Paper is a fragile material and even with all the precautions in the world, it sometimes creases. If it's an important document, like an assignment, your best drawing, or an administrative form, folds can be a real problem. All hope is not lost: with a few tools that you probably already have at home, you will be able to smooth the leaf! Your paper will soon be like new!
Method 1 of 3: Use a weight
Step 1. Smooth the paper by hand
If that's usually not enough to remove all the small wrinkles, you could already smooth the paper by running your hand over its surface. Your gesture should be gentle: by using too much force, you risk tearing the sheet.
Step 2. Gather several heavy objects
You may not be able to smooth the sheet perfectly with your hand, but with a heavy object you may be able to remove the remaining wrinkles. At home, look for items that are heavy enough, like large books, pots and even bricks. Choose objects as wide or wider than the leaf, so that you can cover its entire surface.
You don't necessarily need an extremely heavy object. By stacking several small items, you will get enough weight
Step 3. Place the document under the weight
Lay the page out on a flat surface and make sure the paper is as flat as possible before placing objects on top. Make sure the sheet of paper is completely covered to remove any creases. If the heavy object is not large enough to cover the paper, place two or more of them side by side to smooth the entire surface.
Depending on the objects you are using as a weight, it might be better to place a towel on the sheet before putting the objects in place, to avoid soiling the paper
Step 4. Wait for the weight to act
Heavy objects will take some time to remove wrinkles. So you will have to wait. The time required will depend on the condition of the sheet and the weight of the items used. However, the longer you wait, the better. You will usually have to wait at least 24 hours.
In most cases, using a weight will not be enough to smooth the paper perfectly. However, this will allow you to partially soften the wrinkles before switching to another method
Method 2 of 3: Use heat
Step 1. Place the sheet on an ironing board
Lay the document flat on the surface, smoothing it with your hand, so that it is not folded in places. Cover the ironing board with a clean towel or sheet before setting the sheet down to keep it clean.
- Depending on the type of paper and the type of ink used, you may want to spray a little bit of distilled water on the document before placing it on the ironing board. The water will soften the paper and the wrinkles will disappear more easily. However, water will also cause some types of ink to bleed, such as that from inkjet printers. You will therefore have to do a test on one page before trying this method on the document to be smoothed.
- If you don't have an ironing board, any flat surface, such as a table, countertop, or even the floor, may do the trick. Just remember to cover the chosen surface with a thick cotton towel to protect it from the heat.
Step 2. Cover the paper
You will need to be careful that the document does not get too hot when you iron it, so as not to burn it. To do this, consider covering it with a towel or a clean piece of cloth, before placing the iron on it. Do not fold the fabric or the towel in too many layers or the heat could not act on the paper.
Step 3. Set the iron on low heat
To avoid damaging the paper, iron it first on a low temperature setting. If you notice that the creases do not subside after ironing the sheet, increase the temperature of the machine slightly.
Wait for the iron to heat up before starting to iron the page. Depending on the type and model of the device, it may take 1 to 3 minutes
Step 4. Iron the paper
You can use the same technique as for ironing a garment. Move the iron on the covered surface of the laundry, in small circular motions, not leaving it still for too long in the same area. Every now and then, stop, lift the laundry and see if the creases are gone. If they are still there, keep ironing the sheet until you are satisfied with the result.
If you have to move the iron like when you iron a garment, it is important to keep in mind that you are working on paper, a material much more fragile than fabric. Be as gentle as possible to avoid tearing, burning, or otherwise damaging the paper
Method 3 of 3: Using steam
Step 1. Turn on the shower
To fill your bathroom with steam, turn on the shower water as hot as possible and close the door. You will need to wait about 10 minutes for steam to build up in the room.
Step 2. Lay out the paper on a flat surface
Once the bathroom is full of steam, lay the sheet flat, so that the steam softens its fibers. Make sure it is not too close to the shower, so that the sheet does not get wet. Also check that it is not bent in places.
Remember to place a clean towel on the place where you will put the document. The towel will absorb any moisture that may have settled on the surface due to the steam. So you don't have to worry about the sheet getting wet
Step 3. Let the sheet rest
In order for the steam to release the folds, you will need to leave the document in the room for about 10 minutes. If the paper is very wrinkled, leave it even longer: check the progress of the process from time to time to be sure that it is not absorbing too much moisture.
Step 4. Smooth out the folds by hand
Once the steam has worked on the paper, take the paper out of the bathroom and place it on another flat surface. The steam can soften some of the wrinkles, but you should still press down on the sheet with your hand while the paper is still softened by the steam. Work gently, so as not to tear or damage the sheet.
- You could cover your hand with a small piece of clean paper towel, before smoothing out the paper. This will protect the document from impurities, sebum and other dirt present on your skin.
- Even if you manage to remove most of the folds from the sheet, you can still place it under a heavy object for several hours or even a whole day, to keep it as smooth as possible.
- If the paper is extremely fragile, cover it with several layers of fabric before ironing it.
- Whichever method you choose, you will need to be patient. By rushing you will damage the leaf even more!