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The Challenge: Make Paper and Ink

How did our Rough Scientists make paper?

We made our paper from kapok fiber and milkweed. The fibers were first separated from the rest of the plant. They were then beaten into a pulp and soaked in potassium hydroxide, which was made by combining lime and potassium carbonate.

Boiling the cellulose in the potassium hydroxide broke down the fibers allowing them to interweave to make paper. Once the fibers had been washed they were then sized (coated) with sticky cherry liquid. This would prevent the ink from soaking in like blotting paper.

We made a paper press to squeeze out excess moisture before leaving the sheet to dry in the sun. We ended up with a strong piece of pale paper.

The Rough Science paper