How to Make Enchanted Handcrafted Paper Using Recycled Paper and Herbal Inclusions
by Silver RavenWolf
“I have the magick mind of unlimited creativity – it can never be depleted” – affirmation.
Looking for an enjoyable, crafty activity? Need a project to do with the family or coven mates that is unique and artsy? Want something to occupy your time that is helpful to Earth Mother? Why not rev up your magickal might and have loads of fun making handcrafted paper from recycle materials!
I realized the other day that whenever I start any project – writing, artwork, spellcasting, etc., I always state my intent before I begin. Then, work to complete that goal. I roll the initial thought around in my mind, let it expand and contract, add ideas, and remove them before making my final intent thoughtform. For example, when I decided to try my hand at papermaking, it was because my initial purpose … that wraith-like thought energy…rose in my mind because I wanted a spell paper specifically attuned to protection energy for a family member. I wanted to add a special petition to the working that harmonized with my intent. There were some pretty nasty vibrations floating around, and I wanted to do my best to help protect my loved one. From my shade… to the idea… to the stated intent, the magick began. I launched into the process of brain-cramming on how to make the paper, collected what I needed to get the job done, and ruminated on how I could turn my finished product into a magickal component. My first thought was to write on the paper, but then, as I dove further into the learning process, I realized I could add an assortment of natural elements to boost my intent. I was SO in!
And then, I asked my Spirits to “help me along here” with a willingness to keep an open mind during the entire creative process. Which is how I realized I can construct fun shapes with the paper pulp that can be used safely and secretly in spellcasting when needed. You’ll find that information near the end of this article.
But, first, we’re going to make our spell paper using enchantment as our basic structure! Let’s start with your mindset and what you need, including timing, and supplies to turn that trash paper into recycled wonders of magickal art!
Consider this question: Why are you making your paper? Just for fun? Be sure to add “joy” to your thought process! As a project with the kids? Whisper “Love” into your paper! A group activity (coven mates). Don’t forget that “blending” energy for peace within and around each group member. Or is it something personally serious? Healing. Financial Work. Career Success. Creative motivation? Is your paper making activity an addition to a more extensive working? Representing a specific portion of a bigger project? Or do you want to use it for a particular type of affirmation or written petition?
I like to link my timing and intent together as much as possible. In my protection project, the window of opportunity coincided with the Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon in Scorpio. I was rockin’ n’ rollin’ – whoot! I’m not always that lucky to have astrological goodies present to infuse in a working. Still, it sure is marvelous when it does happen! My personal rule is to ask myself the following questions concerning timing: How pressing is the need? When do I think I have the time to do this? What upcoming astrological energies can I embrace to enhance this working?
Is it possible for me to juggle my schedule to catch some of that astro good stuff? Suppose I don’t have a big enough schedule window. Can I at least gather some supplies or do a small portion of the activity when I feel the energies are oh-so-right for this operation? I have learned that quietly meditating on what, when, where, and how imbues the work with significant positive energy as long as I don’t “worry it.” I often look out into space and envision a calm, glittering, peaceful body of water. I know that underneath this image, all is coming to order. I can feel the gentle currents. I may not be able to see the pattern coalescing, but I know it is there. I am letting the Universe handle the hard work.
Adding the heavenly energy planning (astrological timing) into your working requires either an almanac, planetary guide, astrological date book, or an app (on your phone).
Or Google it.
Several kits are available online to make your first papermaking process super easy. These kits include the bare minimum – mold and deckle set and instructions. The Wooden Deckle Paper Making Kit (available on Amazon) gives you a sponge, reusable couching sheets, and interesting inclusions such as glitter, string pieces, and a few herbals. I had such success with my protection paper that our coven decided to have a papermaking day! We used the Wooden Deckle Paper Making Kit and the Arnold Grummer’s kit. The Wooden Deckle Paper Making Kit set was easier to handle due to the smaller size and wooden construction. Their instructions are friendly, clear, and concise – a big plus for first-timers! If you don’t want to spring for a kit, you can search the internet on how to make your own deckle and mold with a bit of wood and a piece of screen. There are also several screens and kits available on Amazon from $12.99 and up. But, what else do you need? And, where are you going to make this paper, anyway?
