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Sep 29, 2022 | Samuel Albert
Have you seen woven baskets made from paper straws? Believe me! You just can't take your eyes off them. They are a pretty sight and can steal your heart away. Not just baskets, pen stands, clocks, bowls, and anything from your wildest imagination can be woven using these humble-looking paper straws. And, of course, you can make straws for drinking your favorite drink. What more! You can choose from the broad range of patterns available - stripes, dots, stars, flowers, intrinsic patterns, or self-designs. You can even craft your own paper straws to match the color code of your event or decoration and custom-make them.
Making paper straws is very simple. Cut strips of paper of choice, white/color or patterned, into long thin strips. Next, use a PVA glue stick and smear the glue to the length of the paper strip. Now, choose a thin wooden stick (preferably a slender dowel, a chopstick, a long toothpick, or a crochet needle) to roll the paper into a long straw. Now, seal the edge off with some additional glue. Lastly, trim the edges. Use paraffin or beeswax to coat the straw. Dry it. The drinking straws are ready for use.
Handmade stuff has its own value. It adds a personal touch and a sense of belonging when we make it with our hands. Moreover, paper straws are way too expensive than plastic straws. It is disheartening to know that we leave behind a carbon footprint when we manufacture them on a large scale.
An eco/budget-friendly option is to make them easily at home, just enough for our requirements. In no time, you'll have all the straws needed for the upcoming event or birthday party. So, come, let's get started.
Photo by Pixabay
Paper straws will be used for drinking purposes, so choosing food-grade paper, ink, and other raw materials like glue and wax is wise. You can use white construction sheets for this purpose.
The PVA or water-based glue would work great for paper straws. Food-grade ink is preferred though we will be coating the straws with wax, stopping the ink from oozing into your drink. For wax coating, beeswax is a better option if you fail to find paraffin wax.
If you are bored with using white sheets for straw making, print the design out on paper before cutting them into thin strips.
Making paper straws at home is so easy. The best thing is you don't need to buy anything and use the items already found in your home.
Choose a white or colored paper or paper with a design of your choice. Scrapbook paper or construction paper also would do.
Cut the paper into strips with a width of 2.5 to 3 cm or wider. Remember, the paper must be pliable and not too stiff. Else, it would be difficult to roll the paper into a straw. The cut must be precise, and the paper should be of uniform width from top to bottom.
Photo by Asya Vlasova
Now, look around your house and find what you could use as a roller - chopsticks, crochet needle, or just a long toothpick. It should be round, long, and thin. Anything that fits this description can be used for rolling the paper.
Apply the glue along the length of the paper strip in a thin vertical line. Place the roller on one corner of the paper strip at a 45-degree angle, with a part of the roller sticking out on the right side. This way, it would be easy to pull the roller out after you are done rolling. The rest of the roller helps roll up the paper.
Now, let's start rolling. First, roll it snug around the roller, but not too loose or tight. Else, it will be difficult to remove the roller from the roll. Also, ensure that the glued end overlaps over the paper, not on the roller, and sticks onto the roller.
The glue will help stick the paper and do the rest of the job. Finally, seal the end by applying a tiny drop of glue.
Photo by George Milton
Now make more such straws and set them aside. Let them dry.
If you make straws for weaving, you can stop at this step.
But if you make them for drinking, trim them as there'll be pointed tips making it inconvenient to drink from.
But, wait! Don't do this unless you have made a bunch of straws, so you can have straws of uniform length.
This is the last step in paper straw making. Once you finish making all the straws required for a project or a party, you can make them waterproof.
The best time to coat your paper straws is when they are completely dry. So, allow ample time for the paper straws to dry before the wax coating process.
Now that your straws are dry let's get started. First, heat the wax in a tall jar, so it is easy to dip and coat the straws. Use partial heat to warm the wax by keeping them in a hot water bath. Use only slow heat to heat up, as paraffin wax is highly flammable. Heating them over direct flame can result in a fire accident, so low heat is advisable.
Once the wax melts, quickly dip one-half to two-thirds of the straw's length into the wax. Drip the wax and wipe off the excess wax with tissue paper. Let it rest for a while before doing it on the other end. Repeat the dipping process on the other side. Set aside the wax-coated paper straws.
Do the dipping quickly. Prolonged immersion into the molten wax can dissolve the glue in your straw.
Photo by Dana Tentis
Make sure your wax coatings overlap on both sides, so there are no gaps between them.
The wax coating over the paper straws is very thin and will dry readily. However, we don't know what is happening inside the paper straw. So, lay them on a plastic sheet and wait for them to dry completely.
In case you have mixed uncoated and coated paper straws together, you can easily find your coated paper straws. They look translucent because of the paraffin wax coating over them.