Friday, September 12, 2008

Making your own Seed Paper

Seed paper is a fun project that can be quite addicting. With just a few basic items, you can make this wonderful paper. The paper can be used to make cards that the recipient can later plant in their flower bed. Here is how to make your own seed paper.


scraps of paper - make sure it doesn't have any inks that contain chemicals that could harm your plants
dishpan or other deep container
sponge or absorbant dish/hand towel
embroidery hoop with a scrap of sheer curtain fbric or cheesecloth stretched tightly in it.
bath towel
flannel or old t-shirts
flower or herb seeds


Tear you scraps of paper into small pieces about the size of a quarter and place into the dishpan. When I have made paper, I liked to fill the dishpan about 1/3 full of the paper scraps. Next, fill the dishpan with hot water and let the mixture set overnight. This will soften and loosen the threads of fiber in the paper. You can speed up the process by running some paper with warm water through your blender, but I find this method works very well also. One note: the more paper you have in the pan, the thicker the sheets of paper will be.

Stir the paper mixture (called a slurry) to make sure the paper has broken down and become very soft. If needed, I use a wisk to wisk the paper slurry to break up the paper even more. At this point, add the seeds sprinkling some on the top of the slurry. The seeds, if small, will rest on top of the slurry mixture.

Place a doubled layer of cheesecloth into an embroidery hoop frame stretched tightly. This will be the paper mold. Gently dip the embroidery hoop into the side of the dishpan and in a gently swaying motion, bring the hoop up to the surface of the water. The paper pulp with seeds mixed in will rest ontop of the cheesecloth. Let the excess water drain through the cheesecloth. If you notice thin patches or holes in your paper, you can gently place the hoop back into the water or very carefully, add more pulp by dipping a large spoon into the slurry and gently pouring it onto the areas where more pulp is needed.

Working on a folded towel, lay a piece of flannel, old t-shirt fabric or a scrap of cheesecloth on the towel. Carefully flip the hoop upside down with the pulp on the fabric. Working with a sponge, press out as much water as possible from the back of the hoop. This step is important as the more water you remove the easier the paper is to remove from the hoop. Wring out your sponge often to get the best results.

Once you have removed as much water as possible, gently peel of the hoop from the fabric. The paper should stay on the fabric and easily release from the hoop. If the paper doesn't release then either you pulled the hoop away too quickly or not enough water was removed. Once you have removed the hoop, leave your paper on the scrap of fabric.

Repeat the process making as many sheets of paper as you want. When finished, lay a scrap of fabric on top. Next, place a cookie sheet with some heavy cans on top to "couch" the paper and press out even more water. Let set for a few minutes or until there is no more water being pressed from the paper.

Remove the cookie sheet and weights from the stack of paper. Separate the layers of fabric with paper still attached and lay them in the sun to dry fully or you can hang them on a clothesline. The drying process can take up to 12 hours depending on the temperature and amount of sunlight.

Once fully dried, gently peel the paper off of the fabric sheets. You can use the paper to make notecards, stationary, journals, or in scrapbooks.

To plant the seed paper: You can either tear the paper into pieces and plant directly into your garden or little flower pots using a good soil mix. The seeds will sprout and grow while the paper breaks down and becomes compost in the soil.

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