When I made the protection paper, I used the kitchen for the proximity to a water source. I discovered that it was a frightfully sloppy process because of the amount of water needed and my limited counter space. I’m messy to begin with, so just envision it! When we worked together as a group, we set everything outside. We took advantage of the picnic table and the garden hose for filling the vat (dish pan) and clean-up. Much easier! Besides, it was super magickal in the wooded surroundings!
Once you get into the swing of a project, you learn what supplies can make the process much easier. My final papermaking general supply collection included: Two hand towels, clothespins, extra couching paper, two heavy plastic cutting boards (these sturdy moveable surfaces were helpful), a sponge, blender, a wooden rolling pin (I eventually burned runes into mine), clear glass measuring cup (two-cup size), two clear bowls (one to soak paper bits before pulping and one for excess “whatever”) and a large plastic dish pan. We discovered the plastic sweater box wasn’t big enough for the 9x12 screen. We used the couching sheets (thick, re-useable absorbant paper made specifically for papermaking), but you can also use thick smooth cloth. We tried to avoid using paper towels because it rather defeats the purpose of recycling paper, lol.
Some papermakers find non-stick baking spray helpful (but not necessary) to lightly coat the screen. In my mind though, when it comes to magick, do you want that spray on your project? I confess I’m just too Virgo. I found a small sieve helpful on occasion. I have also used molds, cookie cutters, and a butter knife to shape thick paper amulets/talismans and spell packets – the technique explained further in this article. These last few items aren’t necessary if you only pull paper sheets. Finally, I use old cardboard and rubber bands to store dried finished paper. I mark the date, moon phase, any astro goodies that were present, and the ingredients I used on the cardboard.
Basic paper making embraces the elements, involving earth (the paper), water, air (the drying period), and Spirit (which includes you, the divine you connect to, the trees or natural objects the paper came from, the water, your supplies, etc.). If you use your paper in petition magick, fire comes into play as the end cycle. A perfect energy progression of beginning and completion. I like to whisper prayers and affirmations as I gather my supplies, blessing each object that I will use this day. From the dish bin to the blender, I give thanks that these things are in my life. I express gratitude to Spirit that I can use them for another person’s good. If time permits, I cleanse all items with holy water, incense, or smoke from burning herbs. This activity leaves me feeling lighter and more focused.
From the water in which you initially soak your recycled bits of paper to the water you add in the blender, to the water in the vat (dish tub) – all can be blessed, consecrated, and filled with specific intent. You can also add salt, crushed herbs, glitter, mica powders, and paints (watercolor or acrylic) at various stages to the water
What Paper To Use
Recycled paper is the main ingredient used in this article. However, there are other items you can be included in the process. Check out the links at the end of this article for more information. When choosing your paper to recycle, try to avoid the following:
1. No newsprint unless it somehow applies to the intent (news is often horrid), and then only a minute amount. Some papermakers use bits of newsprint for artful purposes, in collages, etc. Unfortunately, the lignin content in the wood pulp eventually makes the newspaper turn yellow and brittle. You might want to use it for compost instead. Today’s newsprint is 100% non-toxic.
2. Nothing glossy.
3. No bills or negative communications of any kind UNLESS you are using the paper to transmute a problem and are fully aware of how that paper will be used in magick. Don’t hand it to Aunt Agnes for her birthday (unless the issue has something to do with her, lol). You can also turn this type of paper to pulp and bury it, with the blender being your magickal shredder of the problem.
4. Paper with lots of ink (tends to get muddy)
5. Construction paper (colors unfortunately fade)
Supplies/Inclusions of the Magickal Type
When making paper for a specific person, use their full name if possible. A name is an energy address. Add the birthdate if you have it and anything else that applies to the working on at least one piece of paper that will go into the mix. If you don’t have a full name; but have their phone number, social media name, or nickname – that’s okay. Take a little extra time to make the connection in your visualization. You can also use a paper copy of their photo from your computer printer. If you are making several pieces of protection paper (for example) and want just one piece for a specific person, create a separate blender mixture of their photo and water. Set the solution aside in a bowl or cup. Add this mixture to the slurry (mixture of pulp and vat water) of the last piece of paper you pull. Be sure to mark this piece somehow so that you know it belongs to a specific person.
