Lisa Kitchen Lisa Kitchen
Art Methods
EDUC 298B--Dr. Guenter

Grade Level: Sixth grade
Approximate Time: Two class periods-60 minutes the first day
30 minutes the second day, with a total of 90 minutes.

Lesson Plan--Paper Making

Topic: Visual Arts in paper making, folk art history, & Chinese Culture

Historically, culturally and artistically paper making is thousands of years old. We use paper on a daily basis and take it for granted without much thought about the process used in making paper. It is important for the students to know how paper has developed through the years, and how readily available paper is today compared to thousands of years ago when the process of paper making was not modernized.

Goals & Objectives:
Students will learn how to create and design paper as an exploration of the history in making paper from pulp.
Artistic Perception: *Students will be able to work in pairs or alone to create a piece of paper from raw materials.

Students will use art materials and a blender safely and responsibly.
Creative Expression: *Students will decorate their paper using their own design and available materials around the classroom. Students will use their designed paper to make a journal entry or scrapbook design for their China unit portfolio.

Historical Cultural Context: *Students will be able to apply their understanding of the history of paper making in a classroom discussion.

Instructional strategy will include direct instruction, group process, and some guided discovery.

Mold- Two piece wooden frame with a screen attached.
Deckle- Part of the the mold, but is the open frame and goes on top.
Papyrus- The Greek word from which paper comes from.
Embedded- To insert into a larger piece.
Blot- To pat dry with an absorbent material.

* A mold and deckle (a two piece wooden frame with a screen mesh stretched across one piece). This can be created with a piece of old window screen and heavy tape around the edges.
* An extra piece of mesh or screen.
* A sponge
* Two sheets of blotter paper
* Some dried leaves, flowers, herbs, string, glitter or anything else you can think of to make your paper personal.
* A blender to make pulp (this will not hurt the blender).
* A sink or large plastic basin/ tub.
* A rolling pin or a round cylinder for flattening out the paper.
* Kitchen towels for mess.
* A microwave oven, toaster oven, or a patch of sunlight to dry the paper.

The teacher will introduce the history of paper making to the students. Talk about how in ancient Egypt people needed a material to write on and how they decided they could use a plant called papyrus to be the material needed. Explain how they tore apart the leaves and pounded and pressed them until they were flat enough and flexible enough to write on. Introduce the students that the word "paper" comes from the Greek word papyrus, and how the Egyptians influenced the Greeks and Romans and that this material was used throughout the ancient world for over 4,000 years.

Then introduce how in China the people wrote on silks and sheets of bamboo until a major breakthrough in paper making occurred. In 105 AD, a man named Ts’ai Lun took tree bark, old pieces of rope, rag and fishing nets and ground them into a pulp and discovered a way to make paper. For over 500 years the Chinese people kept their secret on how to make paper to themselves. The change occurred when people needed to distribute the sacred texts of the Buddhist religion and this knowledge of how to create paper traveled across the world.

1. Clear some counter space near a sink as a work space.

2. Look at the mold and deckle. The mold is the bottom half of the pair with the screen attached. The deckle is the open frame and goes on top. Notice how easily the two pieces fit together.

3. Fill up the sink to approximately 1/3 full and place the assembled mold and deckle in the sink. The water level should be about half way between the screen and the top of the deckle. Adjust your water level if necessary.

4. Fill your blender 1/2-2/3 full with lukewarm water. Find sheets of unwanted paper, such as junk mail, and tear it into pieces the size of large postage stamps. Let the paper soak for a few minutes. Replace the lid of your blender tightly and blend on low to medium speed for about 20 seconds. DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS OR ANY UTENSILS INTO THE BLENDER! If your paper jams, unplug the blender and ask for help from your teacher or another adult.

5. Once you have a nice smooth mixture you are ready to pour your first sheet of paper!

6. Use one hand to hold the mold and deckle assembly in place in the sink with the mold on the bottom. Slowly pour the pulp onto the screen slowly enough so it does not spill over the sides of the deckle. Gently swirl the pulp around with your fingers to distribute it evenly across the screen without leaving any thin spots.

7. If you are so inspired, you can add anything you like to decorate the sheet. When swirling the pulp around the mold and deckle in the sink, add some flowers, leaves, pieces of string, glitter, or anything else that would look nice embedded in paper.

8. Very steadily, hold the mold and deckle together with both hands, lift it out of the water. Hold it over the sink for a minute or so until the water drains away. Don’t worry if the pulp shifts too much, you can just lower it back into the water and restart!

9. Carefully lift the deckle off of the mold. Place the loose piece of screen on top of your new paper and using as a damp sponge, gently blot out the excess water. Holding the screen onto the paper, flip the mold over onto the kitchen towel and sponge out some more water through the underside of the mold.

10. Slowly lift the mold away leaving the paper lying on the loose screen. Place a piece of dry blotter paper on top of your fresh sheet and flip it over so that the screen is on top. Lift off the screen and replace it with a dry blotter. Use the rolling pin to squeeze out more water.

11. Even though the new sheet of paper will still be damp, it should hold together nicely. You now need to dry it. You can place it in a microwave for 1-2 minutes on high or in a warm oven (250 degrees) or in a patch of sunlight. The sheet will most likely be wrinkly when it dries. The best way to press it is between two heavy books overnight.

Students will be excited the next day to find that they have made a sheet of paper. The next class period will be spent putting the sheet of created paper to the use for which it was intended, creating their own paper for their scrapbook design or journal entry for their China portfolio. Once the students have completed their paper, have the students write about their experience. One requirement for the journal entry would be to reflect on how the history of paper-making influenced their own ability to make this art project/design for their own paper creation.

Each student or group will be responsible to clean up the work station area for the next group. The whole class will make sure the area around their desks, sink, and work tables will be clean including the floor. The supplies will be put away in the proper containers as well as the storage areas.


As a whole class we will discuss the process of creating paper from scraps and discuss how difficult paper making was thousands of years ago. Reflect on the process of both working together as a group and individually. Talk about new or different ideas in creating a design with the paper. Finally, sharing students feelings and accomplishments with designing their own paper.

The evaluation will be based on teacher observation and listening based on the following:
The student followed the instructions.
The student completed a piece of hand-made paper.
The student used available art materials to decorate the sheet of paper.
The student used art materials and blender carefully and responsibly.
The student cleaned up after him/herself after the project was completed.
The student used the paper for a journal entry or scrapbook design for their China unit portfolio.
The student was able to discuss the making of paper in a historical context in the class.

Arts Edge Website guide.
* Web address: studio
Used the link subject area resources, Instructional Resources Subject Area Index; Went to the visual arts section.

* Web address for The Asian Paper Making Lesson is:
Date last visited October 23, 1999.