How Was Papyrus Made in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered how paper was made in ancient times? Well, wonder no more! In this article, we will explore the fascinating process of making papyrus, the ancient Egyptian paper.

What is Papyrus?

Papyrus is a type of paper that was used by the ancient Egyptians for writing and drawing. It is made from the pith of the papyrus plant, which grows in abundance along the Nile River. The plant has tall stalks that can reach up to 15 feet in height.

The Process

The process of making papyrus was a laborious one and required great skill and precision. Here’s how it was done:

Step 1: Harvesting

The first step in making papyrus was to harvest the stalks of the plant. The stalks were cut close to the ground using a sharp blade.

Step 2: Soaking

The harvested stalks were then soaked in water for several days. This softened the outer layer of the stalk and made it easier to remove.

Step 3: Stripping

After soaking, the outer layer of the stalk was removed using a flat blade or knife. This revealed the inner core or pith of the plant.

Step 4: Cutting and Layering

The pith was then cut into thin strips and laid out horizontally on a flat surface. The strips were then layered vertically on top of each other to form a sheet.

Step 5: Pressing

Once layered, the sheet of papyrus was covered with a cloth and pressed with heavy stones or weights. This helped to remove any excess water and bind the strips together.

Step 6: Drying

Finally, the sheet of papyrus was left to dry in the sun for several days. Once dry, it was ready to be used for writing or drawing.

Uses of Papyrus

Papyrus was used extensively by the ancient Egyptians for writing and drawing. It was also used to make boats, baskets, sandals, and even as a food source.

Writing and Drawing

The most common use of papyrus was for writing and drawing. The Egyptians used a brush made from reeds to write on the papyrus using black or red ink. They wrote everything from religious texts and literature to legal documents and personal letters.

Boats and Baskets

Papyrus was also used to make boats and baskets. The stalks were woven together to form a strong, durable material that could be used for a variety of purposes.


In addition, papyrus was also used to make sandals. The soft inner core of the plant made for comfortable footwear that could be worn in the hot Egyptian climate.

The Legacy of Papyrus

Although papyrus is no longer widely used today, its legacy lives on. The ancient Egyptians’ use of this versatile material paved the way for modern paper-making techniques. Without their innovation and ingenuity, we may not have had access to paper as we know it today.

In conclusion, the process of making papyrus was a long and intricate one that required skill and patience. However, the end result was a versatile material that played a crucial role in ancient Egyptian society.