How do you make paper out of trees

How do people make paper out of trees, and why not use something else?

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How do people make paper out of trees, and why not use something else? – Cooper H., age 6, St. Louis, Missouri

Paper is an important part of modern life. People use it in school, at work, to make artwork and books, to wrap presents and much more. Trees are the most common ingredient for paper these days, but people have been taking notes and creating artworks for a very long time using lots of other kinds of surfaces and materials.

Humans painted pictures on cave walls during the Ice Age. The oldest known drawing, found on a small rock in South Africa, was made 73,000 years ago.

Written language came a long time later. The Sumerians, in what is now Iraq, and the Egyptians used pictures in the first written languages more than 5,000 years ago.

These people etched cuneiform and hieroglyph pictures that formed their languages into rock. They also wrote on slabs of wet clay, using a pen or brush made from a reed. Sometimes they baked these slabs hard in ovens to preserve them.

Ancient Egyptian manuscript written and drawn on papyrus, dating to 1275 B.C. British Museum

The Egyptians pioneered the first paper. Papyrus came from a 15-foot-tall (4.5 meter) plant of the same name that grew in marshlands along the Nile River. They cut the stalk into thin strips, pressed them together and dried them into the long rolls you can now see preserved in museums. They wrote in ink, which didn’t smudge or blur on this new paper. Papyrus made it easy to carry their writing with them in rolled up scrolls – much easier than carting around heavy clay tablets and rocks.

Wood tablets covered in beeswax became a popular writing material in Greece, Rome and Egypt. Children used them in school as you might use notebooks today. Heating the wax made it easy to erase the writing and reuse the tablets.

Wax writing tablets from a Greek school ‘notebook’ used around 2,000 years ago. British Library

The Romans took the next step, making books with papyrus pages. Special manuscripts used pages made of treated calf skin.

In China, ancient writing materials included bone, bronze and wood. But then, a little more than 2,000 years ago, the Chinese invented a different kind of paper. Early on, it was made from the hemp plant, washed and soaked in water until it was soft. Then it was beaten into a gooey pulp with a wooden mallet and smoothed into a flat frame to dry.

It took Europeans another 800 years to finally start making paper. They cut up, soaked and treated linen and cotton rags. A half a century later, in 1690, the first rag-paper mill came to the American Colonies.

This human-made forest is planted with gum tree saplings that will eventually be harvested. ChrisVanLennepPhoto/iStock via Getty Images

But as people used more and more paper, rags grew scarce. There were more trees than rags, so trees became the raw material. The first U.S. newspaper that was printed on paper made from ground-up wood was the Jan. 14, 1863, edition of the Boston Weekly Journal.

So how do people make paper out of trees today? Loggers cut trees, load them onto trucks and bring them to mills. Machines slice off the bark, and big wood chippers chop the logs into small bits. Those chips are boiled into a soup that looks like toothpaste. To get out any lumps, it is smashed flat, dried and cut up into sheets of paper.

The entire process, from planting a seedling to buying your school notebook, takes a very long time. Just growing the trees takes 10 to 20 years.

This animation shows how trees are made into paper.

Making tons of paper from trees can harm the planet. Humans cut down 80,000 to 160,000 trees around the world every day, and use many of them to make paper. Some of those trees come from tree farms. But loggers also cut down forests for paper, which means that animals and birds lose their homes.

Cutting forests down also contributes to climate change, and paper factories pollute the air. After you throw paper in the trash, a truck takes it to a dump, where it takes six to nine years to decompose.

That’s why recycling is important. It saves a lot of trees, slows climate change and helps protect endangered animals, birds and all creatures that rely on forests for their homes and food.

Did you know that it takes 24 trees to make one ton of paper, which is about 200,000 sheets? You may use a piece of paper one or two times, but it can be recycled five to seven times. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees. If it’s recycled seven times, it saves 117 trees.

So if paper isn’t good for the environment, why don’t people write on something else? The answer: They do. With computers, tablets and cellphones, people use much less paper than in the past. Maybe a day will come when we won’t use paper at all – or will save it for very special books and artworks.

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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,
  • paper,
  • pulp,
  • tree,
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  • Plants,
  • Wood,
  • Fiber,
  • Glue,
  • Cotton,
  • Flax,
  • Bamboo,
  • 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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Ermolaev E. V. 1


Cherkashina O.A. 1


The author of the work was awarded a diploma of the winner of the 1st degree

Diploma of a school student Certificate of the head

The text of the work is placed without images and formulas.
The full version of the work is available in the "Files of the work" tab in PDF format


It is hard to imagine what modern society might look like if there were no paper. Every year the need for paper increases, and the stocks of wood from which it is obtained decrease.