You can add words of power on scraps of paper – Love, Protection, Success, Happiness, Joy – as they apply. Try using Runes, Astrological Sigils, personal logos, magickal symbols, hex signs, the tree of life, and even printer copies of tarot cards. For example, suppose you are working on a business venture. In that case, you could add a copy of The Sun, The Star, The Empress, The Magician, and the pentacle cards that match your desire. Inserting magickal words and symbols is especially useful when making the enchanted paper shapes discussed later in this article.
Consider writing specific statements of intent. Some examples: “With the help of (name particularly deity).” “With assistance from my/her/his/their ancestors.” “I awaken all energies that will be helpful in this endeavor/matter/issue.” Clothe each word in light before you drop your paper bits into the water bowl.
You can add a plethora of magickal sweeteners to your paper! Most can be tossed in the blender water. Some swirled into the vat. A few can be added after you pull the paper. Experiment! Here is a short list of what I have used:
Dried herbals – I often add about ¼ cup of dried herbs and flowers at the end of the blending process, giving a burst or two to mix them through the pulp
Bits of fast-soaked glitter tissue paper (just wet it and stick it on the pulled paper)
Red Thread – the person’s measure
Magickal Powders – can be added to water in a blender or brushed on the finished wet paper. Be aware this technique can look like dark smudges (just so ya know).
Sugar or Honey – add to blender water, just a bit, to bring good fortune into the home or situation.
Vinegar – add to blender water, just a bit, for banishing negativity, ghosts, and haints – good for sleep petitions and house protection.
Liquid Fluid Condenser (just a bit to give the working more power) – add to blender water, seven drops. You can find the formulas for condensers in my book Witching Hour.
If you have time, you can set your intent and take a Spirit Walk to collect flowers, herbs, and plants from nature. Dry them on your altar, and then include them in your papermaking activities.
Magickal Processing Steps
1. Basic paper making is super easy. First, tear the old paper into pieces – 2 inches works fine; others like to make their shreds smaller. You can also use a paper shredder.
2. Soak the paper in a bowl of blessed water for five minutes. I immerse mine for 15 minutes because I am usually busy doing other things.
3. Put two cups of wet paper into your blender. Add water until the blender is full. I blend the water and paper for one minute, usually chanting my intent using the sound as a background. Let the pulp rest. Add your chunky stuff. By this, I mean the things you don’t want wholly obliterated by the blades. I included whole dried marigolds, slices of hot pepper, gold glitter, and dried chamomile for my success spell paper project. Use the pulse setting a few bursts just to swirl these inclusions in the water.
4. Here, the process can differ depending on what instructions you are following. Some folks pour the whole blender full into the vat (dish tub), adding additional water until the vat fills halfway. Others have the water already in the vat before adding the blender contents. And then, here is me, who puts the mold with the screen side facing up, and the deckle on top into the water, ensuring they are aligned. Science keeps them together while I pour enough pulp from the blender directly onto the screen, filling it out to the edges. My technique makes a thicker paper, which I adore. It is also less messy (if that is even an option).
5. While the mold and deckle are still floating, I move this sandwich around a bit to get some vat water to disperse the pulp evenly. During this process, I again chant my intent or a favorite Braucherei charm as it fits the circumstance. Additional herbals can be added in this stage as well as other inclusions. Use a stick or your fingers to move items around for a more pleasing product.
6. When you lift the deckle and mold out of the water, you have just pulled your first sheet of enchanted paper!
Whoot! I blow on the paper three times and then seal it with an equal-armed cross.
7. While your sandwich is still together, tilt the mold/deckle carefully, allowing excess water to run back into the vat.
8. On my table, I have a towel. On top of the towel is the plastic cutting board. On top of the cutting board is a sheet of couching paper. Couching paper is highly absorbent and re-useable. Its purpose is to suck up excess water and provide a flat surface on which to lay your project. Once the water has drained from the mold/deckle sandwich, remove the deckle (the piece that looks like a window frame). Next, place one edge of the screen piece (which still holds the paper) on the couching paper and slowly lay the screen side directly on the couching sheet. Your paper should be underneath the screen. The picture below shows my set-up of towel, cutting board, couching sheet, and screen. The freshly pulled paper is under the screen.
