Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seed Starters out of Paper Pulp

Spring is in the air, and with that in mind I have gardening on the brain!  So, I made some seed starter pots out of junk mail.  

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- Shredded Paper
- Water
- Blender
- Muffin tin

Directions:
Begin by filling a blender with handfuls of shredded paper.  If you don't have a paper shredder you can just rip your paper up into small squares.  Ripping the paper up works best, because it exposes the paper's fibers.  

Now pour a little bit of warm water into the blender.  Don't pour much in, you can always add more water if needed.  

Blend the paper and water on high.  You'll need to stop after 30 seconds, and push the pieces on the sides down.

This is what it should look like when it's done mixing.  The color of your paper pulp will be different, depending on the color of the paper you begin with.  I had a bit of black paper in there, so my pulp is on the darker side.  

Then drain off as much water as possible.  I used a thin rag to strain the water through.  Now lop clumps of paper pulp into your muffin tin.  A heaping tablespoon full should do the trick.  One blender full should be enough to fill one muffin tray of 12.  

Starting in the center press the pulp down, and work your way out to the sides.  Then start pushing the pulp up the sides, and press the paper making it an even thickness all around.  

When you have finished shaping the seed starter cups, carefully use a paper towel to soak up the moisture on the bottom.  Then let the cups sit for at least 24 hours, or until they feel dry to the touch.  It's best to keep them in a dry, warm, and bright place.  

I'll post some photos when I have some seeds growing in them!  Happy DIYing!

EDIT: After waiting for 24 hours the cups were not fully dry, so I decided to try sticking them in the oven.  220 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour seemed to do the trick.  They slid right out when I took them out of the oven.  The outside is extra smooth.  I have to say I am mighty impressed with myself on this one.  

Check out how they cups are doing with some seeds growing in them! Thanks for visiting, chris!


37 comments:

Beth Jones said...

LOVE THIS! Timely too.. I have peppers to start. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Alternatively, why not flip the cupcake tin over and just spread the mix over the negatives? Let the whole thing dry and cut individual cups out from one molded sheet. Might make storage easier too.

Lindsay said...

Great Idea, I have enough shredder paper to make hundreds of these little guys. I'm excited to try this out!

Chris Wallace said...

I'm so happy to see ya'll are going to give this a try! It's fun to do, and the results are pretty awesome! I have some broccoli sprouting up in a couple of my cups right now.

You could definitely try doing this project on the bottom of your tins. I even started thinking it might be fun to try a larger pan too.

Stevie from GardenTherapy.ca said...

This is a great idea. I'm writing a post about all kinds of DIY seed starting containers and I'd love to use this as an example. Will of course credit you and link to this tutorial. Let me know if that's OK.

Stevie

Chris Wallace said...

@Stevie from GardenTherapy.caThanks Stevie! That would definitely be okay! I look forward to reading your post. :)

Anonymous said...

Can't believe I came across this today. I've been shredding a lot of newspaper lately to put into my compost heap and I've been wondering what other uses I may be able to get from shredded newspaper. This gives me a few ideas! Great blog thanks!

Kelly said...

I love this!

I linked this to my prepper Facebook page:

NOT JUST FOR MORMONS

:)

great diy idea - I'll be following your blog now!

Chris Wallace said...

@Kelly Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy my blog, and thank you for linking me on your Facebook page. I'm going to check out Not Just For Mormons.

gardeneva said...

Thanks for posting the instructions for this. Happily, I made these today and they are currently in the drying out phase. Can't wait to put seed starter medium in them and plant seeds.

Chris Wallace said...

@gardeneva That's awesome! I hope your seeds do well in your little paper cups!

Nicole Brait said...

I'd love to write about these on my blog, The Sustain Blog at www.nicolebrait.com. Would you mind? THey are great!

Chris Wallace said...

@Nicole Brait Thanks Nicole, go right ahead! I like your blog, you have some great garden/sustainability information.

