homemade plant-me paper

We got a little seed infused plant-me card recently, and it gave me an idea that it should be easy to make them from scratch at home. You just need to make paper and add seeds into it. Easy-peasy!

I have a Paper recycling kit, that I bought a few years ago on clearance. But any old blender or mixer will suffice. I may want to purchase a cheap one at the garage sale or a thrift store as it's not a good idea to use a blender you use to make your smoothies. If you are using a paper making kit - use the tools and follow the directions that came with it. But you can also make your own frame by attaching fine mesh (like window screens) to a wooden frame.

Get your ingredients. I once make paper from dryer lint. It worked! Lint paper is very soft, felt-like and would disintegrate as soon as you get it moist. But for plant-me cards I want sturdier paper. So, I got some napkins and a handful of shredded paper. You can also use construction paper, egg cartons, newspapers - most any kind of paper, other than glossy magazines. You need to cut it into small bits, or use a shredder.
Theoretically, torn paper is better as it absorbs water faster, but shredded paper worked very well for us. As for the seeds, any small flat seeds will work fine.

Make pulp. Next put your paper bits into a bowl of hot water and leave to soak for several hours or overnight. Use a blender to puree the wet paper.

Gather pulp onto the screen. Pour the paper pulp into a tub. Slip the frame into the tub and gather a nice layer of pulp. We wanted to make thicker paper, and the result was a paper that was almost as thick and sturdy as an egg carton.

Add seeds. While the frame is still in the water, sprinkle the seeds on top of it, tap them in gently. You could have added the seeds to the pulp before pouring the mixture into the tub. We used very small seeds -Black-eyed Susan- and it was easier to sprinkle them over the paper. Also, no seeds get wasted this way.

"Wring" and dry the paper. Lift the frame up. Let it drip. Put a washcloth over the frame (or flip the frame over onto the dishtowel, whichever is easier for you). Using a sponge, gently press out as much water as you can. Peel the paper sheet off the frame and off the towel, put it on the paper towels. Let it dry undisturbed for 12-24 hr. And you can reuse or recycle these towels later.
We found that drying it on the paper towel gives you a flatter paper vs hanging it to dry.

Now you can cut your new paper into shapes, make cards using it. And don't forget to include the planting instructions before you give them to your friends.


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