How to Make Paper Out of Leaves

1. Find leaves. I went for a walk in the woods and chose a variety of leaves of all shapes, sizes, and thicknesses from trees and plants that looked healthy.

Photo © Julia Snyder, 2019.

2. Wash leaves. I didn’t want dirt in my paper, so I rinsed the leaves off with warm water.

3. Tear leaves apart, mash up, and mix with water. This was supposed to be the part where the paper base started to come together. Instead, I ended up with a conglomeration of leave bits that did not look like they were going to stick together by themselves.

Photo © Julia Snyder, 2019.

4. Decide to add liquid glue. You know, to hold it all together.

5. Decide to use a paper towel as backing. So that now we have paper towel leaf paper. Can you tell I did not plan this well?

6. Spread into a thin layer and let dry. For several days. You will be able to smell the leaves, but it won’t be unpleasant unless you hate nature. Eventually the smell will go away.

Photo © Julia Snyder, 2019.

7. Use clear packing tape to keep the leaves from falling off the paper towel. Apparently glue was not enough, as I found out when I went to cut the paper to size and glue it to my bookwork.

Photo © Julia Snyder, 2019.

3 thoughts on “How to Make Paper Out of Leaves”

  1. OMG I am laughing!! This whole experiment was staged for comic and metaphoric value, and that performance, I am convinced, is one important dimension of your book. In Spanish, hoja (“leaf,” as on a plant/tree) is the same word as “page” (hoja). In English, we say “a leaf of paper.” I think it’s interesting to “break down” (so to speak) the book-as-paper – really, fundamentally: the book is paper (/papyrus)! And the paper is leaves and the leaves are alive! And the living leaves of paper all get shredded up and re-used, re-combined – in a sort of messy mixture – a pulp of page and glue. Books as paper, as compost, of leaves. Next time, it would be helpful to throw more paper, newsprint?, into the mix. But here, it’s a very living and lovely metaphorical mess! Wish I could smell it – I love nature 🙂


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