Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Teacher Resources

Making Paper

Papermaking can be considered both art and science. About 4,500 years ago, Egyptians used the plant Cyperus papyrus, papyrus, to make a writing surface. Throughout the ages, different cultures developed their own techniques of papermaking. Early in the second century the Chinese developed a papermaking process similar to that used today. The Mayans and Aztecs developed their own processes using fibers from native plants. Today, trees are harvested for papermaking. The trees are chipped, and the chips are processesed to create pulp. Wood pulp is a watery suspension of plant fibers. The pulp is pressed, dried, and treated in a variety of ways to create the many types of paper that we use everyday.

You can make your own paper! The following is just one technique for making paper. Try it out. Feel free to experiment with the process. Enjoy!

  • shredded newspaper
  • blender
  • algae (or other material)
  • 2 wooden frames
  • weather stripping
  • wire mesh
  • plastic tub or pan
  • flat tray
  • landscaping cloth -2 pieces (burlap, lace, newspaper, etc.)
  • rolling pin
  • press or stack of books or weights
  • fan


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