Handmade Paper to Plant & Grow

We all know the price of greeting cards! We all know the amount of junk mail we get every day, right? So why not solve both problems and make greeting cards out of the junk mail you say? Better yet lets make your greeting card a gift while you are at it. Lets put flower seeds in the paper so the receiver can plant the card and watch the gift grow.  Here is how I do it.

Sort your paper carefully, no glossy paper will work, envelopes will work but be sure to remove the plastic windows and stay away from those advertisement inserts with all of the color. Remember when you mix several colors you usually get an ugly gray so sort, sort, sort! You can use food coloring to get a certain color. Copy paper from your own printer works great. If you really don’t care what the color is paper egg cartons work wonderful for pulp.

Materials you need- junk mail got any? Of course! By now you know what kind of paper you need.

Seeds of a variety easy to grow

Paper towel

Lots of newspaper

Picture frame apx. 14”x16” no larger, I made mine out of trim boards I had laying around

6” deep plastic tub that your frame will lay in with room for you to pick it up

Electric blender

Window screen

Stapler

The size of your frame will be the size of your paper sheets you have to work with when you are done. Staple the window screen over your frame. This needs to be very secure; I brought mine all the way around the frame and stapled it on the inside. Place your screen-covered frame in your tub with the flat side down.

Ok lets get our workspace ready, cover the table with several layers of newspaper. Have your paper towels handy and a towel, you could sure use rags or towels instead of paper towels if you have enough it takes quite a few. You can reuse the paper towels, I let them dry and use them again on my next batch, I have even been know to iron them during the process or hang them out to dry then store them in my tub with the screen until next time.

Tear your paper into shreds or run through a shredder if you are lucky enough to have one, fill your blender half way with your shredded paper and add around 2 cups warm water. Blend until you have the paper all ground into a pulp. Pour into your tub over your frame. You may need to adjust the amount of water according to your blender the amount will not hurt in the end. Repeat several times while you are in the mess you might as well make several sheets. Now is the time to decide on the color you want. If you want more than one color do one, rinse the tub and do another.  

Now comes the fun part take hold of your frame and swish it around to remix the pulp and water evenly in the tub then slowly bring your frame straight up out of the mixture. Hold it over the tub until you can see if you have an even thin layer of pulp distributed over your frame, if not immerse it again swish and repeat until it is. When you are satisfied lay it over the edge of your frame. Sprinkle your seeds on your pulp quickly before all the water runs out, you can gently mist over your seeds if they don’t seem to be imbedded. You will get the hang of this step quickly don’t worry. With your flat hand carefully press the water out of the pulp. Now flip your frame over and carefully pop your paper pulp out on your paper towel covered newspaper by tapping on the corners first. If it tears and isn’t in large enough pieces to use   just put it back in your tub and try again. Once it is out of the frame it should not be disturbed until it is fairly dry or it will tear so be sure you can leave it where it is several hours or overnight depending on how thick your paper is and much water you get out of it. You will have to experiment to learn how thick or thin you want your paper but the thinner the better for planting I feel. Normally if your paper wrinkles or curls on the edges press it flat with your iron; but for planting seeds I wouldn’t put the heat to it.

Well there you have the basics, how you make your card or gift of planting paper is up to you. I usually include a handmade packet of the same seeds I have imbedded in the paper with my card; I have found people don’t want to part with the handmade card. I have added a photo of one of my basic seed cards to my album for an example; all it needs is the message tag on the front and the packet of seeds inserted. This one has zinnia seeds in the pulp. You will notice this one is a dark green; I spray painted the paper with florist spray paint. The idea is that the recipient will tear the card up and plant the shreds but I have yet to find anyone that has parted with their card.

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