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Newspaper crafts made easy!

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Don’t recycle those empty toilet paper rolls and used newspapers yet! Did you know that by using a few items found around your home, you can create fun and engaging paper crafts for the whole family? 

From origami to papier-mâché, paper crafts have been captivating home crafters for years.

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The best part? Most of these crafts are so simple that even the youngest members of your household can be entertained. 

Let’s take a closer look at this art form and learn more about the crafts you can do at home!

Paper-Making

Why not start with the basics? Paper-making is a simple and sometimes messy household craft that is both decorative and useful in nature.

By simply blending recycled paper from around your home with water, you can create a variety of crafts; from stationary cards to mini journals to wall pieces, the possibilities are endless.

Before you start, make sure you have the necessary materials. You will need a blender (preferably one not used for food), a mold and decal, a large tub, a sponge, some towels, cold water, and (of course) shredded newspaper.

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The mold and decal are two important items that create the physical shape of your paper. The mold has a mesh screen attached to it and is used to catch the paper. The decal is an open frame that is laid on top of the mold to help form the paper’s shape.

If you do not have a mold and decal available, you can simply create them using old picture frames and sturdy mesh screens with small openings. The Roaring Fork Co-Op has plenty of screens to choose from.

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The paper itself is created by immersing the mold and decal into the pulp-filled tub. 

Using a process similar to gold panning, you catch the paper and continue swirling the mold and decal until you are satisfied with your paper’s thickness. 

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When satisfied, allow your paper to dry for up to 24 hours on a flat surface. For added smoothness, place some plywood on top of your paper.

Try experimenting with other fibers such as construction paper or old phone books for a pop of color. You can also use vegetable scraps or piled up junk mail to be more resourceful!

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Origami paper crane

Chances are, if you ask any elementary school child if they have ever made origami, the answer will be yes. If not, now is your chance to inspire them!

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Stemming from a combination of two Japanese words, oru (to fold) and kami (paper), origami has been a staple in Japanese art for centuries.

With the popularization of the story “Sadako and a thousand paper cranes” by Eleanor Coerr, the legend of folding 1000 paper cranes and giving them to a friend for a wish has inspired people around the world. 

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Symbolizing longevity and good fortune, the crane has been referred to as “the bird of happiness” and hope during difficult times.

Today, folding a paper crane has become a household skill. It can be made from a variety of paper products such as thin origami paper or newspaper. 

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To make an origami crane, you begin with a square piece of paper and quickly transition into a series of repeating folds. Within minutes, you will move through the accordion, squash, skinny kite, and wolf’s head folds to create a beautiful origami crane.

Papier-mâché

As one of the more resourceful paper crafts, papier-mâché has been used for centuries to create practical goods such as vases, masks, and even furniture.

The term papier-mâché originates from the French to literally mean “chewed paper”, which is exactly what the Frenchman did in the 18th century.

Today, the process takes a bit of a different approach. Instead of chewing the newspaper, you will get it wet with a pulp made of flour and water. Once wet, layer the newspaper around a model you created out of household items, such as empty toilet paper rolls. Didn’t hoard enough toilet paper? Try creating a model out of chicken wire, balloons, or cardboard boxes – get creative!

After a few hours, the mixture will dry forming a cast around your model. You can then paint or decorate it to your heart’s content!

The list goes on!

Want more newspaper crafts? Here are some easy ideas!

  • Newspaper planters for seedlings
  • Tea party hats
  • Fringy wreaths and bouquets
  • Newsprint silhouettes
  • Stationary envelopes
  • Coiled newspaper coasters

Don’t forget to showcase your finished work by tagging us @soprissun on Instagram or The Sopris Sun on Facebook.

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