What do you do with junk mail?

Who has the supplies needed to make handmade paper? YOU! Find paper to make pulp in your office's shredder bag or your junk mail bin.

At MFTA, a group of teachers is learning to turn junk mail, beverage containers, and all kinds of scrap paper into handmade paper during our P credit course “Paper: From Pulp to Fiction.” We started by raiding our scrap paper and recycling bins–in the office and at home.

You can use paper drink containers too! These drink containers are soaking, getting ready to be turned into pulp.

The next step is soaking the paper so you can turn it into pulp. We try to soak ours overnight, but one hour will do in a pinch. In the meantime, the teachers raided the warehouse for frames and mesh that once stapled together, mold the paper into whatever shape they desired.

Teachers making frames to form the pulp into sheets. Guess where they found the materials to make the frames?

While the teachers worked on constructing the frames, Joy and our volunteers used blenders to make pulp out of the soaked paper.

Making this amount of pulp really exhausted our blenders--the office smelled like burning electronics for a while after!

After watching Joy demonstrate the paper making technique, teachers got to try the technique themselves.

Joy demonstrating the paper making technique

After Joy pressed all the excess pulp from the paper with a sponge, she dropped the finished product onto a piece of felt to dry.

Joy drops the finished product onto a piece of felt to dry.

Here are some of the teachers’ creations!

All their papers looked like mini-Rothkos to me. Less so now that they are next to each other :/ To the left of this teacher's work is "Untitled (Red, Black, Orange, Yellow on Yellow)" by Mark Rothko (1953). Oil on canvas. Exhibited at PaceWildenstein, fall 1998. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

A teacher's paper next to "Green and Maroon" (1953) by Mark Rothko. Oil on canvas. Phillips Collection, Washington DC. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Do you want to bring techniques like these into your classroom at little-to-no-cost? Learn great art projects AND how to link them to teaching the Common Core with P credit courses at Materials for the Arts. There’s still time to sign up for a class this summer! “Raw Fibers: The Art of Fabric” starts July 25 and we’ll offer all three of our P credit classes again in the fall. Learn more about P credit classes at MFTA here.

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2 Responses to What do you do with junk mail?

  1. Pingback: *TEACHERS EARN YOUR P CREDITS* Last chance to sign up for Paper: From Pulp to Fictionpaper: from pulp to fiction (joy suarez, instructor) Through hands-on art-making this course explores the historical, economic, scientific, social and mathematical proper

  2. Pingback: *TEACHERS* Last chance to sign up for Paper: From Pulp to Fiction | Materials for the Arts

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