9. Press down on the screen with the sponge, removing as much water as possible. Sponge the water and squeeze the excess onto the ground if you are working outside. If you are inside, you don’t want to put this water down the drain because it may contain paper bits, which could clog your plumbing. Keep sucking up that excess water until your sponge wrings dry.
10. Tap the mold three times, then slowly lift it from the paper. Rock it back and forth gently. If the paper wants to stick to the screen, use the sponge to soak up more water, then try again. Once your screen is removed, your paper is on the couching sheet. The picture below shows the paper after sponging with the deckle removed before the screen is flipped onto the couching sheet. Looks like oatmeal, right?
Once you have flipped the screen on the couching sheet and removed the screen, you can use your rolling pin to smooth some of the marks out of the paper or gently press flower petals or bits of tissue onto the wet surface. If you roll your paper too thin, you may be unable to remove it from the couching sheet later on.
11. I go one step further, immediately flipping the paper onto a dry couching sheet, and slowly pull the original wet couching sheet off the project. This can be tricky, but I’ve found the paper dries faster. It also presents the smooth side up, where you might like to add florals, bits of wet tissue, or gold leaf. The picture below shows a wet sheet with Smooth Sailing Magickal Powder brushed gently across the surface.
Each new piece will be on a couching sheet as you continue to make paper. Some papermakers can get two pieces of paper on one couching sheet. Unfortunately, I’m not that dexterous. As you work, you can stack the couching sheets one on top of the other. This stack is called a “post.”
When you have pulled all your paper, bless your finished product stack. Put an extra couching sheet on top and the bottom of the post.
Sandwich the stack with the two plastic cutting boards, then place a stack of heavy books on top. It can take 1 to 2 weeks to dry, depending on environmental conditions and the thickness of your paper. If you are in a hurry, after a day or two, you can hang your finished sheets of paper with clothespins on a line of some sort. I use bull clips and hang them from my pots and pans rack. The paper will curl, but that’s okay. Once the sheets are completely dry, use a steam iron to flatten them out. I iron them and then place them under heavy books for an hour or so. I use rubber bands and old pieces of cardboard to store my finished paper.
When your pulling process is completed, dump all dirty water outside. You will also want to rinse all your tools outdoors. This is where I usually give thanks to the Universe for a productive hour. Yup, that’s about as long as it takes from set-up to tear down if you make four cups of soaked recycled paper into magickal sheets. Four cups produce about ten sheets of paper because I like my paper nice and thick. Of course, you can make more if you use less pulp on your screen. The thicker paper also retains more of an herb’s aroma, which I love. The anise hyssop inclusion in the protection paper recipe at the end of this article smells heavenly!
Paper Shapes for Magick
As I pulled the paper for protection, I realized that I could form shapes that I could safely return to nature as part of a magickal working. Rather than pouring the pulp on the deckle and mold sandwich, I strained the mixture with a wire mesh sieve, gently pushing out as much water as possible with my fingers. I did this outdoors, embracing the sunlight, the fragrant woods, and the sound of birdsong in my work. As I removed the water, I used favored Braucherei chants.
I decided to try cookie cutters, jewelry molds, and a new soap mold to see how this would work in the construction process. The day was warm – 93 degrees and somewhat humid. My intent was to make paper shapes for good fortune, business success, and general prosperity. I added chamomile bits, and ground ginger, then threw in hot pepper slivers and marigolds from last year’s garden harvest. I never add sick plants to any magickal working – if it looks “bleck” I give it back to the earth. My garden was a roaring success last year, so everything I stored remains prime.
Because I wanted to return these shapes to nature as part of the spell process, I didn’t use glitter, magickal synthetic oils, or other non-natural inclusions. When the rain kisses the work, it will begin to unfold safely for all. If you are worried that your shapes may not release easily from a metal mold, brush the inside with a bit of olive oil (not used cooking oil). In gardening, I was taught that adding a trace of olive oil to the soil is helpful to plants and protects them from pests. It also provides some essential vitamins, including Vitamin E, which some gardeners believe increases the plant’s survival possibility in colder weather. You could make shapes specifically for plant offerings, including beneficial ingredients in your pulp that will nourish your garden. Paper is considered an effective mulching material.
Squeeze as much water out of the pulp as possible. It should be the consistency of thick dough.
