How are trees made into paper

How Do You Make Paper From a Tree?

TECHNOLOGY — Engineering

Have You Ever Wondered...

  • How do you make paper from a tree?
  • Can paper be made from plants other than trees?
  • What is pulp?

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  • cellulose,
  • chemical,
  • kraft,
  • lignin,
  • mechanical,
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  • Wood,
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  • Hemp,
  • Newsprint,
  • Bleach,
  • Chinese

Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Stacy from AL. Stacy Wonders, “How are trees made into paper” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Stacy!

Wood (pun intended!) you believe paper is made from trees? It's true! Let's take a look at how trees are turned into all sorts of paper.

If you look at a tree, you might have a hard time imagining how something so tall and strong could be turned into something as thin and weak as a sheet of paper. The process begins with the raw wood, which is made up of fibers called "cellulose."

The cellulose fibers are stuck together with a natural glue called "lignin." When the lignin is removed and the cellulose fibers are separated and reorganized, paper can be made.

It's also possible to make paper from a variety of other types of plant fibers, such as cotton, flax, bamboo, and hemp. For example, cotton fibers are often used to make the paper that money is printed on. The overwhelming majority (about 95 percent) of the raw material used to make paper, though, comes from trees.

To make paper from trees, the raw wood must first be turned into "pulp." Wood pulp is a watery “soup" of cellulose wood fibers, lignin, water, and the chemicals used during the pulping process.

Wood can be turned to pulp in a couple of different ways. Mechanical pulping involves using machines to grind wood chips into pulp.

The resulting pulp retains most of its lignin, though. The short fibers created by grinding leads to weak paper most suitable for newsprint, phone books, or other types of low-strength papers.

The more commonly used method is chemical pulping, also known as “kraft." Chemicals are used to separate lignin from the cellulose fibers, leaving a pulp mixture that can make stronger papers.

Depending on what type of paper is desired, the pulp mixture might need to be bleached to create whiter paper. Papermakers use a variety of chemicals to bleach pulp to the color they want.

Once the pulp is ready, it is then used to make paper in a process that is quite similar (in the basic actions) to the process first used by the ancient Chinese more than 1,900 years ago. Because the pulp mixture is so watery (sometimes as much as 99 percent water!), the cellulose fibers need to be separated from the watery mixture.

Huge machines spray the pulp mixture onto moving mesh screens to make a layered mat. The mat of pulp then goes through several processes to remove water and dry it out.

Finally, the mat is run through heated rollers to squeeze out any remaining water and compress it into one continuous roll of paper that can be up to 30 feet wide.

When the paper has the desired thickness, it may be colored or coated with special chemicals to give it a special texture, extra strength, or water resistance. As a last step, the paper rolls are cut to size and packaged for shipping to other facilities for additional processing to turn it into all sorts of specialized papers.

Wonder What's Next?

Get out your coat, mittens, and shovels. Tomorrow is a snow day in Wonderopolis!

Try It Out

Are you ready to have some fun with paper? Ask a friend or family member to help you explore the following activities:

  • Try Making Paper from Newspaper Without a Blender! All you'll need are a few simple items, such as newspaper, cornstarch, and a few supplies you probably already have around the kitchen. Once you've made your paper, write a note on it and send it to a friend or family member. What do they think of your homemade gift?
  • Check out Origami for Kids to Make for a wide variety of project ideas you can make with paper. Will you make a boat, a butterfly, a cat, a car, a crown, or a whale? It's up to you! Invite a friend to make paper crafts with you. Have fun!
  • If you're up for a field trip, ask an adult friend or family member to take you to a local office supply store. Look for the paper aisle and check out all the different types of paper they have available for sale. How many different types can you find? How are they different? Can you find any paper made from a different type of plant fiber, such as cotton or hemp?

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Wonder Contributors

We’d like to thank:

Isaac, William, Ava, Victoria and keene
for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

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How Paper is Made from a Tree – Tree Removal

Have you ever opened a book to read and wondered how the paper it is printed on was made? Look around in your room right now and see how many things are made of paper: your textbooks, notebooks, a card you got for your birthday, and even the wallpaper on your walls are all paper products.

