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How To Make Handmade Paper With Leaves And Gold Flakes For A Dazzling Effect

Learn how to make handmade paper with leaves and shimmering gold flakes with these paper making step-by-step instructions for a dazzling effect.

I’m no stranger to the joy of embracing slow living through various handcrafts. Whether it’s stirring candle wax, pressing flowers, blending honey face masks, watercolor painting with my daughter, or honing my embroidery skills, I find solace in the art of creating. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with gold flakes while crafting wax seals for my beeswax sheet tapers. As I marveled at the radiant touch they brought to my project, it got me thinking—What can you make with gold flakes besides wax seals? 

That’s when the idea struck me to make handmade paper with the dazzling allure of gold flakes and pressed leaves!

Last Christmas, my husband gifted me a papermaking kit, and I eagerly began exploring the process of creating paper. Our kitchen became a tapestry of drying handmade paper as I tested various materials, tools, and botanicals to craft the perfect sheets of paper. 

Yet, it was the delicate scattering of gold flakes across the soft surface of handmade paper that truly captivated me. The result was an air of sophistication and elegance that surpassed any other technique I tried. 

Now, I’m here to inspire you to embrace the art of papermaking! 

In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about what can you use to make handmade paper, the process of creating pulp, tips for selecting the perfect mould and deckle, as well as techniques for incorporating leaves and other botanicals into your paper, alongside the captivating addition of gold flakes.

The end result will be nothing but exquisite – so let’s jump right in! 

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I know you’ll agree learning how to make handmade paper is a truly captivating craft that allows you to infuse your artistic spirit into every fiber!

What Can You Use To Make Handmade Paper?

If this is your first DIY paper endeavor, I’m sure you’re wondering what can you use to make handmade paper. Quite frankly, there are many things that can be transformed into handmade paper. But, the key lies in selecting the right materials to create a pulp that will form the appearance you’re after. 

For example, if you’d like to create handmade paper that has the look of light brown Kraft paper, you can recycle packaging! Or if you’re after a pearly white paper, you could make pulp by combining mulberry silk or Egyptian cotton with white cardstock. Here’s a list of what can be used to make handmade paper to get you started.

Handmade Paper Options For Pulp

Recycled Materials

Give new life to discarded materials by transforming them into unique handmade paper. Consider recycling these materials to make pulp:

Envelopes and Cards: For basic white pulp, you can put all those plain white envelopes we often receive in the mail tucked into monthly statements to use. You can also recycle cards into an off-white color paper pulp.

Packaging: Turn packaging that is often made from recycled materials into pulp. Brown paper packing sheets, cardboard boxes, and shredded kraft paper are great materials to use.

Fabric Scraps: Repurpose fabric remnants by breaking them down into fibers that can be incorporated into your paper. You can rip or tear fabric scraps into small pieces.

Paper Scraps: Recycle scraps of paper used in various paper crafts to make pulp.

Related To: 50 Ways To Reuse Candle Jars

Plant Fibers

Turn to nature for utilizing various plant fibers to create extra soft handmade paper. Consider plant fibers such as these to make pulp:

Cotton: Soft and versatile cotton fibers produce smooth and durable paper. The next time you have a throw pillow that lost its fluffiness or a plush stuffed toy beyond mending, why not use cotton stuffing to make paper? You might also consider Egyptian cotton, a more eco-friendly fiber from extra-long staple cotton plants.

Flax: Flax (also known as linen) is an eco-friendly fiber made from the stem of the flax plant. These fibers offer strength and a distinctive texture to paper. And who doesn’t love that they are sustainable, biodegradable, and vegan plant-based fibers?

Hemp: Did you know hemp was the earliest plant cultivated fiber? It has withstood the test time with its highly durable, robust fibers. Sustainable and biodegradable Hemp fibers create paper that is both durable and environmentally friendly.

Mulberry: Highly prized in traditional papermaking, mulberry silk fibers yield delicate and translucent paper. And its natural white state is also eco-friendly and organic. 

From natural fibers to recycled materials, the choices are abundant. So, experiment, mix and match, and let your creativity flow as you explore these options for creating paper pulp.

What can you add to paper pulp to make unique handmade paper? Here’s a list of unique items you can add to the pulp for a distinctive finish.

Adding Botanicals and Unique Items To Paper Pulp

What can you add to paper pulp to make unique handmade paper? This is where things get really interesting! You can create stunning pieces that reflect your style and vision by infusing your handmade paper with these beautiful additions. Here’s a list of unique items you can add to the pulp for a distinctive finish.

Things To Incorporate Into Paper Pulp

Vibrant Flower Petals: Whether it’s the boldness of rose petals or the cheerful bursts of calendula, these floral additions can bring delicate beauty to your handmade paper. You can also opt for subtle whites like elegant jasmine flowers and bleached white fern leaves.

Sparkling Glitter, Sequins, or Gold Flakes: Add a splash of shimmer by including glitter, sequins, or gold flakes into your paper pulp. These dazzling additions create a mesmerizing effect, making your handmade paper truly stand out.

Seeds: My daughter and I had a wonderful time embedding seeds into our handmade paper, allowing the sheets to be planted and bloom into new life. We chose lavender and wildflower seeds for pollinators. 

Confetti: Create playful and celebratory paper by sprinkling colorful confetti into the pulp. You can use a hole punch to make confetti from colored cardstock, paper scraps, tissue paper, or construction paper. This is a great option for recycling gift wrap!

Fragrant Herbs: Infuse your paper with the delightful scents of dried herbs. Consider incorporating herbs like rosemary, lavender, mint, or chamomile into your pulp to create paper that not only looks beautiful but also releases a subtle fragrance when touched. (This is an ideal option for those of us with an herb garden.) 

