Flat paper stained with water buckles and wrinkles as it swells and deforms out of the original plane. Here we quantify the geometry and mechanics of a strip of paper that swells when it imbibes water from a narrow capillary. Characterizing the hygroexpansive nature of paper shows that thickness-wise swelling is much faster than in-plane water imbibition, leading to a simple picture for the process by which the strip of paper bends out of the plane. We model the out-of-plane deformation using a quasi-static theory and show that our results are consistent with quantitative experiments.

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