We use paper every day for so many things that we don’t even think about a world without it. We get a newspaper delivered that tells us what is going on in the world. Napkins, paper towels, and even toilet paper are essential to our everyday lives. In the classroom, we write on paper to work out math problems or do a book report. We rely on paper throughout our everyday lives.

According to many historians, paper was invented in China around 105 B.C. An official with the Imperial Court during the Han Dynasty used mulberry, fishnets, rags, and hemp waste to create a sheet of paper. Over time, the process evolved to use modern techniques developed in the 19th century in Europe with a machine that produced a continuous roll of paper instead of just individual sheets. This new process ended 2,000 years of making paper from rags. It was also the beginning of production for newsprint. Today’s paper is made mostly from two different products: pulpwood logs and recycled materials from paper.

Choosing the Right Kind of Tree to Make Paper

Different kinds of trees produce a different texture of paper. Soft woods like pine have longer fibers and give paper more strength. Hardwood fibers are shorter but tend to work better in printing and writing papers.

There are companies that go into places called “managed timberlands” to cut down trees to be used to make paper and other wood products. This process is called logging. There are different processes used, depending on the logging company and the wishes of the owner of the property being logged. Some logging is done as a clear cut, which means all trees are cut down in a certain area, clearing that area out. Other logging is done selectively, cutting just certain trees down. This process can be harmful to the trees left behind if it’s not done properly. Remaining trees can be damaged by the equipment or simply by the loss of a tree around it.

The Process of Making Paper

To make paper from trees, the raw wood has to be turned into pulp. This pulp is made up of wood fibers and chemicals that are mixed together. They can either be processed mechanically or chemically. With mechanical pulping, machines grind wood chips into pulp. The fibers are ground down more in this process, so the paper that is made is not as strong. This kind of paper is commonly used for newsprint and phone books.

The second, and more commonly used, method is chemical pulping. Chemical pulping creates stronger paper, since this method eliminates most of the natural glue-like substance in the pulp.

Pulp has a lot of liquid in it that must be removed in order to make the paper. The process is not much different from the process used by the ancient Chinese nearly 2,000 years ago. The pulp is sprayed onto large mesh screens. This creates a mat of pulp that then goes through several processes to have the water removed and is dried out to become paper. The wet paper is lifted from the mesh screen and then squeezed many different times through a series of presses to squeeze the water out. Once the paper has about 50 percent of its water removed, it is heated to dry to between 5 and 8 percent water content. At this point, the paper may go through treatments to create different textures. It is then wound into a reel. These reels of paper are so large that large cranes have to be used to move them.

Paper Made From Other Fibers

Most paper is made from wood pulp; however, there are other materials that can be used to make paper. Paper can be made from cotton, linen, grass, straw, sugar cane, or even from beets. The length of the fibers in the plant will determine the kind of paper that can be made from that particular fiber.

One thing we use every day, which is not made from paper but instead from cotton fibers, is the paper our money is printed on. Paper currency is made from a special blend of cotton and linen fibers. This blend makes it easier for people who work with money every day, like bank tellers, to tell if the money is real or fake. This blend also makes it harder for people to try to illegally print their own money. That process is called counterfeiting.

Making Paper At Home

With the right materials, you can make your own paper. This paper can be used for craft projects for special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Ask your mom or dad to help you gather the materials and create your own sheets of paper. You can even add in flower petals and different colors to create your own paper.

Conserving Our Resources

It can take many years to grow another tree to maturity to make more paper, so it is important that we conserve as much as we can by recycling paper and have engineers develop plans on how to log timberlands as efficiently as possible. Many of the paper products we use today are made with a large percentage of recycled paper.

Paper loses its glue-like substance every time it goes through the paper-making process, so when making paper, new wood pulp must be added in. That pulp can come from newly cut trees or from used paper, which is processed to recapture the pulp.

