How to Make Paper in Minecraft: The Easiest Ways

Paper in Minecraft is an incredibly useful component of multiple crafting recipes. While it is considered useless on its own, when you combine paper in recipes, you can make banners, books, cartography tables, empty maps, and more, so stock up on paper immediately!

While looking at crafting recipes, you may skip out on getting paper, especially if you don’t need extra firepower from fireworks or an extra map to give to your friend.

However, if you don’t craft a book, which requires three (3) papers, you’ll miss out on the Enchanting Table. Without this table, you won’t improve your weapons and armor to fight the Ender Dragon.

Before you can start enchanting, you need to craft paper first. 

Does my Version Support Paper?

Yes, all versions support paper and have supported paper since Minecraft’s official release date on November 18, 2011. However, friends of the developer or testers that played the game in the Alpha and pre-Alpha stage wouldn’t have had the ingredients to make paper or paper itself.

Platform  Support (Version Number)
Education Edition Yes
Java Edition (PC/Mac) Yes 
Nintendo Switch Yes 
Nintendo Wii U Yes
Pocket Edition (PE) Yes
PS3 Yes
PS4 Yes 
Windows 10 Edition Yes
Xbox 360 Yes
Xbox One Yes 

The Xbox Series X/S and Playstation 5 versions are guaranteed to have paper, as it’s an important component of multiple recipes, like the book and empty map.

What Version Number Was the Stonecutter Released On?

The Alpha v.1.0.11 patch, also called the “Seecret Friday,” introduced paper. It was the sixth pre-Alpha/Alpha patch that included Reeds (later called Sugar Cane), which is needed to create paper, and the item Book, which needs paper in the recipe.

Developer Notch also improved the way trees and flowers were generated, which would help players find more Reed for paper.

How to Craft Paper in Minecraft

Time to gather materials and craft: 5-30 minutes

Note: Sugar Cane will be difficult to find depending on where you are, but be sure to save your sugar cane so you can build a farm that continuously produces it.

To craft paper in Minecraft, you’ll need three (3) sugar canes. That’s it! While that does sound easy, you will need to find it first and ensure you harvest it correctly. 

Part 1: Create a Crafting Table

Minecraft Crafting Table

Players will need a crafting table to make paper, as the recipe for paper calls for three (3) sugar cane positioned lengthwise. A 2×2 crafting grid won’t be big enough to craft lengthwise. You must create a crafting table to make paper successfully.

How to Mine Wood for Wood Planks

Mine Wood for Wood Planks

To create a crafting table, you’ll need four (4) wood planks. To get wood planks, you need to mine at least one (1) wooden block, which you can obtain by mining and harvesting from trees.

You can use any wood, so find the tree nearest you and walk towards it with the D-Pad, analog stick, mouse, or keyboard buttons. While facing the tree, start punching it by doing the following:

  • Education Edition: Left click and hold on the wood block.
  • Java Edition (PC/Mac): Left click and hold on the wood block.
  • Nintendo Switch: Press and hold the ZR button on the controller.
  • Nintendo Wii U: Press and hold the ZR button on the gamepad.
  • Pocket Edition (PE): Tap and hold on the wood block.
  • PlayStation: Press and hold the R2 button on the PS controller.
  • Windows 10 Edition: Left click and hold on the wood block.
  • Xbox: Press and hold the RT button on the Xbox controller.

The tree will drop a wooden block for each tree block you destroy. Simply walk over to the tree block to pick it up. Now, open your menu to move the wooden blocks into the crafting grid.

How to Craft Wood Planks and Open the Menu

If you’re new to Minecraft, you may not know how to open up your inventory to get to your crafting grid to make items. Read on to learn how to open the menu or skip to the recipe.

Crafting tables require one (1) piece of wood. To craft items in the 2×2 crafting menu, get to the pause menu by pressing Y on Xbox consoles, triangle on Playstation consoles, X on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch, and E for computers. Mobile users must press the ••• icon to pause.

Once your inventory is opened, it should look like the photo below:

Crafting Table

Grab one (1) piece of wood and drag it over to the crafting grid. 

If this is the first item you’ve picked up, it will be in the inventory grid that’s sectioned off at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, it will be somewhere in your “backpack” inventory above.

To select the item, use the D-Pad, analog stick, or mouse and either left-click or tap the item on mobile or mouse or use X for PlayStation consoles or A for Nintendo and Xbox consoles.

Note: To exit the menu, press ESC on computers. Press circle for PlayStation consoles and B for Nintendo and Xbox consoles. Players using mobile devices can select the X button.

