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Science Rocks!

Recycling Paper


your results

Sent in by:
Tiffany and Boalong of Lincoln, NE

Breaking news! Newspaper turned into paper!

Materials Needed

  • 4-5 sheets of newspaper
  • glass bowl
  • hot water
  • cornstarch
  • measuring spoons
  • aluminum foil
  • wooden spoon
  • scissors
  • sharp pencil
  • decorations for your paper, like construction paper scraps, dried flowers, confetti, or glitter



  1. Check with a grown-up before you begin.
  2. Recycling paper is good for the environment. It cuts down on the amount of garbage you throw away and it means fewer trees have to be chopped down to make new paper.
  3. To make your own recycled paper, you need to turn paper into pulp, and then back into new paper. Here's how to do it.
  4. Start by cutting the newspaper into small pieces. About 4 or 5 sheets of newspaper will be enough to make two small pieces of recycled paper.
  5. Put the newspaper scraps into bowl, cover them with hot water and mix it up until all of the paper is wet.
  6. Let the paper sit for a few hours, until it's all mushy. Stir it occasionally. When it looks and feels like oatmeal, you're ready to make new paper.
  7. Add a few tablespoons of cornstarch and a little more hot water. Mix it all up once more.
  8. Now you have a pulpy, watery mess. Pulp is what you need to make paper, but you need to get rid of extra water first. You can make a strainer to help you do that.
  9. Take a piece of aluminum foil and fold into a square or rectangle about the size of the paper you want to make. Punch holes in the aluminum foil with a sharp pencil.
  10. Now it's time to make the paper. Take a new sheet of aluminum foil and put it on top of extra newspapers.
  11. Then, spoon some pulp on top. When the aluminum foil is covered with a layer of pulp, use your strainer to press out the extra water. The pulp that's left behind will become your new sheet of paper.
  12. Add decorations to your paper, if you want. You can use dried flowers, confetti, or anything else you find.
  13. Pinch together any holes in the paper. You're almost done!
  14. Finally, put aluminum foil and books on top of your paper and press it flat. Then take off the books and the top layer of foil and leave it out overnight so that it can dry.
  15. When it's done, peel the paper from the aluminum foil. You can leave the edges rough or trim them to look like a card you buy in the store.
  16. There you have it - recycled paper! ZOOM Into Action and help your community recycle. Check out the ZOOM Into Action: Conservation Guide in ZOOM Into Action for more ideas to help the environment and a guide.
  17. Paper can be made of lots of different things. What other materials besides newspaper can you recycle to make paper? What about empty cereal boxes or old magazines? Try it out, and tell us what you found!

Some of your Results

Emilee, age 11 of Logan, UT wrote:
Dear Zoom, I tried the recycled paper sience project only I did not use use paper. Instead I used a cardbord egg carton, I cut the egg carton up and put it in water for twenty - four hours. That did not work so I asked my dad if he would help me blend it, that was a very bad mistake. We blended it for about forty - five seconds. I earned myself a smoky blender that came with a very unpleasent smell. Don't do what I did because I have to fix the blender tomarrow.

Davy, age 15 of Tucson, AZ wrote:
It's really great, since in High School I use so much paper, then lots usually heads for the recycle bin. I can just tear it to confetti, soak it, strain it, and have more usable paper. It's not as easy to write on as normal paper, but if I keep experimenting I bet I can get it to look nicer.

Jennifer, age 11 of Lafayette, IN wrote:
I loved doing it for my class project!

Smiley, age 12 of Lincoln, NE wrote:
It turned out AWESOME! How cool is it that I can MAKE my own paper!

Jasmine, age 10 of NJ wrote:
i did it for my science fair project. The first one I made came out very good. The secod one is still drying that one is breaking apart. It was very fun. I didnt use the cornstarch because it made itvery sticky so I didnt use any cornstarch. Thanks for your help!

Pricilla of Joliet, IL wrote:
my paper turned out really cool and my friends were wondering were I got it! They are sooo jealous of me!

Jessica, age 11 of SC wrote:
It was so cool. I got to do it with my mom. We did what you said and it all work out fine. We also did it with old coloring books.

