Arnold Grummer's Paper Making

Make Your Own SEED PAPER … with TP!

Make Seed Paper on Earth Day

Make Seed Paper on Earth Day
Seed Paper is a perfect Earth Day activity

Spring! A time for papermakers to connect our activities to earth awareness and the caring for the environment. Here’s our favorite project: Make Seed Paper … with TP (yup, toilet paper)!

Seed Paper – A Perennial Favorite

Seed paper is ‘plantable’ paper embedded with seeds. The paper is ready to add to a patio pot or sunny spot in the garden. Seed paper crafts are popular with kids of all ages.

Making seed paper is a manageable project for indoor or outdoor education programs. It might just be papermaking in its simplest form. There’s no pulp to prep and haul, no blenders to gather and no worries about extension cords. It’s so easy.

Despite the apparent simplicity, making seed paper is a wonderful learning activity that incorporates STEAM standards. In addition to making paper, the checklist can include following directions, counting, measuring, and observation. These are all built-in to a workshop kids love.

Below is our go-to recipe for making seed paper with common household items. We’ve tested this project in parks, classrooms, and backyards. A big part of the fun is the unlikely source for pulp, TP.

TP is a legitimate source of pulp for Seed Paper

We wouldn’t suggest TP for larger paper projects, but for this activity it’s a cheap and readily available source of fiber.

Surprisingly, TP makes better seed paper than one might expect. It holds nearly two times more water than seed paper made from recycled wastepaper. We know – we weighed saturated seed paper made both ways on a good scale. Another STEAM activity

How To Make Simple Seed Paper Shapes:

You will need toilet paper, a 10oz empty bottle and cap (juice or sports drink bottle), 10-12 seeds, 6” x 6” plastic canvas, cookie-cutters (up to 3″), empty tin can (15oz), sponge, and kitchen towel.

  1. Place six squares of toilet paper in an empty sports drink bottle. Fill 2/3 full with water. Shake well.
  2. Add 8 -10 seeds to the paper pulp in the bottle. Twist on the cap, shake again.
  3. Place the plastic canvas on the tin can, then the cookie-cutter on the plastic. Fill the shape with paper pulp.
  4. Remove cookie-cutter. Place plastic canvas with paper pulp shape on towel.
  5. Press shape with the sponge. Wring and repeat. Get as much water out as possible.
  6. Peel the shape off the canvas and set it on the counter overnight to dry.
  7. To plant the paper, choose a sunny garden spot or patio pot. Tear the seed paper in pieces, cover thinly with dirt. Water often and watch for sprouts!

Here’s a video made by Helen Hiebert when she taught her young neighbors, Hazel and Bowen, about Seed Paper. You can also find Seed Paper directions (and lots more) in her new book, The Art Of Papercraft from Storey Publ.

Seed Paper FAQS:

  • Will seed paper grow? Yes! Three essential components for germination are sunshine, warmth, and water. Paper that holds moisture contributes to germination.
  • What kind of seeds work best? Any hardy seeds for plants that grow in your area are fine. We like large, flat seeds that children can pick up, like marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos seeds. Seeds packed for the current year are better performers.
  • TP sounds gimmicky – does it work? Yes! Toilet paper is technically engineered to hold water and also biodegrade later, just what seeds need for a good start!

Don’t believe it? Make some seed paper pulp and set up tests of your own. Let’s compare results!

Will seed paper grow? Yes!
Will seed paper grow? Yes!

Arnold Grummer’s Let’s Make Paper! Kit offers simple supplies for TP papermaking, but you don’t have to purchase a thing to provide a fun and successful activity.

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