Now that you have the item, drag it over with the D-pad, analog stick, or mouse and place it in the 2×2 crafting grid. You can place the wood block in any of the squares.

Now you should have four (4) wood planks. That’s all you need to craft a crafting table.

Recipe Needed to Create a Crafting Table

Pick up the four (4) wood planks from the right side of the crafting grid and place them back inside the left side. Once you put one (1) wood block in each vacant space, you’ll have crafted the crafting table. Take the crafting table from the left grid and place it in your bottom inventory.

If you’re crafting a crafting table with another crafting table, cluster the wood planks in the same way. You must put four (4) wood planks together as pictured, or the recipe won’t work.

If you’re using a crafting table to make another crafting table, you’ll have to cluster the 4 wood planks together in the same way.

Now, you can place it on the ground to use it. If you don’t know how to do this, read on.

How to Place the Crafting Table Down and Use It

Crafting Table

If you followed the steps from “Recipe Needed to Create a Crafting Table,” you should already have your crafting table in your inventory. You should see the crafting table in your “hand” inventory, which you can select in the main world. You should have your table in the first slot.

To select the item, toggle through the Overworld “hand” inventory (or hotkeys) by selecting 1-9 on the keyboard (or moving over and selecting it). Then, use the triggers (or LB, RB) to go left and right on the Xbox consoles, R1/L1 for PlayStation Consoles, and L/R for Nintendo consoles.

Now that you’ve highlighted the crafting table, place it down by doing the following:

  • Education Edition: Right-click on the block.
  • Java Edition (PC/Mac): Right-click on the block.
  • Nintendo Switch: Press the ZL button on the controller.
  • Nintendo Wii U: Press the ZR button on the gamepad.
  • Pocket Edition (PE): Tap the block.
  • PlayStation: Press the L2 button on the PS controller.
  • Windows 10 Edition: Right-click on the block.
  • Xbox: Press the LT button on the Xbox controller.

Once placed, walk up to the crafting table and select it with the same button you used to put it down. You’ll be greeted by a new 3×3 crafting menu that you can use to create objects.

Note: You should mine the crafting table and take it with you using the steps in “How to Mine Wood for Wood Planks.” If you don’t take your table, you’ll have to travel back to the location you placed it, or make a new one once you find paper. 

Part 2: Finding Sugar Cane

Finding Sugar Cane

IMPORTANT: Before you harvest sugar cane, make sure you gather it correctly. Destroying the sugar cane block closest to the ground will prevent it from growing back. If you plan on making a farm to harvest sugar cane for sugar and crafting paper, gather the whole stalk.

With a crafting table in hand, you can start going on an adventure. If you’re lucky, you’ll spawn next to a river, ocean, or pond with a large amount of sugar cane. You can find 1-3 block-high sugar cane fairly easily, but 4-block sugar cane will be harder to track down.

How to Mine Sugar Cane

Sugar cane can be mined instantly with any tool, including your hand. If a block the sugar cane grows on is mined, the entire shoot will break apart and drop as items. In Bedrock Edition only, sugar cane will break apart if all adjacent water is replaced by another block.

Pistons will also mine sugar can blocks if you place them next to the shoots, but pulling does nothing.

Sugar Cane Generation

Most blocks, like dirt and sand, have a chance to grow sugar cane on top as long as those blocks are near water. Sugar cane will not grow without an adjacent water mass.

Sugar cane generates in two (2) (11/18 chance), three (3) (5/18 chance), or four (4) (2/18 chance) blocks height. The world generator will only create a four (4) block sugar cane if it puts two (2) smaller sugar canes directly on top of each other, which is why they’re so rare. 

The game’s algorithm tries to generate sugar cane ten (10) times in all overworld biomes if that biome has a water source. Swamp biomes make twenty (20) attempts to spawn.

Under rare circumstances, the desert biomes won’t have any water at all, but it typically spawns a desert lake within the desert. Desert lakes make 50 attempts to create sugar cane, so search there!

Wandering Trader: Sugar Cane for Emeralds

If you find a wandering trader in the Overworld, you can sell sugar cane for emeralds. 

Part 3: Crafting Paper

Crafting Paper

You need three (3) sugar canes to make three (3) pieces of paper. To make every single recipe in Minecraft that requires paper, you’ll need thirty (30) individual sheets of paper. That means you’ll need to craft paper ten (10) times, which requires thirty (30) sugar cane. 

To craft sugar cane, use a crafting table (refer to “Create a Crafting Table” if you don’t have one) and place three (3) sugar cane in either the three top vacant spaces, the three middle vacant spaces, or the three bottom vacant spaces. The sugar cane must be horizontally placed.

