The title has a question mark because this isn't something that I had planned to do and truthfully it could also be entitled "How to make your back yard look like an explosion in the Kirkland toilet roll factory".
So, my younger daughter, who is three, has been fine going to the toilet all by herself for a while... until this week. Three days in a row I have gone to check on her after she's been in there a little too long and found her splashing in the sink quite delightedly with a load of soaking wet bogroll. You can't blame her for thinking it's really really cool. I mean the tactile squelchiness of it is brilliant, but after sneaking off three times to do this quietly until I found her and cleaned it all up I kinda figured we might have to take this activity outside and let it run it's course before our bathroom sink is irreprably blocked and she starts to think that she has to hide from me if she wants to play with squelchy stuff.
I got out the big plastic storage box from the garage and we put about six inches of water in it, then the kids decimated a toilet roll and made a vat of pulp to play with. Spatulas from the kitchen for stirring and a fold away table on the side for splatting and squeezing out the water from the pulp.
That kept them entertained for a while, then I started to wonder if we could make a sheet of paper with this almighty mess.
I didn't have screens, or the willingness to leave the kids alone with the vat of pulp for any length of time (someone had already tried throwing a wad of it at her sister), so I figured the closest thing that might do the job was the ancient decrepid laundry sack inside the garage door.
I put it ontop of one side of the vat for a while for them to experiment straining the pulp with, and then we tried pushing it to the bottom of the tub and pulling up a sheet of pulp. It kinda worked. Ish.
I think we had a bit too much paper in the water, because it came up with a very thick sheet that is still drying a day and a half later, but the kids thought it was cool and wanted to do it again, so we made two big sheets. We tipped them out onto one of the old bed sheets that we use for painting, so they could dry in the sun.
I left the tub out overnight thinking they would probably want to play with it more the next day. Before we went to play with it again I tried to make them some more normal screens than the giant unweildy laundry sack that took all three of us to use.
I have a couple of packs of Ikea frames that I have been meaning to put photos in and not got around to, so I used one of those packs for the wooden frames (I think they were $5 for the pack of three) Bet there would be a decent frame in the dollarstore for this too though. I used a really old reel of tulle that I got from Savers a while back to make tutus. That came in a bag with some other sewing stuff for 99cents. All I did was cut the tulle and staple it over the frames to make screens. I'm not sure what material you are supposed to use for making screens, but this seemed to work fine.
I am the lady that saves even the ripped bits of tissue paper from gifts, because it might be useful for a kid craft one day, so we had a little stash of tissue paper handy to try and make the paper more interesting this time.
The kids ripped up the tissue paper and squelched it into the pulp that was still in the tub. This made the pulp go a nice shade of pink. Ooooh! Princess paper! I got out some of the black or dark coloured felt from my sewing gear to turn out the paper onto, because I wasn't sure if the tissue paper in the pulp would cause it to stain things.
They knew what the score was with how to make the paper after we did it the day before, so they had no trouble pulling up a few sheets. They weren't overly obsessed with putting the sheets out to dry though, so we only ended up with a few finished dry ones. They were more interested in playing with pulling up the screens full and then rinsing them off. Or once they tipped out the paper onto the bits of felt they wanted to scrape them back off and put the pulp back in the vat again. I wish it was socially acceptable for me to wear a hunormously mahoosive blue ballerina tutu for the hell of it, whilst going about my day.
Here's a pic of one of the freshly turned out pulp sheets before we sandwiched it between two bits of felt and squeezed out the water fully.
We were all very impatient, especially after the giant sheets hadn't dried overnight, so I put a pile of the little princess papers stacked up with felt inbetween in the microwave and that dried them out in five minutes, so the kids could draw on them right away.Yes, that's right from one toilet roll, all that mess and mayhem later and we had made.... da da daaaaa.... *Pink* toilet roll. I'm going to pretend that I can't hear you laughing at me.I'm off out into the yard now to strain the rest of the pulpy mess through the laundry sack, so I can mix it with some flour and make some paper clay for them to use tomorrow. I'll let you know if that is just as unfathomably messy.