DIY Paper Shredder

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A manual paper shredder will keep all your secrets safe, the low-tech way.
A manual paper shredder will keep all your secrets safe, the low-tech way. (Image: documents in fire - 1 image by Igors Leonovs from Fotolia.com)

A paper trail can prove dangerous; just ask James Bond. Of course, you could buy a paper shredder at your local office store, but chances are—if it's inexpensive—it won't last long, and it will likely be made out of unsustainable products. By using recycled items, you can not only shred those sensitive documents beyond recognition—you can make new paper with the leftovers.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee can with lid
  • Hand-crank egg beater
  • Craft knife

Cut a hole in the center of the coffee can lid using the craft knife, leaving about a 2-inch ring around the rim. Cut a slit from this ring through the rim about 1/2 inch thick.

Fill the coffee can about halfway with water. Put the egg beater into the water. Tear up a piece of paper and add the paper to the water. Put the lid on the can, sliding the slit past the egg beater, so that the beater is in the center hole.

Let the paper soak until saturated—about 15 minutes—then grind it using the egg beater. Remove the lid and add more paper, allow to soak again, then shred with the egg beater. Continue this process until you have shredded your entire document. When the egg beater becomes difficult to turn or the water level becomes too low to saturate more paper, empty the container and start with fresh water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add the pulp produced by this process to your compost pile, or use it in a craft project to produce handmade paper.

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