Congratulations! You just crafted your first three (3) papers! If you want to create a sugar cane farm to produce more sugar cane, keep reading to find out the best way to optimize your farm.

How to Make a Sugar Cane Farm

Sugar Cane Farm

Sugar cane is valuable for crafting rockets (a weapon that damages blocks and enemies), making maps, bookshelves, books, and trading, as librarian villages like to trade paper for emeralds. 

How a Sugar Cane Farm Works

Sugar cane can be planted on sand, podzol, dirt, or grass. For sugar cane to grow, the plant must be next to or directly above a block of running water. 

In Bedrock Edition, sugar cane will break if the block below the can is broken, but in other editions, it only breaks after the world is updated. An update can take place during a save or by being a certain distance apart from the farm.

Farms in Minecraft grow based on “random ticks.” Random ticks determine the block’s height after each “cycle.” The cycle for sugar to grow 1 block in height is every 18 minutes or so, which means a sugar cane can grow to 3-blocks in 54-minutes.

It cannot grow to 4-blocks naturally. Sugar cane will continue to grow during the day and night. Stepping on sugar cane could kill it.

How to Set Up Your Sugar Cane Farm

Set Up Your Sugar Cane Farm

Sugar cane farms can be made in multiple ways, but if you want to start a farm by an ocean or a lake, you can do so to start. Eventually, it can become impractical if you want to make a mass amount of sugar cane at the time. It’s better to make a big farm first that you can add to later.

Double Row Design: The first design is what real sugar farmers use. The double row design is practical because it’s easy to harvest. It’s also the least efficient design since you can only grow two (2) sugar cane stalks per water.

It’s the easiest to build and can be turned into a semi-automatic farm. Use flowing water, so the sugar can flow to one location after the harvest.

semi-automatic farm

Checkered Design: The checkered or the grid type of design is seen as the most efficient way to plant sugar cane because you can plant four (4) sugar cane per one (1) water source.

While it will be harder for you to harvest the sugar cane, you receive more at a time. Players will place light blocks under the water, so mobs won’t spawn (the closed-in sugar makes those sections dark).

harvest the sugar cane

Alternative Checkered Design: Similar to the other checkered design, except the farm actually resembles a checkerboard instead of the latter, which moved the water source right.

The blue enclosed sugar farm groups the sugarcane similar to the checkered design, but you can see what it looked like with the water-filled in. Both methods are more efficient than the double row.

How to Make a Semi-Automatic Farm

While semi-automatic farms can be made in the Java Edition, they’re more difficult to pull off because the blocks underneath the sugar cane take an update to break. What separates a semi-automatic from an automatic is the farm’s inability to pick up the sugar cane once it breaks. Still, all semi-automated farms can be turned fully automatic with a few tweaks.

How to Make the Piston Harvester

A player will need to design pistons to push the sugar cane over, which will destroy the sugar cane and turn it into an item. For this to work, the player must install the piston on the second sugar cane block. If it’s installed lower, the sugar cane will break and not regrow. If it’s installed higher, you will receive less yield.

To make a piston, you must have three (3) wood planks, four (4) cobblestone, one (1) iron ingot, and one (1) Redstone dust. To get all of these materials, you’ll need an iron pickaxe and a furnace. Let’s take a quick look at how you can obtain these items in as little time as possible.

How to Mine Iron Ore: To mine iron ore, you must have a pickaxe made of stone, iron, diamond, or netherite. To make a stone pickaxe, you have to break cobblestone, which is located underground in abundance.

You’ll also need sticks, which are made by turning two (2) wooden planks (made by crafting one (1) wood block into four (4) wood planks) into sticks.

Once you have these ingredients, craft the pickaxe in the same way as the recipe above. You can make an iron, diamond, or netherite pickaxe in the same way; just replace the cobblestone.

How to Find Iron Ore: Iron ore is found underground. Iron ore looks like this:

Now that you have at least a stone pickaxe go hunting underground. Dig downwards until you find iron ore, which will generate 20 times per chine in a vein of 1-14 from levels 0-63. In Java Edition, after update 1.16.4, it’s possible to find an average of 112 ores per chunk.

The first iron ore you find will give you enough for at least one piston, but you will need more for a larger farm. Iron is incredibly useful, as it’s made to craft other tools and armor. Get as much iron ore as you can, then leave the underground to go back to your base and craft a furnace.

How to Make a Furnace and Iron Ingot: You’ll need a furnace to smelt iron ore into an iron ingot, but you will also need fuel. Feel free to use wood, but coal is the most efficient. If you happen upon a coal block while you were looking for an iron ingot, use that. Otherwise, stick to wood.

