Make your own recycled seed paper | | What you can do | David Suzuki Foundation

Use it, then plant it!

Making seed paper is a great way to learn about science and the cycles of nature.

Trees give us the paper we use every day. You can give new life to paper products by turning them into beautiful sheets of homemade paper, embedded with flower and herb seeds. Make cards, bookmarks, gift tags, and wrapping paper. When you're finished with them, go outside and plant them — in pots or in your garden!

This recipe is also available as a printable PDF.

Materials & Equipment

  • Scrap paper: newspapers, magazines (not high gloss), pre-soaked non-waxed boxes, greeting cards, paper grocery bags, flyers, unused paper napkins, phonebook pages, envelopes, receipts, etc.
  • Seeds: must be small and flat; choose non-invasive species such as forget-me-not and poppy flowers, or herbs such as basil, mint, and thyme*
  • Scissors or paper shredder (or tear by hand)
  • Sink OR large, flat tub
  • Blender OR bowl and eggbeater
  • Measuring cup
  • Old frame (e.g., picture frame) OR scrap wood and screws to make your own (measure to fit inside your sink or tub)
  • Mesh screen (the stiffer the better)
  • Tacks or stapler
  • Wax paper (size of your frame)
  • Glass jar or rolling pin (helps press water out)
  • Rags or dishcloths (must be larger than your frame) OR newspapers
  • Cardboard
  • Iron

Note: Choose species that are native to your area. These will vary depending on where you are in the world.

Directions

  1. Tack or staple the screen tightly across the frame.
  2. Tear or shred scrap paper into small pieces. Soak in warm water for 30 minutes.
  3. Half fill the blender or bowl with paper mixture and water. Blend or beat until smooth.
  4. Add blended mixture (pulp) to your sink or tub, about three blender loads.
  5. Stir in seeds.
  6. Dip the screened frame into the pulp mixture. Move it gently from side to side. Try to catch an even layer of pulp on the screen.
  7. Lift the frame to let water drain through. Rest it on a stack of towels or newspapers. Place wax paper sheet on top and roll across paper to squish out moisture.
  8. Once the dripping has stopped, place the frame — pulp side down — onto a dry dishcloth.
  9. Carefully lift the screen. The paper should drop out easily onto the cloth. (You might need to tap it with your fingers.)
  10. Once you have a stack of seed paper sheets separated by dishcloths, put a piece of cardboard on top of the stack and apply pressure to squeeze out any remaining water.
  11. Let paper dry completely (overnight).
  12. Gently pull cloth pieces away.
  13. Optional: complete drying by placing paper between dry dish towels and pressing with a warm iron.

Planting Instructions

The paper part of your creation will compost naturally, so you can plant it either in indoor pots or outside in the spring or summer. Cut into strips for a colourful flower or herb border in your garden!

Tips

  • Experiment! Different paper scraps will produce varying effects.
  • For colour, add flower petals, chopped herbs, pulped berries, or vegetables.
  • Lay leaves or pressed flowers on pulp when it's still in the screen before rolling. Leave 'em in for colour; peel 'em off for texture.
  • If you're making gifts, don't forget to include planting instructions and the type of seeds!

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