2017 has been declared the year of ecology in Russia. The use of recycled paper to produce paper is one of the solutions to the issue of deforestation - the lungs of our planet.

We have a lot of paper waste in our home. It was decided to try at home to use this waste to recycle paper.

Purpose of work: making paper at home from recycled materials


  • gather information about the history of paper

  • study the process of making paper in ancient times

  • learn the modern paper-making process

  • learn how to make paper at home

  • show the application of the received paper.

Research methods:

History of paper

Paper has not always existed. I studied the history of paper. The need to exchange information and leave written evidence of one's life has always existed in humans. Ancient people painted on rocks. But drawings made with charcoal or clay were washed away by rain. Then primitive artists began to beat out

silhouettes of animals on the rocks with a sharp stone. 1 This is how petroglyphs appeared. In Karelia, on the shores of Lake Onega, there are rocks with ancient rock carvings - petroglyphs ( fig. 1 ).

With the invention of writing, people began to write on wet clay tablets. Its advantages were cheapness, simplicity, availability (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

Also, wide animal bones were used for writing. In some countries, people have learned to write on palm leaves.

In the future, people wrote on wooden boards coated with wax. This was already a great achievement, since a layer of wax made it possible to erase the old and write a new text on the same tablet. In Russia such boards covered with wax were called tsers ( fig. 3 ).

Fig. 3

Our Slavic ancestors applied their texts to birch bark with sharp sticks. Their ancient letters are called birch bark letters. 2

In southern countries, clay tablets were replaced by papyrus (Fig. 4 ), which was made from reed stalks. They were freed from the outer green layer, and the white core was removed and cut into thin strips with a knife. After that, the resulting strips were kept in fresh water for several days to swell and then rolled with a wooden rolling pin on the board and placed in water for a day, rolled again and put into water again. Next, the strips were laid cross on the cross and placed under the press so that they

Fig. 4

stuck together, dried and smoothed with a stone. Such a dried leaf is called papyrus. It was good writing material, but very fragile. The papyrus sheet could not be folded or folded.

After many years, papyrus replaced parchment

(Figure 5), which was made from processed

in a special way the skins of young animals -

calves, lambs, goats, donkeys. Unlike

papyrus parchment was stronger,

more elastic, more durable, it was easier on him

fig. 5 to write on both sides, and if necessary, the text could be easily washed off and re-applied. But making it was very difficult and expensive. 3

In different parts of the world they were looking for a more convenient

writing material. Chinese chronicles

report that paper was invented in 105g

AD Cai Lun ( pic 6 ).

Suitable for paper making

any vegetable raw materials and waste: fibers

mulberry tree and willow, bamboo shoots, straw,

grass, moss, algae, all kinds of rags.

Fig. 6

They needed to be crushed. Then mix all this with water, put the resulting mass on a mold (wooden frame and bamboo sieve). After drying in the sun, this mass had to be smoothed out with stones. The result is durable sheets of paper suitable for writing. Cai Lun brought papermaking technology to perfection ( Appendix 2 ).

For a long time, the Chinese kept the secret of making paper a secret. The production secret was revealed by chance. Several paper craftsmen were captured by the Arabs in 751 and betrayed their secret under torture. They began to do

paper and later brought the secret to Spain. From there, the art of making paper spread throughout the world.

For centuries, paper has been made by hand. At 1799, an important event in the history of the invention of paper occurred - the Frenchman N.L. Robert invented a continuous machine for making paper. This year is considered the date of the invention of paper machines.

According to Robert's drawings

assembled and installed

first paper-making

car. machine, allowed

make from rags

and cotton long and very

thin sheets of paper

fig. 7 rolls 4 .

After such an invention, paper began to be used not only for writing and printing books, for packaging goods, but also in construction, industry, and agriculture.

The word "paper" came into the Russian language, presumably from Italian (bambagia - cotton). Paper of its own production appeared in Russia during

second half of the 16th century

reign of Ivan the Terrible. Start

mass paper production

Russia was laid by Peter I.

