly fewer resources compared to industrial paper production, which requires large amounts of water, energy, and raw materials.

Creative outlet: Making paper is super fun, creative, and even meditative. You can experiment with different textures, colors, and additives like flowers or leaves.

Cost-effective: Once you have the basic materials, making your paper is more cost-effective than purchasing specialty papers, especially for art and craft projects.

Cute gift notes: DIY recycled paper is perfect for creating unique personalized gifts, adding a special touch that store-bought paper cannot match. I used the DIY paper I made for gift cards and friendship love letters. 


What types of paper can I recycle to make DIY paper?

You can use a variety of paper types such as old newspapers, office paper, junk mail, printer paper, envelopes, and even old greeting cards. Avoid receipts since they contain toxic BPA, don’t use too much already recycled paper, and avoid glossy papers like magazines as they often contain coatings.

What can I use DIY recycled paper for?

DIY recycled paper is perfect for writing letters, creating art projects, making greeting cards, scrapbooking, or any other crafts.

Do I need a blender to make paper pulp? 

While a blender makes the process faster by quickly breaking down the paper fibers into a fine pulp, you can also soak the paper longer and manually mash it into pulp using a grinder.

How long does it take to make DIY recycled paper?

The entire process, including soaking the paper (if not using a blender), forming the sheets, and drying them, can take several days. Soaking may take 1-2 days, while drying can take another day depending on the weather. For example, I soaked the paper for 3 days, I was making the paper on another day and then dried the paper for a final day.

Can I add colors or decorations to my DIY paper?

Yes, you can add non-toxic dyes or natural colorants to the pulp to color your paper. You can incorporate decorative items such as flower petals, leaves, threads, and such, to create unique textures and designs.

How do I ensure my paper sheets are evenly thick?

Ensure an even distribution of pulp over the mesh by gently shaking the mould & deckle back and forth while it’s submerged in the pulp mixture. This helps the fibers settle evenly across the screen.

Why is my DIY paper turning out lumpy or uneven? 

Uneven paper can result from not distributing the pulp evenly or not pressing out enough water. Ensure you blend the pulp thoroughly and use a sponge or pressing board to remove excess water and even out the surface.

Can I make DIY paper without a sunny day for drying? 

If sunlight is not available, you can dry your paper indoors using a fan or a hairdryer on a low setting. Ensure the drying area is well-ventilated to prevent mold growth.

How do I store my handmade paper? 

Store your dried and pressed paper in a dry, flat place. You can place sheets between pieces of cardboard or in a large book to keep them flat and prevent warping.

Can I reuse my mistakes or failed attempts? 

Yeah! Tear any failed attempts back into small pieces and add them back to your pulp mixture. This ensures that no material goes to waste and you can keep improving your technique.


There you have it. A step-by-step guide with tips & hiccups to avoid when making DIY recycled paper at home.

The final recycled paper is very crafty and great for writing letters, and cute notes. 

I’ll probably repeat the process once again, and get a proper mound & deckle since the one I improvised wasn’t that good and fell apart after some point.

Do you have any questions or will you try out to make recycled paper at home?

Let me know in the comments below. 🙂 

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