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During our October Family Art Lab, we invited children and their adult partners to create their own paper inspired the vibrant, jewel-color artworks in our Francesco Clemente exhibition. For this craft, we followed traditional Nepalese methods, with a few minor adjustments. We used recycled paper in place of the lokta plant and employed standard kitchen blenders instead of the large machines used to combine the lokta and water into a pulp. Since we were indoors, we used pieces of felt to absorb the water from our papers and let them air dry overnight, rather than direct sunlight.

To decorate our papers, we used spices like curry, parsley, rosemary, and cinnamon, as well as dried flower petals, and colorful tissue paper.

Want to make your own paper at home? Here’s how!

You’ll need:

  • a small wooden frame (just the wooden part)
  • a screen (cut to fit the frame)
  • hot glue (for gluing the screen to the frame)
  • a shallow tray (with at least 2 in. walls)
  • several pieces of felt
  • decorations of your choosing (we like spices, wax-coated tissue paper, and dried flowers!)
  • recycled papers (work best if they are torn or shredded)
  • a bucket (for soaking papers)
  • a blender (regular or immersion will work)
  1. Assemble your screen by taking your wooden frame and using the hot glue to adhere the screen to the frame. Let the screen dry and handle the hot glue carefully!
  2. Soak shredded paper (copy paper works best) overnight to soften it.
  3. Put paper shreds into blender and top with water. Blend, adding more water if needed, until you have a pulp with the consistency of watery oatmeal.
  4. Pour pulp mixture into a shallow tray. Dip screen into pulp, covering surface and lifting slowly out of the water. Make sure your screen is covered with a thin layer of pulp. *Alternate method ““ use a spoon to spoon mixture onto frame.
  5. Press decorations into wet pulp ““ try making a design!
  6. Use felt and pat both sides of the pulp until much of the water has been absorbed into felt.
  7. Carefully remove paper from screen and place somewhere safe to dry overnight.
  8. Admire your very own sheet of handmade paper!

We hope you’ll join us at the Museum for future Family Art Labs!