How to make a tree out of cardboard so that it stands: photo step by step

Learning how to make beautiful trees out of cardboard

When trying to figure out how to make a tree out of cardboard so that it stands up and does not fall, keep in mind that there are several ways to get the job done. But no matter which one you choose, the design will still turn out beautiful. And with proper decoration, it will generally resemble a real tree.

Features of cardboard as a material for crafts

Cardboard is the most popular material for making a three-dimensional large tree. It has several important advantages:

• Moderate airiness. The corrugated layer in a cardboard provides ease in work. It is convenient to cut such cardboard even with scissors. Not to mention the stationery knife. Therefore, even children of middle or high school will cope with the work.

• Plasticity of cardboard. Thanks to the same airiness, you can give the tree crown any shape. Branches are allowed to bend in any direction.

•Material availability. Compared to foam, cardboard can be found much faster and cheaper.

•Environment friendly. Again, comparing cardboard with foam, the former wins across the board. It is a breathable material that does not harm the environment.

Interesting! We make beautiful flowers from colored paper ourselves

The only drawback of a hand-made cardboard tree is its instability to moisture. But the problem is easily solved with the help of colored tape. It is enough to tightly paste over the tree trunk and crown with adhesive tape of the appropriate shades, and now your design can withstand any bad weather.

How to make a big cardboard tree: option 1

This is the easiest way to make a big tree. For work you need to prepare:

• Sheets of corrugated cardboard. Their height is equal to the height of the finished tree. Therefore, if you need a tall design, look for cardboard in overall dimensions. It is desirable that it be not bent.

•Pencil or marker.

• Utility knife or scissors.

•Template of tree crown and trunk. It can be redrawn from the Internet. Fortunately, excessive artistic abilities are not required here. The main thing is to respect the dimensions.

Expert tip: If you are going to use a utility knife to cut wood, place something hard underneath the cardboard first. Otherwise, you risk damaging the carpet, soft flooring.

So, a three-dimensional tree is made step by step in the following way:

•First, draw a tree on a sheet of cardboard. It is important that its trunk expand downwards. These will be the fulcrum of the future design. The crown can be drawn arbitrarily. Whether it will be just a rounded shape, or whether it will be a branched crown - it does not matter. It is important that you like your tree.

•Now on the second sheet of cardboard draw the bottom of your tree trunk. About a third. It must match the parameters of the first trunk.

• Cut out both parts of the tree.

• In the full version, the trunk is cut from below to the height of the auxiliary trunk in the middle.

•It remains to insert the small structure into the large incision. Thus, we get a large cardboard tree. If you want to make the top voluminous as well, then you can also make a cut from above and insert a small crown into it.

To make the tree look like a real tree, use green and brown paint. Or choose shades for the seasons - autumn, winter, spring.

Cardboard tree: option 2

Let's look at another method that explains how to make a cardboard tree step by step so that it stands. Here prepare the same materials for work. The principle is almost the same. The only difference is the way of joining the parts of the tree for its stability. So, we do the work sequentially:

• Draw a tree pattern on two sheets of cardboard. Both options must be identical. To achieve the same proportions, first draw a tree on one sheet, then cut it out and apply it to another sheet. Here we circle it and also cut it out along the contour.

• Please note that it is important that the cardboard remains rigid and does not wrinkle. This will ensure the stability of the structure.

•Now we make markings along one template from below and almost to the very top of the crown. But at the top we leave about 20 cm intact.

• In turn, on top of the crown of the second template, we make a marking strip 20 cm down.

• Cut the templates in the marked places.

• It remains to insert two templates into each other at right angles. And we get a stable structure.

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Large tree: option 3

In this case, we will do the work in a slightly different way. The materials used are the same. The step-by-step sequence of actions is as follows:

• Draw three identical tree templates on sheets of cardboard.

•Carefully cut them out with scissors or a utility knife. And immediately cut in half lengthwise.

• On the trunks and crowns of the templates, at equal distances, we make notches 5–6 cm deep. They should be identical on each part of the tree.

