Make Your Own Paper

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The Chinese invented paper made from plants and cloth about 2,000 years ago. Learners follow a similar process to make paper from recycled paper. Once dry, learners can make something special with their handmade paper like a greeting card, origami, a book, or bookmarks. Use this activity to introduce learners to the paper-making process, material science, and/or recycling. Note: adult supervision is recommended to assist learners with scissors, craft knife, and blender.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • large disposable aluminum pan or plastic bin (bigger than 13" x 9")
  • smaller disposable aluminum pans (13" x 9" or smaller)
  • fiberglass screen (enough to cut two or more screens the size of the smaller pan bottoms)
  • scissors or craft knife
  • scrap paper (any used paper, tissue paper, construction paper, or paper towels)
  • large bowl or plastic bin (for soaking)
  • blender
  • sponge
  • packing or other wide masking tape
  • owels and newspapers (for drying)
  • apron, smock, or old clothes
  • rolling pin (optional)
  • dried flowers, herbs, glitter, short pieces of thread (for decoration and texture) (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Ology


  • All rights reserved, American Museum of Natural History,