Santi, age 12 of New York, NY wrote:
it was really cool and it helps the enviroment.

Alice, age 12 of New York, NY wrote:
It was so cool! It was really hard though. You can also do this without adding anything. It was fun making all different shapes!

Jade of Quincy, MA wrote:
it didnt turn into paper.

Isabelle, age 11 of Ridgewood wrote:
Everything worked just fine but it dried for ever. Why did it turn into paper?

Isay of Quezon City, Philippines wrote:
The pulp will become stinky if you put corn starch because the corn starch will decompose after some time. Not putting corn starch will do. You can also put bleach(5o ml to 25o ml water solution) to make the paper white. Food coloring can also be used to change the color of the pulp. Lastly putting water to the pulp after spreading it in the screen will help make it flat. Creating recycled paper is fun and easy!

Autumn, age 11 of Grundy, VA wrote:
I love this project. I would totally recomend it to anyone who wants to help the environment.

Kaylee, age 10 of Bridgewater, NS wrote:
This is an awesome project! It is where it is at! I can't wait to do it again!

Kayla, age 10 of Rockford, IL wrote:
i got a real cool desgin on my paper.

Jennifer, age 12 of Arlington, VA wrote:
The experiment worked really well, and I recycle paper all the time now. I taught my sister how to do it, and we do the activity twice a week, and turn the paper into presents for our friends. They love it! We taught them how to make it too, and it's a fun activity for all of us.

Lilly, age 11 of San Antonio, TX wrote:
its was so awesum! I tried it and it worked! its home-made recycling! so cool! I also learned alot about recycling!!

Joshua, age 11 of Fort Lee, VA wrote:
I jus couldn't get it the 1 time and now it's going fine but the color won't go away. I'm jus hopeless.

Diane, age 10 of Homestead, FL wrote:
When I did this expirament I decide to change it up a little bit and do it as my science fair project for schoo with was"Does recycling paper take longer to dry usin cornstarch or cornmeal?"

Tesia, age 10 of Pelham, NY wrote:
I really wanted to do this project but I didn't have any cornstarch so I used cornmeal instead. Don't judge me yet! I didn't know what the difference was between them so I thought the same thing would happen. So I did everything the directions said to do except I used cornmeal. so after waiting overnight the result was this: it sort of worked. the paper was stuck together except the color from the newspaper wasnt gone. but it is hardened and it worked pretty good.

Jessica, age 9 of Manchester, UK wrote:
when I tried it at first it was all messy and got told off. then a few days later I tried it again and it was very nice I showed it to all my friends it and they told me to show them how to make it and then I told the you rmarvallous website and they said it was the best science website they had ever been on.

Tanu, age 10 of Canberra, Australia wrote:
It was so pretty I made more and so did my friends, Before we knew we were selling and making lots. So far we have made $50 austarlian doallars.

Samantha, age 11 of Wilmington, DE wrote:
It was so much fun making it!!!

Chrystal, age 13 of New York, NY wrote:
Well it was pretty cool but it took a long time to dry.

Taymise, age 10 of MA wrote:
it was messy and fun.

Heaven, age 8 of Columbus, OH wrote:
It was fun. I made something else with it. You can make anything with it. But if you recycle anything, it feels so good. If you have not tryd it try it.

Lexie, age 13 of Teaneck, NJ wrote:
Yea so0 I did diz project 4 mi sciience fair & I made a scrapbook out of it took reall long 2 dry n den I put in it mi bag n wen I got 2 skool... it wuz all broken & cracked so I aint hav a science proj. so if u guna do this proj b careful

Amy, age 13 of Taylor, PA wrote:
I had to do a report on recycling and I brought this in to show how it could work THX!!!

Shatoria, age 15 of Clinton, NC wrote:
It worked really good. It also took along time like the other people said. But I really liked how it turned out. It came in handy for my science fair to.

Jennifer, age 10 of MD wrote:
I did the project at school and it took about an hour and a couple of minutes for it to dry, I think I will try it again at home.

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