•Now 3-4 circles with a diameter of 15 cm should be cut out of the leftover cardboard.

•Finally, we assemble all the parts of the structure. That is, we insert cardboard circles into the notches of the templates. As if stringing parts of a tree on them. As shown in the photo below.

The result is a beautiful, voluminous and stable tree.

Bonus: small tree

If you need a small craft, you can make a small cardboard tree. To make it you will need:

• Paper towel tube. Its height will just form a good stable trunk.

• A piece of corrugated or any other heavy cardboard.


• Scissors.

• Paints or colored paper with PVA glue.

Work as follows:

•Cut the cardboard tube on one side into strips 5–6 cm long. The width of the strips must be the same.

• Bend them outward so that the tube is stable on the table.

•Now draw a beautiful crown on a sheet of cardboard. It can be rounded, or branched.

• Cut it out with scissors along the contour.

• It remains to make two shallow incisions on opposite sides of the cylinder in the upper part of the tube and insert our crown into them.

We get the following tree:

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If desired, the trunk can be pasted over with brown colored paper or painted with paint. The same can be done with the crown of a tree, choosing a color appropriate for the season.

Decorating the tree

Depending on the theme for which we are decorating, the tree can be decorated in different ways. For example:

• Easter eggs or ribbons;

• Christmas toys and tinsel;

• stick green or yellow leaves on the crown;

• or even make a family tree by hanging photos of family members on it.

Now you can make your own big and small cardboard tree, make it stand, and please your loved ones with a beautiful decoration.

How to make a paper tree with your own hands

An interesting interior decoration and a good idea for those who do not have indoor plants

There is an opinion that every man should raise a son, build a house and plant a tree. The fair sex can also create and plant their own tree, which will not only decorate the interior, but also bring good luck, wealth and happiness to the house.

The simplest materials can be used to make a stylish designer piece that will be a wonderful birthday present or simply a sign of special favor. Creating a topiary is not just a fascinating creative process, but also a real art with a long history. We offer you to learn more about how to make a tree out of paper with your own hands.


  • 1 General recommendations
  • 2 Topiary workshops
  • 3 Lesson for beginners: tree of flowers
  • 4 Romantic rose tree

General recommendations

able to attract love, good luck to the house, keep the fire in the family hearth. As a rule, such an ornament looks like a flowering tree, and even a child can do it. The art of creating topiary originated in antiquity. For the first time, bizarre shapes began to be given to trees in ancient Egypt and Greece. One of the indisputable proofs of the venerable age of unusual art is the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon - one of the wonders of the world. The Feng Shui teaching says that the right form for such a talisman, as well as its location in the room, helps in the fulfillment of cherished desires, fills the home with positive Qi energy.

Creating an original decorative ornament with your own hands has a lot of advantages over purchased items. The trees of happiness, as they are called, carry a powerful energy charge and keep the warmth of the master's hands. With the help of a topiary in the most ordinary room, you can create a spectacular author's design. An exclusive tree with your own hands can be created from the simplest materials; paper decorations are especially popular.

Beginner Topiary

A few tips to help you get started:

  • Base. As a basis for decoration, you can take a ready-made foam ball, or you can dream up. Many craftswomen use a round skein of thread, a New Year's toy, or make papier-mâché bases.
  • Tree trunk. In stores for creativity there are ready-made kits for making topiary. If such a purchase is not affordable, you can solve the issue creatively. The trunk of the future masterpiece can be made from several straws for cocktails, an old knitting needle, sushi sticks or strong wire.
  • Stand. The tree can bloom beautifully in a painted flower pot, cup or any other container. A great idea is to beautifully decorate simple glass jars by knitting a cozy case for them or simply painting them in bright colors.
  • Decor. To decorate a flowering tree, you can use colored tissue paper and even the colorful pages of fashion magazines. It can be not only flowers, but also butterflies, and patches of tulle, organza or chiffon will help to fill the picture with tenderness, create the effect of sophisticated airiness. Everything that fantasy tells you will help in the exclusive design of an unusual topiary.
  • Filler. In order for the tree to remain stable in a pot, it is necessary to additionally strengthen it with filler. It can be a plaster cast, multi-colored balls for an aquarium.

