How to Make Cotton Paper

    by Joanne Mendes

    About the Author

    Joanne Mendes has been professionally writing since 2007 and began specializing in education topics in 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master's degree from Chatham University.


    Making your own paper is a fun family project and a great way to recycle items found around the house that normally would get tossed in the garbage. Handmade paper is traditionally made by creating a pulp out of old paper products to create new paper. By adding cotton fibers to the pulp, you can create a higher quality paper which is thicker and more durable than paper alone. The easiest way to obtain cotton fibers is by letting your clothes dryer do the work for you! Dryer lint contains the natural cotton fibers needed to create high quality cotton paper and it is another great way to recycle!

    Things You'll Need

    • 2 to 3 newspapers
    • Warm water
    • Small bucket, large bowl or dishpan
    • Wooden spoon
    • Blender (optional)
    • 1 to 2 cups clothes dryer lint
    • Old window screen
    • Sponge
    • Old floor tile cut to fit the screen (optional)
    • Blow dryer (optional)

    show more

    Tear the newspaper into small pieces and place into bucket.

    Soak the newspaper pieces in the bucket overnight using enough warm water to just cover the newspaper.

    Drain water from the bucket and remove excess water from the newspaper.

    Place the newspaper back into the bucket and using a large wooden spoon, mash it into a pulp. (It is easier to mash about 1 to 2 cups of paper at a time). Add enough water to keep the paper pulp damp. It should be the consistency of paste when you are finished. You can also create the pulp by placing 1 cup of newspaper into the blender, adding enough water to cover it and blending the paper until it is pulpy.

    Pour the paper pulp back into the bucket. Add the dryer lint and stir it until it is thoroughly blended.

    Pour the paper pulp onto the window screen. This step is pretty messy, so it's best to do this outside if at all possible.

    Press down gently on the pulp using the sponge or floor tile to squeeze out the extra water and to distribute the pulp evenly over the screen.

    Flip the screen over onto the damp cloth or the floor tile. Remove the screen. The sheet of paper should now be on the cloth or tile.

    Dry the paper by allowing it to remain on the cloth or tile overnight or by using the blow dryer.

    Remove the paper from cloth or tile when it is totally dry.

    • The craft of making handmade paper has been around for centuries, developed by the Chinese over 2 thousand years ago.
    • Handmade paper can be used for all types of art projects including creating one of a kind journals, scrapbooks and letters.
    • Add dried flowers or grasses to the pulp after pouring it on the screen to add extra decoration to your paper.