Paper Facts

Some interesting paper facts that may help you with your craft ideas. Discover who invented paper and how to make your own using a similar process that is over 2,000 years old.

Paper is such a common commodity that we hardly ever think about it. Can you imagine a world where paper had not been invented.

With huge advances in technology and electronic communications you might think that paper manufacturing was a dying craft. Paper production is still big business though and paper products are still a huge part of everyday life.

You may receive and pay your bills online, use plastic cards to pay for your shopping or read the latest best seller on your kindle.  Your kindle though is posted in a cardboard box and you will probably need to print out at least some of your bills, when you pay for your shopping on your card you are still given a receipt printed on paper.

A Paperless Society?

I don't think we will ever become a totally paperless society, paper in all it's forms has so many practical uses that it will always be a part of our lives.

We will always need packaging materials and paper is so much easier to recycle than plastic.

As most paper is made from wood or other natural fibres it breaks down easily and does not cause damage to the environment unlike plastic.

I personally love the feel of books and can spend ages going through old and new book shops. I recycle old paper to make papier mache models and I use paper in many of my other craft ideas as well.

Quick Links to More Paper Facts

If you know what you are looking for use the links below to jump to the page for more information.
If you continue reading this paper facts page you will find a short introduction to each topic and links to read more.

The history of paper

The paper making process we use today is very similar to the one invented in China over 2,000 years ago.

Before paper in it's current form was invented we wrote on a stone or wood block called a stele. The most famous of these is probably the Rosetta stone.

We also used clay blocks called tablets, they were written on whilst the clay was wet and left in the sun to dry. These tablets were very fragile and few have survived. 

Paper as we know it was first made from papyrus and was a far better writing material than stone.

Edited Photo of a Papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus) at Kew Gardens, London, England. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in June 2005 and released to the public domain.

Papyrus could not be folded though so it is was rolled into scrolls. Papyrus was great in dry hot countries but did not last long in high humidity.

We also used animal skins called parchment that was more enduring and much easier to write on. These paper facts show how the creative process of communication through writing on any material evolved through time.
Click on the link to find out more about the history of paper.

How is Paper Made?

Paper can be made from animal skins or plant fibers. Rags and used paper can be broken down and recycled to make new paper.

The industrial paper making process has changed little in the 2,000 years since it was invented.
The basic process is still the same now as it was then.

By Rodw (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Due to the advances in industry we now make most of our paper from wood pulp rather than other plants.

Most of our paper that we use today is made from wood pulp. Find out more about how paper is made by clicking the link.

Types of paper

There are lots of different types of paper although they are all made using the same process.

In this article I have explained the basic differences between the different types of paper you are likely to use in your craft ideas.

I have also covered the some of the different terms used by paper manufacturers as some of these can be confusing.

Discover lots of interesting paper facts about the different terms used in measuring paper. For more information about the different types of paper available click on the link.

How to Make Paper

If you would like to have a go at making your own paper then I have a created a tutorial for you.

The process is very similar to that invented 2,000 years ago but on a much smaller scale.

You can quite easily make your own paper in your kitchen. It's a great way to recycle scraps of paper or junk mail.


A Deckle for Paper Making

Most of the equipment you will already have, the deckle makes the process a lot easier but is not necessary if you are just making a few sheets.

I have included tips on how to make your own deckle from an old picture frame.
The link will take you to the how to make paper tutorial.

Paper Craft Ideas

I have a lot of tutorials for you to try using paper crafts or card craft ideas.

From paper flowers to origami boxes made from a sheet of paper.

You will find craft ideas on how to make your own gift tags and boxes.

All my tutorials have lots of photo's and diagrams as well as step by step instructions.

See all my paper craft tutorials by clicking on the link.

What would you like to do now?

Return to top of paper facts where you can choose one of Mia’s craft ideas from the navigation bar on the left.

Visit Mia’s Craft Ideas home page to find out more about our website and Mia’s free craft ideas.

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