Papyrus is an early form of paper, used in ancient Egypt around 3000 B.C. The first paper was made from the papyrus plants that grew exclusively on the banks of the Nile and its delta regions. The Egyptians developed a long and complex process to make the first paper, rolled into scrolls for storage.
With some common household supplies, you can make a papyrus-like paper using paper bags. This activity is ideal for adults who are into art and paper making or as a classroom activity to teach kids about Ancient Egypt.
Things You'll Need
1/2 cup liquid white glue
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 paper lunch bags
- Paper towel
- Medium-sized bowl or container
Cover your work surface with two layers of newspaper. This allows an easy clean up and serves as a surface for your paper to dry on.
Lay a single paper towel on top of the newspaper. This comes the base layer of your papyrus.
Pour approximately 1/2 cup of glue into the bowl. If you plan to make two sheets of papyrus, double this amount.
Stir in a 1/2 cup of water into the glue. Mix until the glue and water develop a runny consistency.
Tear both paper bags lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide, but long strips.
Dip each paper strip in the glue and water mixture to ensure they are fully soaked with the mixture.
Lay half the strips of paper vertically next to each other on the paper towel, slightly overlapping their sides.
Set the rest of the strips of paper horizontally on top of the first layer of paper-bag strips. The edges of these strips of paper should also overlap.
Press and smooth out the paper with your hands to get rid of any excess glue or air bubbles.
Let the papyrus dry for at least 8 hours. Once it is dry, gently peel it from the newspaper.
Wear vinyl or rubber gloves to protect your hands from glue.
Remove spills from tabletops immediately to prevent the glue from hardening in place.
Papyrus paper serves as a good backdrop for kids to create hieroglyphic art, a framed poem or some other art project. Cut up the paper to make distinctive gift tags. You can also use it to create an old-looking treasure map for a birthday party treasure hunt.