Furnaces require either eight (8) cobblestones or eight (8) blackstones. You’ll have more than enough cobblestone to craft a furnace by now. Follow the recipe below precisely.

Place it down to use it. When you open up the furnace menu, place the iron ore on the top vacant block space and your fuel (wood, for example) in the bottom vacant space.

When finished, make the iron pickaxe using the recipe from the “How to Mine Iron Ore” section.

How to Find Redstone and Make Redstone Dust: Redstone ore is found underground in blobs. It generates eight (8) times per chunk in 0-10 clusters and drops 29.5 ores per chunk. You can only mine Redstone with an iron pickaxe or higher. Anything less will break the ore.

Once found, mine it and collect the dropped Redstone dust. Did you notice that when you touched the block, it lights up? Redstone is used in recipes as a power source, hence the light!

How to Craft a Piston: At this point, you should have the following ingredients.

  • Three (3) planks of wood
  • Four (4) cobblestone
  • One (1) iron ingot
  • One (1) Redstone dust.

With these ingredients, we can craft pistons. Follow the recipe below to make one.

Now, you can place pistons around your farm on blocks higher than the bottom of the sugar cane. When done correctly, you should have a contraption that looks like this:

sugar cane

The sugar cane will grow from the dirt, and the pistons will ram into the sugar cane when you tap the pistons. You can operate the pistols by hand or by rigging them with Redstone dust. 

How to Make a Water Canal Harvester

A water canal harvester requires a double-rowed farm. Dispensers that contain water buckets inside will control the water flow between the double rowed farm. This semi-automatic farm works when the dispenser removes the water stream to break the sugar cane.

For this design, you’ll need to make water buckets and dispensers. You already know how to get the three (3) iron ingots to craft a bucket, but you won’t have the bow for the dispensers.

How to Craft a Bow: To craft a bow, you’ll need three (3) sticks and three (3) strings. To get the sticks, you’ll need to mine wood blocks and craft one (1) wood block to make four (4) wood planks. Then, use two (2) wood planks and position them in the recipe below for sticks.

Next, you’ll need to slay a few Spiders to get three (3) strings. Players could also get string from other enemies, like the Skeleton, or from breaking cobwebs, by bartering, from fishing, or by receiving a gift from your pet cat. Cobwebs are commonly found in dungeons underground.

How to Craft a Piston: At this point, you should have the following ingredients.

  • Seven (7) cobblestone (from casual exploring or by making Pistons)
  • One (1) Redstone dust (from crafting the pistons)
  • One (1) bow

With these ingredients, we can craft a dispenser. Follow the recipe below to make one.

Now you can place them around your farm, but you need to put them in water buckets first.

How to Craft a Water Bucket: At this point, you should have the following ingredients.

  • Three (3) iron ingots (from crafting pistons).

With these ingredients, we can craft a bucket. Follow the recipe below to make one.

Now you can place multiple buckets inside the piston. Be sure to fill them with water first.

When the pistons are placed at the end of a double row design farm, it will throw out buckets that will push the water away from the piston. This will move the sugar cane to one location. Coupled with pistons, you could have a fully rigged farm by putting down Redstone dust.

Creating an automatic farm is possible but won’t be discussed in this blog post.

How to Use Paper in Crafting

Use Paper in Crafting

Paper is necessary to create 12 recipes. Let’s take a look at what you can make with paper.

Banner Pattern Bordure Indented: Bedrock Edition Only

To create this recipe, the player must find one (1) vine, which is located in swamps, jungles, and lush caves, and one (1) paper. Follow the recipe below to craft Banner Pattern Bordure Indented.

Banner Pattern Creeper: Both Editions

To create this recipe, the player must find one (1) Creeper head, which can drop from a Creeper if that Creeper is killed by a charged Creeper. A charged Creeper is a Creeper that’s been struck by lighting within four (4) blocks. You’ll also need one (1) piece of paper. See recipe below.

Banner Pattern Field Masoned: Bedrock Edition Only

To create this recipe, the player must use one (1) brick block, which requires four (4) bricks, which must be made by smelting a clay ball in a furnace. Clay balls are created when the clay is broken.

Clay is found underwater in oceans, beaches, swamps, lakes, and rivers. When you break a clay block, you’ll receive 0-160 clay balls each, and you need one (1) per brick.

You can find full bricks in the wild in plains, village armorer houses, and underwater ruins. The player will also need one (1) paper for this recipe. Follow the instructions below to craft.

