How to Make Papercrete

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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In the wake of the green revolution, alternative building materials have become very popular. Papercrete is alternative to traditional building materials and works great as insulation and for wall construction. Making papercrete is a great way to save money and recycle. These instructions are based on 200 gallons of papercrete.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 80 lbs. of newspaper
  • 150 lbs. of cement
  • 15 to 20 shovels of sand
  • 175 gallons water
  • Cement mixer
  • Forms
  • Serrated knife

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  1. 1

    Soak 80 lbs. of newspaper in water overnight to soften the fibers and make mixing easier. This is about the same as stacks of newspaper on top of each other with a height of approximately 60 inches.

  2. 2

    Mix into a concrete mixer or similar machine approximately 150 lbs. (two large bags) of Portland cement, the soaked paper, 15 to 20 shovels of natural sand and about 175 gallons of water. This makes about 200 gallons of papercrete but the measurements are estimations. The process is one of trial and error and customizing the amounts to suit your own needs. More sand makes the finished papercrete heavier.

  3. 3

    Blend the ingredients until you have a thick consistent pulp. You may want to add the paper and water first and slowly blend in the other ingredients.

  4. 4

    Pour mix into forms for creating bricks. Such things as old clothes drawers, thick cardboard boxes and other regular shaped containers work great. The shape you use for your form is your choice and depends on your needs.

  5. 5

    Allow the mixture to sit in forms until set, about 4 hours. Of course, larger forms will require more time to set. Leaving the forms overnight regardless of size will guarantee everything has completely set.

  6. 6

    Pop finished papercrete from forms and cut into uniform sizes using a strong serrated knife. Don't use your best kitchen knives, as cutting the paper will dull the blade.

  7. 7

    Use wet papercrete as mortar to hold your papercrete bricks together.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to check that the papercrete can handle the weight of other building materials used during the construction process.

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