For all those who aren’t much familiar with it, Papercrete, in essence, is a type of fibrous cement (cement with a certain proportion of fiber in it). Because of its unique composition, papercrete is lightweight and strong, hence a perfect fit for a multitude of tasks. But more on that later – let’s first begin with,
The Ingredients in Papercrete
The ingredients that make papercrete can vary wildly based on what it’ll be used for. From cotton, wool and hemp to paper (wood fiber), flax and jute, different fibers can be used to make papercrete. For example, papercretes for building the walls of a house are usually composed of basic formula of cement and plastic. However, for any load bearing platforms or walls, a small amount of sand can boost compressive strength even further.
The addition of fiber to the cement results in a much stronger mixture – more or less the same way as the addition of fiber fibers boost the strength of fiberglass.
Usage of Papercrete
Papercrete has so many usages that it’s practically impossible to list all of those in an article like this. If you must come up with a list, perhaps your imagination will compile a better one – yes, it’s that versatile.
Owing to its semiliquid state as a mixture (similar to concrete), papercrete makes the perfect substance for being cast and molded into various shapes. Much akin to how you can cast concrete into an array of different forms (e.g. planter boxes, vases, and so on), papercrete can also be cast in molds.
However, the substance has a distinguished property: It parts away with most of the water right after being poured into a mold or form. The loss of water makes it settle at a lower level. You can compensate for this settling and shrinking by adding more of the mixture to the mold after nearly 20 minutes or so.
One of the most popular usages of papercrete is to make building blocks. You can pour it into any shallow and large forms to bring forth lightweight but strong panels. These panels can then be used to cover the walls, build boxes, partition a larger space, and so on.
You can also make furniture, planters, and fences with papercrete. Spend enough time with the substance, and you will find out new and creative ways to make the most out of it.
How you can make papercrete
There are many ways to make papercrete – the simplest and possibly the easiest of them will explained below:
First, you must come up with a special mixer designed for this purpose. It’s pretty easy and you can make small batches of the substance on your own in any average food processor or kitchen blender.
The process goes like this:
Take a mixer (or blender/processor); fill it partially with water. There are also special papercrete mixers out there in the market just in case you are not comfortable with a household mixer. Add some paper to the water – almost any paper will do, be it from old magazines, news paper, cardboard boxes..etc.
Don’t forget to shred the paper before adding it to the water in the mixer. Now, you have some wet paper pulp. Remember, if you’ve ever worked on a paper mache project, then the process of making papercrete will seem much familiar to you.
Once you have the paper pulp ready, add some Portland cement to it and then mix again. What you’ll have now is a papercrete mix.
The final output should not be too runny – it should be just enough in the liquid state so you can pour it into a mold or waiting form.
That was in brief how you can make your own papercrete. Once again, papercrete usually has a lot of different usage and its composition can vary based on what you intend to use it for. So feel free to experiment with your own recipes.