How long to soak paper for pulp

Table of Contents

Soak paper for pulp for 8-24 hours, depending on thickness; use warm water to reduce soaking time.

Soaking Process

The soaking process has a direct impact on the quality and usability of the final form of pulp. By altering paper soaking time, you can control the way pulp feels and behaves, with it being smoother or coarser, based on one’s needs. How paper is soaked and the duration of the soaking process has an incredible effect on the process of creating paper and bettering the texture of the final product.

Soaking Process

The time one has to soak paper for it to become pulp is not static and will vary based on multiple factors. Specifically, the type of paper and desired pulp consistency will dictate the time spent soaking. In general, newspaper paper will take between 8 to 12 hours to become completely soaked and soft enough to become pulp. However, cardstock paper is thicker and will need a whole 24 hours of soaking to reach the appropriate level of saturation.

Optimal Water Temperature

Water temperature plays a major role in the soaking process. Warm water will decrease soaking time by nearly half. For instance, while it might take 12 hours of paper soaking in cold water for it to become sufficiently mashed up, warm water will be sufficient in 6 hours.

Time Soaked Based on Paper Type

The type of paper will also play a massive role in determining the time needed for it to become pulp form. Office paper resembles normal printer paper but is much smoother and denser. Therefore it will usually take an additional couple of hours to shift from 12 to 15 hours of soaking in warm water. However, tissue and toilet paper is already mushed up to disappear upon contact with liquid and only needs to be soaked for about an hour.

Soaking Method

To make paper soaking a simpler process, paper has to be torn and cut and cut into small equal pieces and placed into a container filled with water. This allows more paper to be reached by the water and the process to be consistent and faster. Paper should be stirred occasionally to ensure all pieces are of an equal consistency.

Adjusting Consistency of Pulp

If one desires to make a finer pulp, the water time could be increased. This will wet the fibers more through while also making the pulp smoother. To make the pulp coarser, the soaking time can be reduced. For a handmade papermaking example, one might add 12 hours of soaking time for newspaper paper and 15 hours for office paper in warm water, with both soaked and then mixed to create a consistent well-soaked pulp.


How Long to Soak Different Types of Paper


Has an ability to make good pulp because of the ease of breakdown and abundance. Soaking newspaper in lukewarm water will take 8-12 hours. This length of time ensures that ink and paper fibers come apart away from each other. Hence, this process will allow a softer paddling for crafting and gardening.

Office Paper

The best properties of the office paper, which are thickness and higher density, define the length of soaking process that takes approximately 12-24 hours. Thicker and more refined as compared to the other types, the office paper demands more time to come apart. If put in water for a day, office paper will break down into a pulp of comparable quality that can be used to create paper of its kind with good properties .


This type is thicker than office paper, so it will take 24-48 hours. It has a surface coat, which is more obvious in touch. Therefore, water needs more time to go through the layers.

Tissue Paper

Opposite to the cardstock, the tissue paper comes apart very quickly and will only take 30 minutes to an hour. This feature makes this type excellent for adding texture to a project made of mixed paddling.

Magazine Pages

These will take 24-36 hours as well because they are coated with glossy finishes. Therefore, stirring while soaking will assist in breaking the coat and making it come from the fibers. This kind of pulp will add gloss, vividness, and color to the product.

Practical Example

If one needs a pulp of medium texture, he or she can soak the newspaper for 12 hours, office paper for 24, and magazine pages for 36 hours. Then the materials should be soaked, which only then they can be mixed evenly . The result is a colorful textured pulp, which is best for liabilities.

Methodology for Soaking

  1. Prep the paper by shredding or tearing it into small pieces to make it absorb water faster because its surface area is larger

  2. Use warm water

  3. Stir the water sometimes require.


Water Temperature and Its Impact on Soaking Time

The water temperature is one of the main factors in the process of paper soaking, as it distinctly affects the amount of time the paper needs to turn into pulp. Knowledge of the relationship between water temperature and soaking time can help to optimize the pulping process for different kinds of paper.