Anonymous said...

i read that you shouldn't use color ink paper for vegetable seeds because they may be toxic. use only black ink paper.

Christine Wallace said...

@Anonymous If that's a concern you have, than you definitely should NOT use ANY store bought paper to make these cups! You have no idea what sort of additives they are using to make their paper pulps, or what they are using to bleach their pulp fibers. I would suggest only using plants from your yard to make a pulp mixture. Grass clippings or onion skins make fantastic pulp!

Katherine said...

@Chris WallaceI tried making some that were a little taller and after watering the seeds for a few day...they fell apart :( I've read you can add a bit of flour to hold shape? Any suggestions?

Christine Wallace said...

@Katherine Awe, I'm sorry they didn't work out for you. I didn't have too much trouble with crumbling. A couple of mine broke up at the top, when I tried moving them after watering them. I tried not to handle the cups when they were wet.

Flour sounds like a great idea, don't see how it could do any harm. I'd try maybe a tablespoon or two to start, and see how that works out. Good luck!

Anniem said...

Any effect on your blender?

Christine Wallace said...

@AnniemNo effect to the blender. Just leaves it dirty, so give it a super good scrub down, and it should be good as new.

Jessica said...

Hi! This is an awesome idea! But, any thoughts on using newspaper...I have a lot of that, but I'm sure if it would be safe due to the ink used.

Thanks!

Christine Wallace said...

@Jessica I used paper with ink on it, and my plants turned out fine, and I didn't get sick from eating the fruits from the plants. Honestly though I'm not sure the effect ink would have on the plants. You could always do a test run. A couple cups made with plain white paper, and a couple made with newspaper. I don't think the ink of the paper would harm the plants or the food you might eat from them, because there are a lot of people who make seed cups by rolling newspaper into little cup shapes. I think it might be a matter of personal preference.

aziza said...

great idea thanks.

visite my blog about recycling shredded paper and make great things
http://shredded-paper-ideas.blogspot.com

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Christine Wallace said...

@aziza Thanks for commenting. Your blog has some fantastic ideas for using shredded paper!

Milliscent Morgan said...

Wow cool idea! Any way in this case if the paper shredded always needed better to use paper shedder. For easy way!

Ruby said...

This is a good paper recycling idea! You are indeed very creative and resourceful. I think that placing the starter pots in the oven for a short time is a good way to completely dry it before use. I see that your seedlings grew well in them too. Good job!

Ruby Badcoe

Unknown said...

@Christine Wallace

As long as you aren't using glossy paper there shouldn't be any problems with the ink.

Ruby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArizonaBorn said...

Cool! This way you KNOW they'll biodegrade in the ground. Often store bought ones don't.

ArizonaBorn said...

Most newspapers are using soy-based or other eco-friendly dyes. All you have to do is ask. They'll tell you!

Shelle said...

This is a fantastic idea and I'd like to share it on my blog next week. How did they work for planting last year? Is it similar to using TP rolls, where the roots come through the paper and create a root ball?

Rebecca Sain said...

@Shelle
SHelle, I tried the TP rolls today, and they fell apart after a little bit of water. Currently drying these out now.

Arline said...

Or, you could just use an egg carton.

Christine Wallace said...

@Arline That is true. There are many alternative options to making these seed starters.

Personally, the egg carton option isn't viable for me. 1) I don't eat that many eggs, but I get tons of junk mail to make these. 2) My eggs come in styrofoam not paper. 3) The egg carton starters are a little smaller then I would want for starting seeds. These handmade ones are just the right size for me.

Though, if you don't have the time to make these, egg cartons can be an option. I prefer to use small plastic cups from the dollar store instead.

Jestah said...

Love this idea! I made these with my daughter but the paper stuck pie cement to the muffin tin. We couldn't get any of the cups out whole. Any ideas on how to fix that? We'd like to try again

Lindasy Grahm said...

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Hannah Mary said...

Do you think children could paint these? Or do you think the paint would disintegrate them as some people are saying the watering did?