Experiment with different combinations, textures, and colors to discover the perfect mix that reflects your creative vision. Because by adding these botanicals and unique items to your paper pulp, you can transform your handmade paper into a work of art! 

Related To: 15 DIY Scented Candles You Can Make

Here's how to choose papermaking tools and materials to make handmade paper.

Choosing Paper-Making Tools and Setting Up Your Workspace

Now that you have everything you need for the pulp, it’s time to gather the necessary tools and create a welcoming workspace to inspire your creativity.

Papermaking Supplies You’ll Need:


You’ll need two large basins to pour the pulp into and dip the mould and deckle frames. I used clear storage tubs.

Mould and Deckle

The mould and deckle are fundamental tools for creating handmade paper. When selecting these items, keep the following aspects in mind – 

Size: Choose a mould and deckle that accommodate the desired paper size you wish to create. This papermaking set is very similar to the one I used to make 5×7 sheets. 

Material: Opt for a mould and deckle made of sturdy materials, such as wood, to ensure it can withstand repeated use.

Screen: Look for a mould with a fine mesh screen, which helps create a smoother and more uniform paper texture.

Frame Design: Consider the frame design of the mould and deckle, as some feature removable screens for easy cleaning and maintenance. Others, like the frames I use, are hinged. 

Pulp Beater or Blender

You’ll need a pulp beater or blender to create a smooth and consistent paper pulp. These tools help break down the fibers and ensure proper blending, resulting in high-quality handmade paper. This is the exact blender I use. It holds up to 51 ounces and works beautifully to make pulp!

Couching Material

Couching material, such as felt (that’s what I use) or couching sheets, is used to transfer the wet paper from the mould to the drying surface. Choose a material that is absorbent and durable to facilitate the drying process.

Drying Rack

You can use an art drying rack or more affordable baking racks to lay them flat. I use my drying racks for baking – they make a level surface for even drying.


Last, you’ll need a pair of sponges to soak up the water from the pulp.

Setting Up Your Papermaking Workspace

From experience, the process of making paper takes up a lot of space! So, plan to clear off your kitchen island for a day of papermaking. Then organize your materials and prepare for spills. 

By choosing the right papermaking supplies and setting up your workspace, you’ll ensure a smooth and enjoyable papermaking experience.

In this beginner guide, I'll share everything you need to know about what can you use to make handmade paper.

How Do You Make Homemade Paper At Home?

With everything in place, you’re now ready to begin the step-by-step tutorial on how to make handmade paper.  I know you’ll agree it is a truly captivating craft that allows you to infuse your artistic spirit into every fiber!

Handmade Paper Supplies And Tools:

1 branch of pressed fern leaves 

1 to 2 tablespoons of gold flakes

2 sponges

1 or more mould and deckle frames

1 Blender

2 basins

1 or more drying racks

12 sheets of couching material, such as felt 

12 sheets of white cardstock or recycled white envelopes

How to Make Handmade Paper Step-By-Step

Step 1: Create the Paper Pulp

Tear the white cardstock or recycled white envelopes into small pieces and soak them in a large basin of water. Then scoop into the blender about half full. Add more water to fully immerse the paper pieces.

And blend the mixture until it reaches a pulpy consistency. If using a pulp beater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: Prepare the Mould and Deckle

Wet the mould and deckle to prevent the paper pulp from sticking. Then place the deckle (the frame without the screen) on top of the mould (the frame with the screen) to form a complete unit if you’re not using a hinged frame. Set the mould and deckle on a flat surface with the screen facing up.

Step 3: Dip and Drain

Pour the paper pulp into a large basin or sink. Dip the mould and deckle frame into the pulp at an angle while ensuring that the screen is fully submerged.

Then gently shake the frame back and forth under the pulp to distribute the pulp evenly across the screen and create a uniform layer. Slowly lift the mould and deckle frame out of the water, allowing excess water to drain through the screen.

Step 4: Add Fern Leaves and Gold Flakes

Place one or more pressed fern leaves onto the wet pulp layer, gently pressing it down. Then sprinkle gold flakes onto the pulp, adding as much or as little as desired for a dazzling effect.

Step 5: Couch and Dry the Paper

Place a piece of couching material (felt or couching sheet) on top of the wet pulp layer. Then gently pat a sponge on top to soak up excess water. Squeeze the sponge into the basin and repeat. After sponging, with the screen side facing down, carefully remove the deckle or lift open the frame, leaving the paper pulp layer on the screen of the mould.

Flip the mould and couching material onto a drying rack and delicately remove the mould, leaving the wet paper on the drying surface. Allow the paper to air dry completely before handling. You can press flat dry sheets under a heavy book if they curl.

Let your imagination run wild with these possibilities of gifting using your handmade paper.

Ideas for Gifting

Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities of gifting using your handmade paper. From personalized stationery to art projects and heartfelt gifts, the beauty and craftsmanship of your handmade paper will leave a lasting impression.

Simply bundling up a few sheets of this gorgeous handmade paper is quite gift-worthy, wrapped with raw silk ribbon and sealed with gold. Follow my steps to make gold flake wax seals here.

Learn how to make handmade paper with the dazzling allure of gold flakes and pressed leaves!

By infusing gold flakes and pressed leaves into handmade paper, you can create a touch of nature’s serene beauty too. 


Save this tutorial for how to make handmade paper to your craft idea Pinterest board, and while you’re there, be sure to follow Life-n-Reflection for more inspiring ideas.

Did you know you can Tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share yours with me?

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