The Invasive Paper Project: Papermaking with Invasive Plants

Invasive Paper Project via Megan Heeres

Invasive Paper Project via Megan Heeres for invasive plants

What are your invasive plants? Is it kudzu that is the menace where you live, or is it honeysuckle?

Garlic mustard?


For me, it’s multiflora rose, but I guarantee that wherever you are, you’ve got some sort of invasive plant that’s trying to outshine your natives. You can pull it all you want, but without some sort of outreach program that will let everyone else know to pull theirs, as well, and to stop planting it–seriously, Friends, STOP planting multiflora rose! It is crowding out my wild black raspberries!–then your work will never be done.

Take your example, then, from Megan Heeres, who has created an art project so awesome, and a public relations project so user-friendly, that I will not be surprised to someday learn that she has single-handedly managed to get all invasives eradicated from the entire Detroit area.

Heeres’ The Invasive Paper Project uses invasive plants from the Detroit area to make paper. Heeres uses the paper in her own art installations, and also guides members of the public through the process of identifying, collecting, processing, and making paper from the invasives.

Invasive Plants via Megan Heeres

The finished paper is lovely, with hues of greens, browns, and yellows. It’s useful and lovely, and surely has a monetary value that might well make the process worth it.

Heeres states that her goals with The Invasive Paper Project are to eradicate these invasive plant species, but also to create a general public awareness of their effect on the ecosystem, and to inspire participants to invent new uses for the invasive plants.

Want to give papermaking with invasive plants a try on your own? Here’s how to make handmade paper. Want something else productive to do with the invasives that you pull? Try using them for compost!

Image Credit: Invasive Paper Project images via Megan Heeres

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