Seed Paper Project
My kid and I enjoyed making Seed Paper this weekend. Have you ever heard of it?
Seed paper is an eco-friendly paper made from recycled materials and embedded with wildflower or other seeds. When you plant the paper in your garden or a container, the seeds in the paper germinate and grow! The paper makes a fun and creative way to both recycle material and create a unique gift for gardening friends. There are several steps involved, but each step is simple to complete and easy to engage with school-aged children.
There are many great tutorials for creating seed paper available on YouTube or through other blogs so I won’t get too heavily into the details here. For some, they have specialty designed materials to enable crafters to reproduce consistent results. For us, this project is all about using what is on hand to “make it work!” Each batch of paper is a little different, which I think adds to its charm. We made use of materials scavenged from around our acreage, often discarded remains from previous projects or picked up in passing.
Prepare Your Paper Material
It is a fun way to recycle old paper egg cartons or the paper drink trays picked up with your drive thru or carry out orders. For our large batch of paper, we only needed three such items.
To prepare the paper fibers, we needed to break them down. First we removed any labels from the paper products. Then we tore them into manageable sizes, about two to four inches in size. The next step was fun to watch! We added the paper sections into a blender with enough water to ensure a smooth slurry type consistency. For the three original paper products we started with, we used about two gallons of water. You can see in the picture, it looks a bit like creamed corn. However, I would not recommend tasting it!
Prepare Your Screen
The next step requires a screen to spread out our paper slurry. The screen needed to be small enough in size to ensure it would hold all our fine bits of paper fibers. It also needed to be large enough to allow the excess water to drain away and air to flow around the entire area. This would ensure the paper dries completely, preventing any mold or early sprouting from our seeds.
For our purposes, we found a small roll of window screen material tucked away in our shed. It required a good rinse before we moved forward, but otherwise worked out great! We wrapped our screen around a pallet left over from another project, and used some scrap wood to define our workspace. This helped prevent our paper fiber slurry from pouring over the edge in the next step.
TIP: For teachers, homeschoolers and crafters who plan to do this often, you can easily construct smaller, handheld screens using precut wooden canvas frames. These can be found at hobby stores or online. Construct the frame to your desired size, then staple window screen or similar material to the frame. These smaller frames are great for smaller projects or multiple projects, such as with a classroom setting.
Pour Your Paper
After you have constructed your screen, it is time to pour your paper fiber slurry. Be mindful of the water sure to splash out from beneath your screen. That is usually something I forget about and end up with wet shoes for the rest of the project!
Be sure to spread your slurry across your screen so that it is approximately .25 to .5 inches thick. You don’t want it too thin, or the paper will develop holes while it dries and shrinks. You also don’t want it too thick, or it will not dry completely, causing your end result to mold or seeds to sprout prematurely.
Pat Your Seeds
Once your paper is spread across the screen, you are ready to add your seeds! You can use whatever seeds you wish for your project. For today’s project, we used a seed mix from our local gardening center. It is a bright wildflower mix with high-pollen flowers, which make them ideal for attracting honey bees! We simply “broadcast” the seeds by shaking the open package evenly across our paper. You want to be careful not to add too many seeds, or they will be over crowded once growing in their new garden space.
TIP: Another fun seed combination when working with children is starting an herb garden. We like to combine basil, oregano, rosemary or thyme. Sometimes we throw in tomato and pepper seeds, too, to create a “pizza garden.” For homeschooling lessons, I often pass out each seed selection individually on a paper plate. This lets the kids examine the differences between the types of seeds that will soon be growing in their garden. For efficiency, seeds can be purchased in a mix or a mix created and provided to the children in small paper cups.
Allow to Dry
This is the hardest part for me (and the kids)! We made our large batch in the morning so that it had all day in the sun to dry.
Share your paper!
We like to cut or tear our paper into about 3” x 5” sections and attach a tag with plant information and planting instructions. Your seed paper instructions will be the same as the planting and care instructions for the seeds you choose to include in your paper.
This article is an original by Christy Hagan of the blog Christy Makes Friends. Please do not steal images or content as your own. If you’d like to share this article, you may provide a link to this post, but please do not reprint it on your website.
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This is such an amazing idea! Now I have to try it – and then immediately plant the papers, to see what happens.
How easy is the paper to write on?
Hi Friend, I am glad you liked the post! Each batch turns out a bit differently. The texture can change due to the materials used and how finely they blend together. This batch turned out too rough to work for standard pens or pencils. The final paper is absorbent, so there is also an issue with markers bleeding. While I would not recommend this seed paper recipe for a stationary item, you can write well enough on it for kids to include their name or simple images.