In 1720, Peter I issued a decree on

construction of factories for the production

papers all over the country. 5

Preserved documents of those times with the names of the professions of workers

paper factories. According to them, it can be restored that paper was made in Russia according to the technology invented by Tsai Lun in 105 AD: “after the rags were cut into small pieces and ground into a single mass, the “scooper” scooped up the mass with a form, the “feller” removed a sheet of paper from the scoop mold, the “presser” pressed the half-wet sheets removed, the “brusher” hung out the sheets to dry, the “blower” removed and pressed these sheets to eliminate warping, the “gluer” dipped them in glue, the “presser” squeezed out excess glue, “ hanger "hung glued sheets to dry, "blower" removed them from the ropes after drying. 6

As soon as in the middle of the last century it was possible to isolate a valuable substance - cellulose - from wood, mass production of paper began.

Modern methods of papermaking

Working on this topic, I got acquainted with modern methods of making paper. Over time, many special machines were invented for the production of paper. Multi-saw machines cut logs into logs, bark peelers remove the bark from them, chippers break the logs into chips, which are sent along the conveyor to the boiler, where a liquid mass is boiled from them in a special solution. And in another boiler, sticky pulp is boiled from the same chips. Both substances are mixed in the mixing tank. The resulting mixture passes through a paper machine, and after squeezing, ironing, smoothing, the paper is sent to factories where notebooks are made, to a printing house for printing books, newspapers and magazines. 7

This is how paper is produced in paper mills ( Appendix 3 ).

Paper making at home

After studying the literature, I decided to make paper at home. There are several ways to make paper at home. After studying them, I settled on the following method.

Materials: for work, I used newspaper margin clippings without printing ink. The production of 2-3 sheets of paper requires approximately 3-4 liters of mass. The thinner the paper we want to get in the end, the more water we take at the beginning. For coloring, you can use any paint, starting with gouache.

Tools: you will need a special frame with a mesh to strain the liquid. I used a large sieve and colander. I also used a blender and an iron to speed up the process (but you can do without them).

Process: paper collected for work is torn into small pieces, filled with water and crushed with a blender until a homogeneous mass. You can add dye, a teaspoon of PVA glue (for bonding paper) and a tablespoon of starch (so that the sheet is elastic and can bend).

When the paper pulp is ready, it is applied to the sieve. It takes some time to let the water drain. After that, we blot our “sheet” of paper with a cloth until it is almost dry. Carefully remove from the sieve, slightly dry the sheet with an iron through a cloth. Then let it dry for several hours.

( Appendix 1 ).

For decoration, dry herbs, seasonings, multi-colored threads, flower petals, shells and beads can be added to the paper pulp. From the resulting paper, I made a stand for a vase.

"Handmade" paper is not like machine-made paper: uneven in thickness, usually less smooth, too brittle - such paper is not always suitable for printing. But hand-made paper has undeniable advantages - absolute exclusivity and originality!


As a result of the research, I found out where, when and how paper appeared, and I learned how to make it myself at home.

Paper is one of the unique inventions of man. However, we must remember: to make paper for one book, you need 5 kilograms of wood! And it takes 50-80 years to grow a full-fledged tree! Forests are the lungs of our planet and we must protect them!

Making handmade paper is a very interesting and creative process. It is quite simple and does not require any money. The result is very important: an exclusive paper of your own design!

I hope that my work has benefited nature and was interesting to other guys. Try to get the paper yourself and you'll love it!


  1. Novaya Gazeta, No. 49 (492), 2005

  2. Bogdanov V.V., Popova S.N. Stories of ordinary things. - Ed. "Pedagogy-Press", M., 1992

  3. Antiquity paper. Clay tablets. Papyrus. Parchment. Birch bark.

  4. DIY paper -

  1. The greatest inventions and discoveries: of all times and peoples/Authors of the text T.B. Ivashkova, A.A. Ratina, M.S. Ulyanenkova - Moscow: OGIZ, AST, 2014
  1. The second life of paper -

  2. Living Science -

  3. Science and life, HISTORY OF THE PAPER SHEET

  4. Novgorod birch bark


  6. Russian handmade paper -

Appendix 1.

DIY paper making steps

Appendix 2.

Paper making in China

Appendix 3.