Molding was the easy part. Pack the wet pulp into your molds. Suck up excess water with couching sheets or soft cloth. Squeeze really good! Excess water will make the piece take too long to dry and it may crumble if you left too much water. Pack those molds tight!
Drying? A little more complicated! I left the paper in the molds overnight. By morning the small jewelry shapes could be carefully removed and placed in the sun for the final drying. They retained their color. The thicker pieces, I realized, would probably grow mold in the humid environment before they could completely dry. I placed one metal cookie cutter shape in the oven at 170 degrees and the other in the food dehydrator at 150 degrees. Both took several hours to dry, and both somewhat discolored.
If you are having trouble de-molding, use a thin, sharp blade around the inside edges of the piece, and push slowly and equally on the paper. Remember, we’re not going for the perfection of the shape – we are concentrating on the unfoldment of that shape in the spell casting process. If your star-point breaks off or is slightly damaged, so be it. It could be a message from Spirit that you have overlooked an essential element of your intent. For example, maybe you forgot to pay your internet bill, so when you launch your new business…ooopsie. Slight damage – easily fixed issue. If your piece totally crumbles – now you have a problem. Spirit is relaying the message (in my opinion) that your intent was not clear and may not be in agreement with your life path. Step back. Re-evaluate. Consider an amended intent. If it happens again? Leave it. The time is not right.
How I Used my Paper Shapes
The pendant-sized shapes were perfect for conjure/gris-gris/sachets projects that I would eventually dispose of after the desire came to pass. I filled them with mental light and whispered my specific intent over the pendant, making sure my breath touched the surface. I sealed them by drawing an equal-armed cross in the air over the shape. I strung red thread through one square, so I could hang it outside, asking the wind to carry my prayer to Spirit. As there were no chemical inclusions, it was safe to surreptitiously “drop” one of the empowered shapes at a strategic outdoor spot. Wink. Wink.
For a family member, I used the gingerbread shape as a business success poppet (see my book Poppet Magick through Llewellyn World Wide for more information on poppet and spirit animal enchantments). You can purchase a personally autographed copy from my whispermagick.com online store.
I placed the star outside of a friend’s store, instructing the shape that as the rain and weather blended with the paper, growing opportunity and super success would come to pass. Later, I made more shapes, dried them, and hollowed out the center. I gently inserted sunflower seeds so that as the paper filled with rainwater, the seed would germinate. You can use any seeds you desire for your enchanted shapes!
Many of my formulas over the years are fashioned around what I grow in my garden, what I can safely wildcraft from nature, and what is available in the organic section of the local grocery. My papermaking recipes are the same, although I did pull a few inclusions from my magickal cabinet.
Protection Paper Anise Hyssop Blocking Powder (available in my online store WhisperMagick.com) Jewelweed Universal Liquid Fluid Condenser - 3 drops - available in my Whispermagick store.
Success Paper Marigolds Chamomile Powdered Ginger Dried Red Pepper Bits HotBone Liquid Fluid Condenser - 3 drops - available in my Whispermagick store.
Healing Paper Sage Rosemary Dill Seeds African or Purple Basil (particularly the flowers) Lemon Balm Universal Liquid Fluid Condenser - 3 drops
Sweet Sleep Paper
Lavender Rose Petals Jasmine Flowers Valerian Leaves or Flowers Universal Liquid Fluid Condenser - 3 drops
Grief Recovery Paper
Lemongrass Sweetgrass St. John’s Wort Dried Cornflowers Loving Rose Liquid Fluid Condenser - 3 drops
Please note that any herbal ingredient can cause sensitivity issues in some people. Please research my formulas before using them in regard to your health, and feel free to make substitutions.
You can learn how to make your own Liquid Fluid Condensers in my book - The Witching Hour, available in my store.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you have found the information helpful, feel free to buy me a coffee!
Peace with the Gods Peace with Nature Peace Within.
Silver Links and Info You May Find Useful To make paper from grass and other natural fibers: https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/making-paper-from-plants-zm0z17jjzqui/
Making Paper with all home objects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow5LeG-zzyg
Paper Making and How To Make a Deckle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR_218EtLJU
As you can see from the videos, there are various methods to pulling paper. Be inventive!