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Seedling Pots From Phone Book Pages

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I was working on my front lawn when I noticed a supplemental telephone directory had been left on my porch. I never use telephone books for their intended purpose, but I could use this one to keep a promise.

I told Judy Pariser I would do an article on how I made seedling pots. They are so easy to make. I usually make several hundred a year. While I don't think most people would make that many, it's good to get an early start on them.

I think of making the pots as being somewhat like knitting or crocheting. You keep all your supplies and materials ready and handy. Then as the occasion arises, maybe watching 'As The World Turns' (This time, I'm dating myself), you can make a few pots til the episode is over. By doing a few at a time, it doesn't become monotonous.

I like making the pots with telephone pages. They're practically pre cut. You can make several size pots with the one size page, and as far as I know, all telephone books are now printed with soy ink and should be safe for your seedlings and garden.

If you can get the thinner supplemental books as I have here, it's best to use them. That's because the hardest part of making these pots is separating the pages from the spine. The thinner the book, the easier that part will be.

First, rip some pages from the spine. Rip whatever amount you are comfortable working with.

Then begin folding the pages. How you fold the pages and whether you use a single page or more will be determined by the size pot you make. A single page might make a strong enough pot if the pot is quite small. Larger pots should be made with two or more pages. Here, I am making a size pot I use most, so I know two pages will be best.

Take two pages at the free end and fold them in half, aligning them with the spine. Using your fingers, or smoothing bone if you have one, put a nice crease in the fold. Then rip the folded pages from the spine and set aside. You can continue doing this til you have a stack of pages as high as you want to work with.
Sometimes, I stay at this point and fold several hundred pairs of pages. They will be ready when I come back to the project.

For the size I'll be making, I'm using a candle glass as a form.
I like for all the pots to fit nicely in whatever will be holding them. The candle glass was a bit small for this purpose. So, I wrapped a layer of thick paper, (I used a piece of cereal box), around the glass to make the form larger. Note that the upper end of the thick paper serves as my placement guide for the pages.

The creased edge of the pages is aligned with the top of the guide.

Use thumb/fingers of one hand to keep the pages taut and in alignment with the guide. With the other hand, continue wrapping the pages around the form. (Yes, that's dirt under my thumbnail. I just came in from gardening).

Secure the free edge of the pages near the top with a small piece of masking tape. When making larger pots, you may need a second piece of tape placed near the bottom.

Turn the form upside down. Fold a section of the pages that contains the free edge over onto the bottom of the form. The pages should extend to a bit over half way of the bottom.

Continue folding, first, right and left sides and then the back. Try to bring the point of the back section to where it aligns with the top tape. This will make a stronger pot. With a longer piece of masking tape, secure the finished pot.

Slide pot off form.

Now, all I need is nineteen more to fill this handy little soda tray I found along a highway.

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July 10, 20170 found this helpful

I knew something didn't look right.

Here is the picture that should go with the text: Secure the free edge of the pages near the top with a small piece of masking tape. When making larger pots, you may need a second piece of tape placed near the bottom.

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July 10, 20170 found this helpful

Very smart. Love this idea!

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July 11, 20170 found this helpful

Yeah, I like making them. It keeps me off the streets at night. My only problem is finding enough telephone books.

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July 11, 20170 found this helpful

Thanks! I'm going to do this.

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July 13, 20170 found this helpful

This will give my daughter something useful to do while we watch our Korean Drama episodes in the evening (why Korean? very,very clean scripts but not boring - usually). Very few American shows are okay for family viewing and not worth the money TV shows cost (my personal opinion). Off my soapbox for now.

I'm glad you posted this as I thought I was going to have to buy the ready made pots. Now - get ready to post what "soil" you fill them with(?).


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July 14, 20170 found this helpful

I have no plans at this time to post an article on what I use to fill the pots.

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July 17, 20170 found this helpful

I've been making my newspaper pots in the same fashion for years. I cut a "Daily News" into 3-inch strips. However, instead of tape, I use the water soluble craft glue sticks. Recently I started using a small piece of 2x2 wood and making the pots. The square shape makes it easier to fold and seal the bottom of the pots and they fit better in the trays I have.

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