Trees of happiness

Topiary is a good idea for anyone who dreams of starting their own home business. With the help of spectacular trees, a festive table is often decorated at weddings, anniversaries or corporate celebrations.

Following the simplest recommendations, you can create a stylish and festive accessory as a gift for loved ones.

Topiary making workshops

As you know, an exclusive handmade gift is of more value than a mass-produced item. It contains the author's idea, creativity and original decoration of a stylish accessory.

They take care of the topiary with a hair dryer, blowing off the dust with a gentle jet of warm (not hot) air

Imagining, experimenting with the selection of materials, you can decorate the interior on a budget, but stylishly.

Here are some simple, but at the same time, unusual ideas that will help you "plant" a blooming paper garden right at home.

Topiary DIY Part 1

Topiary DIY Part 2

Topariums DIY Part 3 9000 9000

Lessions for beginners: Flowers

such master class according to the Forces even a child. Gather the whole family in the evening and plunge into the exciting process of creating a decorative tree. To work on your masterpiece, you can use the most unexpected items: an empty yogurt cup, colored double-sided paper, toothpicks, a plastic ball from a basket of children's toys, as well as glue, a pencil and scissors.

A beautiful original composition made by hand in a single copy will please anyone

The algorithm is as follows:

  • First, let's prepare the basis for decorating. We glue the plastic ball with pieces of newspaper, dipping each into a jar of PVA glue. The result was a ball of perfectly round shape with a newspaper surface.
  • Selecting a location for the hole. To quickly make a hole in a plastic base, heat a metal screwdriver on fire, and quickly pierce the surface, turning the tool and giving the hole the desired diameter.
  • Prepare the tree stand. Take an empty glass of yogurt, cut off everything superfluous with a sharp knife to make a pot. Glue the base with bright corrugated paper and leave to dry.
  • Let's start making bright paper flowers. To do this, we cut the sheets into equal strips, the length of each is 30 centimeters.

To make the simplest flowers out of paper, you can take paper in two consonant shades, for example, yellow and orange. So the bouquet will take on a more voluminous look.

  • We fold the ribbons one by one, alternating colors, fasten with a clerical clothespin. We make equal cuts on one side to get a fringe. Carefully adjust the length of the cuts so as not to cut the tape.
  • When about 50 ribbons are ready, we start making flowers. We fold each ribbon like a roll, alternating colors.
  • Let's start decorating the round base. On the ball we glue the flowers tightly to each other, moving strictly in a circle. When the flower ball is ready, let it dry.
  • We string the ball on a tree trunk. You can use a pencil. We fix it with glue.
  • Pour gypsum diluted in water into a pot, insert a tree and wait for the substance to dry.
  • To hide the plaster "ugliness", roll up a few strips of green paper into a tube. It turns out a beautiful and bright tree on a juicy green meadow.

Master class on creating a tree from flowers

As a finishing touch, you can “seat” a shiny foil butterfly on a paper crown or decorate the trunk with a bright ribbon.

Romantic rose tree

Artfully handmade ever-blooming rose tree - what could be more romantic? Topiary with a crown of roses will be a romantic gift for a loved one, a confession of deep and sincere feelings. To create an unusual tender gift, you will need several sheets of colored corrugated paper, a steel knitting needle or a sushi stick, a tree trunk, a spherical base and a pot stand.

Rose trees

Doing the work step by step:

  • Prepare decorative ornaments in the form of delicate rose flowers. To do this, cut out strips from corrugated paper. The size of the flower depends on the width of the paper strip.
  • Separately for the leaves, cut a few squares of green paper.
  • Starting to fold the roses. We bend the corner of the ribbon and begin to wind the paper onto the knitting needle. To prevent the flower from falling apart, you can add a drop of glue to its middle.

If you don't have crepe paper on hand, you can use colored tissue paper. By changing the angle of the bend, you can give the flower one shape or another.