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Making Homemade Paper You Can Plant

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September 28, 2010

Homemade Paper You Can PlantMaking handmade plantable paper is a beautiful way to share the beauty and bounty of your flower and vegetable garden with fellow gardeners, while recycling paper into garden compost. You can modify the following directions to create inexpensive ornaments, invitations and note cards-or whatever your creative imagination can dream up!

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This recipe assumes your paper will end up planted, and avoids the use of chemicals, inks and dyes that can be harmful to growing plants and the environment. Different papers will produce different effects so have fun experimenting with colors, textures and weight.

Good Paper Choices:

Other Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Tear paper into nickel-sized pieces, or use a paper shredder and place in blender (to half full). Make sure to remove any staples! You can also add bits of hemp or other natural fibers that may be safely composted once planted. Fill the blender with warm water. Blend for about 60 seconds on low to medium speed. Continue to increase the speed until no paper flakes remain and pulp appears smooth.
  2. Now make a mold by tightly tacking screen or mesh onto a frame of the desired size.
  3. Fill the washtub about half full of water and pour in pulp from blender. Add in at least 3 blender loads of paper-more if desired (the more pulp, the thicker the paper). Add in flower or vegetable seeds. Small, flat seeds like, forget-me-not, hollyhock, chili pepper and tomato seeds work wonderfully. Stir the mixture.
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  5. Slip the frame into the washtub, gently moving it from side to side to get the pulp around to the top of the frame level and to the desired thickness. Let the layer of pulp settle and slowly lift the frame up so it is above water level. Let it drain for a moment and check to see if it is level. Fill the turkey-baster with pulp from the washtub and use it to fill in any uneven spots or gaps in the pulp.
  6. After removing the frame from the water, let it drain. When it stops dripping, carefully lay the frame (pulp side down) onto a fabric square or an old dishcloth. Use the sponge to press out as much water as possible (wring excess water back into tub).
  7. This step may take some practice to master so be patient. Holding the fabric square flat, slowly lift up and remove the frame. The wet paper should remain on the fabric. If the paper sticks to the screen, you may have pulled too fast or not pressed enough water out of the paper. Once you successfully remove the frame, gently smooth out any noticeable air bubbles or rough edges.
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  9. Keep repeating steps 4-6 and stack the fabric squares (or dish towels) on a cookie sheet. When finished, place a piece of cardboard on top of the last piece and use bricks or another cookie sheet to press out the remaining water in the stack.
  10. Gently separate sheets and dry them on a clothesline or out in the sun for 12-24 hours. When they are dry, gently separate the paper from the fabric squares (or dish towels).

For great gifts, use cookie cutters or stencils to trace holiday shapes. Cut them out and attach a ribbon for thoughtful gifts that last beyond the holiday season. Other uses for home made paper include scrapbooks, stationary and note cards, journal or photo album covers, lampshades, etc.

Don't Forget the Instructions for Planting

Tear off bits of paper containing seed and plant directly in the ground-the paper will compost naturally. To pre-sprout the seeds, place dampened paper into a plastic bag and check periodically that paper remains moist. Keep the plastic bag at the appropriate temperature until seeds sprout and transplant them into pots or directly into the garden.

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4 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 21, 2009

I've been making paper at home for a few weeks and recently I stumbled upon your article, How to Make Home Made Paper You Can Plant. I was hoping you might be able to help with a few problems I've had with this:

Thank you for your help. Chelsea from Reno, NV

Answers

By Phyllis (Guest Post)
January 22, 20090 found this helpful

Chelsea - what are you using to make your paper in? If you have an old picture frame, staple a piece of window screen to fit and pour the paper pulp into it, that's what makes it flat.

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Lay it out on an old piece of felt to dry, you can fold it before it is completely dry. Use more water than pulp, to make it thin.

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August 27, 20090 found this helpful

The easiest way to make thin paper:

Use a large container to mix your paper pulp in & don't add too much pulp {I use Egyptian cotton linters in rubbermaid containers and mix it with a paint mixer attached to a drill or even my handheld blender} then put your frame {with the screening} down under the paper & water and lift straight up, if it's too thick just dump it back in & practice lifting, deciding how far you need to put the screen down into the water to get the amount of paper you want.

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You can also make a quick easy screen by using nylon screening and a plastic embroidery hoop, the kind with the screw tightener.

To make the paper very stiff you can add laundry starch to the water but know that once the starch is in the paper it won't be reusable so only add the amount you need.

You can also pour a plaster "bat" {just some plaster any size you like} and dry the paper on it, it will absorb the water faster and make the paper smooth, put another on the top and let it dry. You can also carve pix into the "bat" after it hardens and then throw your paper on it & push into the lines with a thick towel and let it dry, it won't stick when you pull it out and you can make some beautiful pix to give as cards or frame and hang.

I use iron on embroidery transfers {I can't draw a lick!} and then use nails, knives, files, pins or whatever to carve into the lines and make my pix.

Deckled edges are beautiful if you take a fork or cake cutter and pull the edges of the wet paper, stringing them out. I also use cookie cutters and various other things to make my paper, just put them on the screen before dipping into the paper and remove the excess afterwards.

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August 27, 20090 found this helpful

Here is a pix of what my set up looks like.

 
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September 28, 2010

How do you make plain plantable paper?

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March 16, 2010

How do you make plain plantable paper?

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