Cold Water Soaking

These are the most apparent actions: no energy is needed for heating the water, and the time, on the contrary, is the longest. For instance, newspaper standardly needs around 12 to 24 hours of soaking in cold water to become entirely soft. The low temperature hinders the process of water softening the paper’s fabric.

Room Temperature Water

When using room temperature water, the time of soaking the paper is a little shorter than in the case of cold water. For example, a piece of office paper that would take 24 hours of soaking in cold water to turn from a sheet of paper to the clump of fibers is soaked for 18 to 20 hours in the room temperature water. Higher temperature leads to the slightly increased speed of water absorption by paper fibers.

Warm Water Soaking

Warm water is much more efficient in displacing the time needed for turning paper into pulp. While standard time of soaking newspaper clumps in water can be 24 hours, if using warm water, it can be only 6-8 hours until sufficiently soft. Higher temperature increases the speed of the bond decomposition in the paper fibers, letting the water penetrate the structure of paper faster.

Hot Water Soaking

The hot water is used for reaching the least possible soaking time. While hot water is very efficient, using it is dangerous, as some kinds of paper can get dissolved too fast, and the resulting pulp will be inconsistent. For example, cardstock, which usually needs around 24-48 hours of immerse time in cold water to be ready, can be softened to be used in the pulp blend after only 12-15 hours of soaking in hot water. This method can be useful for some types of paper, especially those that are thick, expensive, and resilient against soaking.

Practical Example: Pulp for Handcrafted Paper

Handcrafted paper usually requires a fine and uniform pulp. I can assume that soaking a blend of newspaper clumps and office paper in the lukewarm water will significantly reduce the time this mixture needs to prepare. If I want to prepare the pulp in a single day, I should use the water with a temperature of around fifteen to thirty degrees Celsius . By using water at 30-40 degrees Celsius , I can prepare both papers in the 8 to 10 hours that remain of the preparation time if the standard temperature water was used.

After Soak Treatment

Once the paper has soaked for the given amount of time, follow-up steps are vital to convert the raw material into usable pulp. After soak treatment is a process that involves draining, rinsing, and further processing of the paper to ensure that the softened paper has the required qualities to be turned into pulp.

Draining the Soaked Paper

The first step of the after soak treatment of paper pulping is the draining of the soaked paper. Properly draining the soaked paper removes excess water and makes the paper easier to handle in the subsequent steps of the pulping process. To do that, one can use any mesh strainer or a colander. Drain the paper for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stopping before it is no longer moist, as that will make the paper difficult to follow in the subsequent steps of the process.

Rising the Paper Pulp

The paper pulp needs to be rinsed to ensure that all ink and adhesives that can affect the quality of the end product are removed. After the draining of the pulp, the latter should be transferred to a big container, and water with room for the pulp is added to the container. The pulp should then be stirred rigorously before being allowed to settle. After the pulp has settled, one should pour the dirty water off, carefully preventing the loss of pulp. This process should be repeated 2-3 times until the water is running clear, signifying that the pulp is clean.

Adjusting the Pulp’s Consistency

When the pulp is clean, the next step is to adjust its pulp according to what it will be used for. For finer substances like writing paper or art projects, it needs to be blended. A hand-held blender or a smoothie mixer can be used for that purpose, processing the pulp in larger glassfuls for 30 seconds – 1 minute for each glassful. The coarser pulp, suitable for applications like paper mâché or textured paper, does not need to be rinsed and can be used as it is for the given purpose.

Practical Application: Handmade Paper

When making a handmade paper, pulp consistency is crucial. Soaked newspaper should be allowed to drain, and it should be rinsed until the water can run clean. The pulp should then be put inside a blender and processed with water added until the substance in the blender becomes as slurry as possible. Smaller amounts of pulp can be added at the same time for that step. The pulp is now processed enough for it to be pressed and dried, creating a sheet of paper that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Methodological Notes

When draining the paper pulp, use a fine or medium mesh strainer to keep as much of the pulp as possible and remove only excess water.

Depending on the application of the pulp, rinse as many times as necessary.

When blending, adjust the amount of time spent on the processing to achieve the necessary pulp consistency and do not let the material be over processed.

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