A Visit to Papertells

During my first year of teaching at St. Francis High School in Pune, I started to raise funds for my classroom to help facilitate activities and field trips for my children. One of the field trips that I took my children on during the second year of my fellowship was a visit to a handmade paper factory in Pune called Papertells. Papertells was inaugurated by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, on August 1, 1940 and has since been supplying handmade papers across India. At Papertells, paper is manufactured in an eco-friendly manner - no wood is used, no pollutants are released as a part of the process and the raw materials include various types of cotton, jute and mill waste.

Papertells has the distinction of producing the paper on which the first copy of India's constitution was printed. Currently, the products available at Papertells include (but are not limited to) files, photograph albums, pen stands, lamp shades, lanterns and notebooks. All these products are manufactured in-house using the handmade paper.

I called in advance to inform the factory that I would be visiting with my children on January 31st, 2015. The factory workers were used to giving tours to children from schools in and around Pune and my children were excited to learn something new!

Inside the factory - you can see the stacks of paper piled up in different stages of processing.

We were first led to the area where different waste materials were chopped and shredded into finer pieces that would form the raw material for the paper. Our guides allowed my students to touch and examine the material more closely.

Next, we were shown the different stages of processing that the raw material is taken through to convert it to handmade paper. This included treatment with water and chemicals to aid in binding, natural drying and flattening and rolling the paper in different grades of thickness.


On our way out, we visited the shop that sells the products mentioned earlier. It was here that I bought the paper that we used to make our class magazine!

Three of my students studying some of the notebooks and drawing books being sold at the shop.