Banner Pattern Flower: Both Edition

To create this recipe, the player will need one (1) Oxeye Daisy, which is found in abundance in all Plains, and one (1) paper. You can follow the recipe below to create the Flower Banner.

Banner Pattern Skull: Both Edition

To create this recipe, the player needs one (1) Wither Skeleton skull (which has a 2.5% of dropping from a slain Wither Skeleton in the Nether) and one (1) paper. See recipe below.

Banner Pattern Thing: Both Edition

To create this recipe, they must locate the hard-to-find enchanted golden apple, which can only be found in dungeons, mineshafts, bastion remnants, desert temples, ruined portals, and the woodland mansion in a chest. You will also need one (1) paper. Follow the recipe below.

Book: Both Editions

To create this recipe, you need to find one (1) leather, which is obtained by killing cows, mooshrooms, donkeys, horses, llamas, mules, and horses. All of these mobs could drop 0-2 leather at a time. You will also need three (3) papers. Make the book by crafting it.

Note: Books are required to make enchanting tables, which are very useful.

Cartography Table: Both Editions

To create this recipe, the player should find any four (4) wood planks, which are created by crafting one (1) block for four (4) wood planks. You also need two (2) papers. See recipe below.

Empty Map: Both Editions (Called an “Empty Locator Map” in Bedrock Edition)

To create this recipe, the player needs to find expert-level librarian villagers who could sell them one (1) compass for 4 emeralds. You can obtain emeralds by trading paper to librarian villagers. To complete this recipe, you’ll need eight (8) papers. See the recipe below.

Empty Map: Bedrock Edition Only

To create this recipe, all the player has to do is add nine (9) papers to their crafting table.

Firework Rocket: Both Versions

To create this recipe, the player has to use one (1) of any Firework Star, one (1) paper, and at least one (1) gunpowder. The more gunpowder you add, the longer the rocket will last. Firework stars have multiple crafting recipes, including one (1) gunpowder and one (1) color dye.

To find gunpowder, kill Creepers (0-2 drop for each Creeper killed), Ghasts (0-2 drop for each Ghast killed), or Witches (0-6 drop for each Witch killed). Blue dye is created by using Lapis Lazuli (found in mines) or made using Cornflowers, located in all the Plains and Mountain Biomes.

Now, use the blue dye and gunpowder to craft a Blue Firework Star.

Now we have everything we need to craft the firework rocket. Enjoy the fireworks!

Firework Rocket (No Explosion): Both Versions

When crafted without the firework star, the firework won’t have an explosion effect when it hits the sky. The amount of gunpowder you put in the recipe will affect the duration of the rocket.

Paper can also be used to repair maps with an Anvil in the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: How do you get paper in Minecraft?

Answer: To get paper in Minecraft, you have to find three (3) sugar cane. Sugar cane grows beside the water and can be broken into multiple pieces of cane. Once you have sugar cane, use a crafting table to place three (3) sugar cane in a horizontal pattern either in the top vacant section, the middle vacant section, or the bottom vacant section. You’ve now created paper.

Question: Can you buy paper from villagers?

Answer: Yes, you can buy paper from villagers by exchanging paper for an emerald with a merchant or librarian villager. Emeralds are used to purchase goods from other villagers, making it easier to find difficult-to-craft items. It’s possible to find paper by stumbling upon a brand-new stronghold library chest, but it’s much easier to craft paper with sugar cane.

Question: Can you get paper in the Nether?

Answer: The Nether has a lot of interesting stuff, but it won’t have paper no matter where you look. Unless you bring paper into the Nether with you and store it somewhere, paper won’t be available anywhere, even inside the castle in a chest.

That means you can’t craft an Enchantment Table in a Nether-only challenge. You won’t be able to find sugar cane, as the Nether has no water.

Question: Can you make paper out of bamboo or wood?

Answer: As of writing this, you can’t create paper out of bamboo or wood, despite being able to do so in real life. It’s possible that Notch did this to make it more difficult to obtain paper, and therefore it would be more difficult to craft an Enchantment Table.

You will need wood planks to craft a crafting table, which is a necessary item to use when using three (3) sugar cane to make paper.

Conclusion

Paper looks unimportant by itself, but paper is capable of extraordinary things in other recipes. With paper, a player could make multiple banner patterns, replace empty maps, and start a firework show. Most importantly, the player can make books to create an Enchantment Table.

A word of advice: For more paper, create a sugar cane farm as soon as you’re able. Unless you want to go on an adventure every time you need paper, it’s more efficient to make a sugar cane farm on your home base. Sugar cane also produces sugar, which is needed for cakes and cookies.

Have fun creating tons of paper and sugar cane for your Minecraft world!

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