Give second life to paper scraps and a first life to seeds when you create handmade seed paper. After the paper has been used, you can simply plant it in warm, moist soil, where the seeds will sprout and the paper will serve as compost. Add growing instructions and a birthday card made from this paper becomes a gift as well!
Things You'll Need
Non-glossy white paper, such as newspapers or computer paper
Small, flat seeds
Sink or large, flat basin
Frame, such as an old picture frame, that will fit into the sink or basin
Stiff mesh screen
Tacks or stapler
Dishcloths, larger than the frame
Scissors or shredder
Glass jar or rolling pin
Large flat spoon
Cut the mesh screen to fit the frame. Staple or tack firmly to the frame.
Tear, cut or shred the paper into small pieces and soak in warm water for 30 minutes to soften.
Fill the blender halfway with the soaked paper and blend until smooth.
Pour pulp into the sink or basin. Stir in the seeds.
Dip the frame into the pulp mixture, moving gently from side to side for an even layer of pulp.
Lift the screen and allow the water to drain. Press the water out with a sheet of waxed paper the size of the screen, a large flat spoon or a glass jar.
Turn the frame pulp-side down onto a dry dishcloth once it stops dripping. Slowly lift the screen. The paper should drop onto the cloth. Tap gently if the paper sticks.
Dry the paper completely, at least overnight.
Use small seeds, such as those for snapdragons, poppy flowers, basil or thyme. Large seeds, such as squash or coriander seeds, will easily fall out of the dried paper. Choose seeds that will thrive in the growing zone they will be planted in.
Brown paper bags or white paper without a glossy finish can be recycled and used in the garden as mulch or compost. Use this kind of paper for the best results. Newspapers, junk mail or even old bills can be used for seed paper. Glossy paper and some colored inks use chemicals that can damage plants, so are not good for this project.
The white paper can be colored by using berries, vegetables, flower petals or herbs without harming the seeds. Flower petals can be added in the blender and ground up or added with the seeds to add texture as well as color.
Do not add the seeds while blending the paper pulp, as the blender blades will crush the seeds and they will not grow.