1 Science and life, HISTORY OF THE PAPER SHEET

2 Novgorod birch bark

3 Paper of antiquity. Clay tablets. Papyrus. Parchment. Birch bark.

4 The greatest inventions and discoveries: of all times and peoples / Authors of the text T.B. Ivashkova, A.A. Ratina, M.S. Ulyanenkova - Moscow: OGIZ, AST, 2014

5 Science and life, HISTORY OF THE PAPER SHEET https://www.

6 Russian handmade paper



Job views: 1759

How paper is made: characteristics, raw materials and production

We all use paper on a daily or almost daily basis. However, few people understand how paper is made and ends up in our hands. There are various methods of making paper using some materials. Know how paper is made we need to know some of the consequences of using this material.

In this article, we'll tell you how paper is made and what impact it has on the environment.


  • 1 How to make paper from wood
  • 2 Worldwide paper consumption
  • 3 Main sources
  • 4 How paper is made: step by step

How to make paper from wood

made from trees from all over the world. Depending on what kind of wood you have, you can make furniture or paper out of it. Wood can be used in different ways, depending on its nature and needs. For its production, a large amount of raw materials is needed. Moreover, its production is directly related to the progressive deforestation. . In order to know how paper is made and what processes are used to get the end result, we must make sure we understand the importance of this product, which is so important to our lives, but which we must limit our consumption in order to take care of it. environment.

Although technology is reducing consumption worldwide, paper consumption worldwide is still very high. Morning paper, mail, photocopies, pizza in cartons, paper napkins, reading any magazine, cereal box , etc. Cardboard is also produced under the same manufacturing process, but with different rules. This consumption is increasing every day, although hopefully it should also be said that the consumption of recycled paper is increasing.

Worldwide paper consumption

It must be said that not everyone uses paper in the same way. For example, the average American consumes about 340 kilograms per year, making them the most human-consuming people in the world. This is the verdict of all paper that is produced all over the world. In Spain, we did not stand aside. They cut about 5 million cubic meters of trees for pulp production each year, and about 6 million are consumed. All products are not consumed in Spain, but about 20% are imported.

We know that some companies cut down virgin forests to make disposable paper. They not only reduce the number of forests and virgin forests, but also worsen environmental situations such as climate change. We must understand that climate change depends on many factors and their sum. Deforestation is one of the main reasons for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This is normal, since there are fewer trees than it can retain carbon dioxide during photosynthesis , said carbon dioxide increases its concentration in the atmosphere.

Main sources

This material mainly consists of vegetable and fibrous raw materials. Usually they are joined by a phenomenon consisting in the solid interconnection of the fibers that make it up and the drying up of lakes. It is a hygroscopic material that can easily absorb all water molecules present in the environment 0032 . Depending on the porosity of the paper, it may absorb more or less of the water, ink, or paint it supports. It can be enriched with adhesives, mineral fillers, dyes and various additives, which also give it the characteristics of use.

This material comes mainly from various sources. Let's see what each one is:

  • ARBOLES : There are different types of tree bark, but poplar is the most preferred. Hardwood trees such as oaks and maples are used as the paper we usually use for writing. However, these softwood trees are used for packing paper, cardboard, etc. About 15% of all these trees are planted for this purpose. The rest comes from trees that don't regenerate, and the forests get smaller every time.
  • Remains: This is another way to get paper. Waste such as sawdust can be used to make new cardboard, wrapping paper and disposables.
  • Recycled paper: This is paper that we have already used and discarded. In the United States, half of the paper used is recycled, although not much. The white color of paper is one of the most polluting processes in production.

How paper is made step by step

We are going to find out what the procedure is. The most commonly used processing material is softwood pulp such as spruce or poplar. Depending on the intended use, other garments such as cotton, linen, and hemp may also be used. The production steps are as follows:

  • Fiber preparation: once the trees are cut, the wood is broken into small pieces which are heated in a tank of water and various chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the production of cellulose.
  • Bleaching: Materials such as starch and clay are added to the mixture before heating and drying the pulp. This will give the paper shine and strength. Finally, it can be bleached with bleach or bleach or some kind of chlorine. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used for bleaching, although it does contaminate the product too much.
  • Forming and pressing: After the bleaching process, the paper is put into a large spool so that it can be pressed, and the surface of the paper becomes smooth.
  • Processing and drying : this is the last part to learn how to play the part. It passes through large bays so that it can be cut open and dried completely.

Not only felling and bleaching are polluting processes in paper production, but also the transport of the product to the point of sale. Carbon dioxide limits atmospheric transport and contributes to global warming and climate change.

Learn more