DIY Recycled Seed Paper and Homemade Valentines

Homemade seed paper made into plantable Valentine cards

Simple and green can be gorgeous too! We recycled paper into DIY seed paper, and then used it to create homemade plantable Valentine’s cards and confetti. 

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Using Homemade Recycled and/or Plantable Papers

Plantable papers are fun materials for making cards and gifts. For this example project, we cut and stamped basic free-formed DIY seed paper into small Valentine’s Day cards and seed-infused hearts; however, you can use the paper similar to construction-style paper for other types of craft projects. 

Homemade paper is usually extra thick, but it’s not quite as strong as commercial paper, so keep that in mind when handling and using. Additionally, variations in the surface may create an uneven appearance for stamps or increase edge contact – not to worry, it is all part of the rustic look! It may also be thicker than some cutters or punches can handle.

DIY seed paper Valentines with a ribbon wrapped gift box and dried roses

Making Homemade Plantable Seed Paper

Making Paper Pulp

Preparing Waste Paper for Making Homemade Recycled Paper

  • Shred paper into manageable pieces.
  • Soak shredded paper in water.  The more robust the paper, the longer the soak. For example, newsprint is ready very quickly, standard white paper takes a while longer to truly soften up.  
  • Once fully soaked and softened, puree the paper in water using a sturdy blender or food processor. Pulse first to break up the larger pieces and then puree into a pulpy mixture.  

Tinting Recycled Paper Pulp (Optional)

  • If tinting, transfer to a bowl, add dye (e.g. food colouring) and allow to sit for a while before proceeding to the next step. 

Newsprint will take on a grey hue when pureed, and this will remain when dry and will darken any tint.  If you want whiter paper or a white base for a pale colour, you will need to work with a whiter paper product, such as standard paper.  If you want a particular tint, coloured egg cartons often offer a nice pre-made pastel coloured base.

Adding Seeds to Make DIY Plantable Seed Paper (Optional)

Adding seeds to the homemade paper is optional. But without it, these will just be homemade paper crafts and not plantables, of course. 

For embedded seeds to make seed paper, you can mix your chosen small direct-sow seeds with the pureed paper at the pulp stage. Alternatively, in lieu of mixing into the pulp, you can pat them into the surface after pouring (see below) for controlled distribution. Or you can do a little bit of both. 

The amount of seed will depend on your plans for the finished paper. A small amount works for a project that you plant as a whole while a larger amount is needed for a project where the paper is cut or punched into smaller pieces in order to ensure that each piece has some seeds.

Making Homemade Paper from Prepared Pulp

Paper can be made in sheets (frame or freehand) or you can pre-shape using customised frames.  Window screens, mesh attached to an old picture frame, or mesh through an embroidery hoop all make easy screens with built in frames for shaping. Cookie cutters make fun mini-frames and you can experiment with muffin pans or silicon moulds to make shaped seed bombs, although you’ll need to squeeze and sponge moisture from those rather than pressing it out through mesh. You can also forgo frames all together and free-form using mesh placed directly on a permeable surface, like your lawn – easy peasy. We’re freeforming our DIY seed papers papers and cutting to shape later.

Pouring and Draining:

  • Set up your stiff (or well-supported) screening material.  
  • Dilute your pulp with extra water if/as needed to get a nice free-flowing uniform pulpy mixture.
  • Over a suitable drainage location, pour the mixture onto your screen. Try to ensure an even distribution. Ink from the paper and/or tinting may stain surfaces, so drain with care. I like to work outside, but if this isn’t an option, you could use a laundry sink or set-up a large plastic container as a catch basin for pouring and draining.

Pressing:

  • Press to remove excess moisture.  You can do this by hand patting, or a rolling pin may be useful if you need help pressing or flatting your pulp. If working outside, this can be done directly on over your lawn or other safe working area. Otherwise protect your surfaces if needed using a suitable container and/or layers of rags or old towels.

 Drying:

  • Optional: Remove the wet paper from the screen onto another firm breathable drying surface. If your paper is well pressed, it should turn out intact onto your drying surface if your screen is inverted with care.  You can also allow to dry on your mesh screen (I did). This is the simplest and safest approach, especially if you’re free forming your papers, since removal of dry paper from a shaped frame isn’t a concern.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly before use. This will take approximately 24hours (give or take) in a warm dry area. If you have a little residual moisture, pressing between dry towels using a warm (not hot – remember you have seeds in there) iron can help. Again, beware of dry transfer if tinted.
  • If your paper is dry, but has dried a little wonky or curved/cupped, you can press it under a heavy object (e.g. a stack of heavy books) to help flatten before use.

Careful, crafters… During the wet phase, this can be rather messy business. Fun, but messy . Soak any stains ASAP and do a full clean-up as quickly as possible. Newsprint in particular will leave inky residue. Using glassware may help make cleaning a little easier. If kids are helping, wear suitable clothes and take extra care for likely messes.

Making DIY recycled seed paper

Our Homemade Plantable Seed Paper Valentines

Our plantable Valentine cards were made using our homemade free-formed DIY seed paper (if you’re curious, we used viola seeds) in a combination of natural newsprint, pink tinted newsprint, natural white, and pink tinted white paper. That way, you get to see a variety of examples in our post.  

Our finished and dried seed papers were cut to suit our stamp shapes, corners rounded for a slightly more finished look, and we stamped a variety of designs in Valentine pink with complimentary accents of garden-friendly green.  Small off-cuts and extras were punched to make a jar of plantable hearts – a cute present or favour idea!  If you have extra off-cuts or leftovers, you can simply plant them yourself. 

Plantable seed paper Valentine cards with dried pink miniature roses

Greener Gift Wrapping Ideas

Homemade plantable paper is a fun DIY for making with kids, but it also looks great in grown-up natural and rustic styled projects. For the styled photos in this post, a basic reusable paper gift box was tied with a simple reusable satin ribbon, topped with a homemade plantable seed paper card, and embellished with a sprig of dried mini roses from our garden for a simple but beautiful greener gift wrap. The heart confetti is plantable, too! We have a post in the works on drying and preserving flowers, including dehydrated roses as shown and will be sharing all the details here. More soon!

DIY Recycled Seed Paper and Homemade Valentines

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