Wednesday, June 20, 2012
How to Make Plantable Paper
Making paper with your kids is a great way to teach them about recycling and a really fun project they will enjoy. When I started to show my daughter how to make plantable paper, she was immediately curious about it. She wanted to know if it was the way they made the paper she writes on and if all paper is made out of trees. She had many more questions so it was a great jumping point for talking about the use of natural resources and recycling.
Not only can this be a fun craft, it makes for a great gift if you throw some seeds into the paper mix. Recipients can plant the paper and enjoy watching flowers or vegetables grow once it’s planted. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
How to Make Plantable Paper:
First you will need to gather your supplies: a blender, a few sheets of lightly used paper, some small flat seeds and a screen. I used a window screen for this project since I wasn't concerned about making perfectly square sheets of paper or large amounts of paper. The window screen worked great and I didn't have to go out and buy any special supplies.
1. Prop your window screen up evenly on both ends with a few bricks (so that the water will be able to flow through it and away from it.)
2. Shred three sheets of used paper into thumb sized bits of paper and place into your blender jar, filling the jar about 1/3 of the way. (My kids thought this was so funny!)
3. Add warm tap water until the blender jar is about two thirds full and let the paper sit in the water and soften for about three minutes.
4. Blend the paper on high speed for about three minutes.
5. Add the variety of small, flat seeds you have chosen (wildflower, herbs, vegetable seeds) and stir gently.
6. Immediately (before the pulp begins to separate out) pour the smooth liquid mixture as evenly as possible over the screen.
7. Allow several hours to dry and then peel paper off.
8. Trim edges to achieve square or rectangular sheets if you desire.
You will find that the side of the paper against the screen is smoothest for writing on. I trimmed my plantable paper down into small sheets to use for gift labels. Don't forget to tell the recipient they can plant the gift label under a thin layer of dirt for an extra surprise!
I hope you enjoy this recycling craft project. What are some of your favorite paper making techniques? What other uses besides labels would recycled paper be good for?
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