Since the pulp paper making process is credited to China during the 2nd century A.D., we thought we’d try our hands at it at the McGaugh Academy during our Adventure Through China unit. With no background in this process at all, I found that I learned along with the kiddos. Of course, our effort needs to dry overnight, so we have no conclusive results (yet) that it works!

Here are our steps:

We gathered our pulp, the fibrous material used to make the slurry. We save all kinds of paper scraps from, and for, crafting purposes, so it felt good to clean out our paper drawer.

Then the kiddos put the pulp into the blender (and it turned out that Eric got a crayon in there—I thought I managed to take them all out, but oops).

Teamwork! I love that Eric is so involved in these lessons now, at seventeen months. That can only serve him well later. I wish I’d started certain activities much earlier with Katie.

Our makeshift deckle… A deckle is a structure on which to form and dry the slurry. I neither had a wooden frame nor a screen and want to see if I can make our unit free, so the innovation here is—wait for it—pantyhose duct taped to a cookie tray. This could either really work…or go down in flames. Either way, we’re having fun and experimenting.

Patting our slurry (the pulp mixed with liquid) onto the deckle… The color of the slurry is quite dark, and I probably should have paid attention to keeping all of our pulp scraps lighter in color. But even if we can’t easily write on it (I may have to break out the black sharpies), and even if all we get is a piece of paper that holds together—I will be happy!

Finally, we made a haul at the library this morning! Yay! Several of these books are on my “wish to buy” list, especially The Seven Chinese Brothers and the Zen Shorts. We have also enjoyed Lon Po Po and Stone Soup in the past. I have a never-ending yen for children’s lit, and it is difficult for me not to want to collect every book we love. The library also yielded several surprises that will augment our unit, plus a handful of books having nothing to do with China at all. After we came home and had lunch and put Eric down, Katie and I had an absolute reading fest! Reading with her is absolutely one of my favorite activities in the world. What a treat!