Grow your love even more this Valentine’s day with this DIY seed card

Bring your gifts to life this Valentine’s Day with a personal and unique gift for your loved one. Don’t just send a card, send a card that keeps on giving in the form of herbs, vegetables or flowers. Stand out from the ordinary with this step by step DIY Valentines’ activity by making biodegradable plantable gift cards with embedded seeds in them.

How it works

This DIY activity is fairly easy to make as it does not require any use of special equipment. Seed paper is paper that has small seeds embedded into it. When the paper is placed on soil and watered, the paper decomposes whilst the seeds germinate and sprout seedlings which will grow into mature plants.

Let your Valentine know how much they have grown on you by making them something special. Here is what you will need:

You will need

  • Assorted types of recyclable paper which may include but are not limited to tissue paper, egg cartons, newspapers and scraps of unprinted paper.
  • Flower seeds (Small seeds are recommended)
  • Mixing bowl/dish
  • Towel or cloth
  • An old picture frame
  • Pantyhose
  • A tub large enough to comfortably fit the picture frame
  • A blender (Preferably use an old blender)
  • For natural ink/paint consider using beets, carrots, berries, or other strong pigmented fruits/vegetables
  • Paint brush
  • Ruler/Scissor

Method for activity

Step 1: Prepping your paper

Collect your assorted paper scraps and place them in a covered bowl/dish with hot water. Ensure the level of water does not allow the paper to dry out, and soak for at least 8 hours.

Step 2: Blending

After your paper has soaked, blend it with some of its soaking water until its completely pulp. Should you decide to work with a lot of paper, make sure to blend the paper in batches.

  • Pour your pulp into your large tub and add enough water to make it settle 10 centimetres deep. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of flower seeds into the mixture and stir them in. DO NOT BLEND! Stir them only.

Step 3: Prepping the Frame

Clean your old frame by removing any excess material like glass, staples or any nails carefully. Take your pantyhose and stretch 1 leg over the frame. Stretch and adjust it until it’s tightly and evenly pulled across the frame. Tie a knot to keep it in place and cut off any extra.

Step 4: Making the paper

Dip your frame slowly and carefully into your pulp in a scooping motion, gently shaking the frame to even out the pulp over the surface of your frame, allowing the water to drain out.

  • Once it’s fully out of the water, gently tilt it a tiny bit to the side, just to let any extra water drain
  • Rest the frame on your tub and sprinkle a few more flower seeds of your choice over the top
  • If you have any holes or thin places, you can carefully take small handfuls of the pulpy water and pour them over to fill anything in

Step 5: Making the paper

Place a piece of your fabric /cloth near your tub and ensure this is on a flat non-absorbent surface.

  • In one motion, flip the frame to place your paper mixture faced down onto the fabric. This should place your seeds down against the fabric as well
  • With a towel, firmly press down on the back of the pantyhose to further remove excess water
  • When drying the excess water, ensure you press on the paper in a downward to upward motion across the paper
  • You may add another layer of pulp to trap in the seeds and to make it thicker, so make sure to add some pulp by repeating the above steps and placing your paper pulp on top of your existing piece
  • Cover the paper with another layer of fabric, and repeat until you have as many total sheets as you want

Place a weighted flat object enough to fully cover the paper to press out the last bit of the water and leave it for 15+ minutes. The paper should be mostly dry from pressing it with a towel.

Step 6: Making the Paper

Now leave these to dry completely! This takes different lengths of time, depending on how hot and humid it is where you live. Once these are dry, peel them off the counter. You may need a knife or other thin object to help get the edges started.

Step 7: Making It a Card

Using a ruler to help crease these makes it a lot easier to fold, since they’re thick and sometimes have seeds in the way of the crease. Trim the edges as desired using a scissor or ruler.

  • With your natural dye paint of either beets, carrots or berries – add a little lemon juice to each of your dyes to keep the colours bright.
  • When painting, use a soft brush, and don’t use a lot of juice. Try to minimise brush strokes, so no holes are worn in the card.
  • Decorate the card as desired and share the wonder of seed paper & reduced paper waste.

Growing your card

To grow the card: Dig a hole large enough for the card to be flat. You can tear the card into pieces to fit smaller areas such as a pot.  Water the card thoroughly, cover with soil, and then water again. The paper will compost into the soil and help hold moisture until the seeds start to grow.

Depending on your what seeds you used, you should start seeing sprouts very soon!

Benefits of plantable gift cards

Seed-embedded paper has both social and environmental benefits.

Socially, seed paper plays a pivotal role in creatively changing the way people think of trash. Plantable paper is a sustainable means of reducing waste and repurposing used products.

Environmentally, seed paper is made from recycled materials, making it biodegradable with zero waste. It also encourages people to start planting home gardens and improves soil quality be it in the garden or in a small pot.

Source: Life is a garden

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