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Learn how to make your own plantable seed paper.



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What Is Seed Paper?

Seed paper is a handmade paper embedded with the seeds of wildflowers or herbs. Plantable seed paper is biodegradable, so when you bury it in the ground and water it, the paper disintegrates into the soil and the seeds sprout. You can turn seed paper sheets into greeting cards, wedding invitations, gift tags, or bookmarks that your friends can recycle back into the earth.

7 Materials for Making DIY Seed Paper

You don’t need special tools to make seed paper—just a few household items.

  1. Seeds: Non-invasive wildflower seeds and low-maintenance herbs like lavender are popular choices since they're often sown by broadcasting, or scattering seeds over an empty bed and covering loosely with soil. Unlike vegetable seeds, wildflower and herb seeds can typically be planted densely. Choose seeds that are small and have a good germination rate. The other thing to consider is size: If you're writing on the paper, you'll need small seeds—no peas, beans, or calendula.
  2. Paper: You can make handmade plantable paper out of any non-glossy paper: newspaper, tissue paper confetti, construction paper, junk mail, or regular printer paper. You'll need about one-and-a-half cups of shredded paper to make one small greeting card.
  3. A window screen: You'll need a mesh screen and frame on which to dry your paper. An old window screen works great. If you don't have one lying around, you can buy mesh screen material at a hardware store and attach it to an empty frame with staples or tacks.
  4. Blender: Use a blender to transform soaked shredded paper into paper pulp. If you don't have a blender, try chopping your paper into small pieces. You should use an old blender for this, or buy a used one at a thrift store—don’t use the same blender you use daily for smoothies or margaritas.
  5. Large baking pan, basin, or sink: You will fill this container with paper pulp, so it needs to be larger than your window screen.
  6. Spoon: Use an old kitchen spoon to press the paper pulp into the screen.
  7. Felt or towels: Use felt or towels to absorb excess moisture.
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How to Make DIY Seed Paper in 5 Steps

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to make DIY seed paper.

  1. Prepare the paper. The night before you want to make seed paper, shred your paper into strips with a paper shredder, or cut it into half-inch strips. Soak the paper overnight in a large bowl of warm water.
  2. Make paper pulp. In an old or used blender, combine shredded, soaked paper with enough water to create a smooth paste. Blend until the paper reaches a thick, soup-like consistency. Transfer the paper pulp to a large basin, baking pan, or sink and stir in the seeds.
  3. Shape the paper. Make paper sheets by dipping one side of your framed screen into the paper-pulp-filled basin. Turn the screen over to form an even layer of pulp on top of the screen. Lift the screen and let it drain for a few seconds, then remove the excess water by pressing the paper pulp into the screen using a spoon.
  4. Turn out the paper. On a towel-lined surface, invert the screen so that the paper falls onto the towel. Let the seed paper dry for at least 24 hours.
  5. Make seed paper products. Once your seed paper is completely dry, cut it into the shape of greeting cards, gift tags, or other paper goods.


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How to Plant Seed Paper

If your seed paper is large, rip the seed paper into small pieces. This will help the paper decompose into the soil. If your paper is small, simply place it in an empty bed or pot filled with potting soil and cover with about a quarter-inch of potting soil. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist until seedlings have sprouted.

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Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass Annual Membership and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.