As the summer sun sets on Cleveland and the children tuck their books away for a brief snippet of time, something unfamiliar may begin to creep into the minds of people.  That sense of apathy, emptiness and frustration may begin to take root when you become sick of the grill and pool parties and the sky opens up on you.  What is this feeling, you ask?  While many are familiar with boredom and embrace it at times, we know that you are a go-getter.  So what can you do when the rain laps at the window and you are stuck inside, itching to put back on your flip-flops and frolic in the sun again?  Why, something with paper, of course!  You can always do something cool with paper.

It is hopefully a well known fact by now that paper is made from trees.  For those of you that lack a mechanical mind and just can’t seem to wrap your head around the fact that something that’s tall, covered with bark and leaves, and that contains sap on its insides can be turned into the dry, flat, and white sheet that we know as paper, we are here to assist you.  The process starts with the fiber inside of wood called, cellulose.  Cellulose is stuck together by a glue-like substance called lignin.  Once this substance is removed and the cellulose separated, the paper making process officially begins.  This occurs when a tree is cut down, generally by a bulldozer and that tree is ground up to create pulp. This pulp contains lignin and cellulose in need of separation which most often occurs via chemical pulping or kraft.  During this process, “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.”  (

We apologize if that feeling came back to you again during the above description, but we believe it is important to know that process behind paper making prior to having so much fun with it.  The most commonly boring things to do with paper according to Wikipedia are:

Again, we know boredom is creeping back in on you as you think of all the mundane ways in which paper is used, so below are some cool things to do with paper along with links to the steps.  Whether you are a teacher, parent, or bored paper enthusiast, check these out to pass the time with one of the world’s best and most renewable resources.