Thursday, June 06, 2013

Easy DIY plantable paper (tags)

This week I have been making some plantable tags for to helium balloons during a balloon release in memory of some special little people.

They have forget-me-not seeds embedded in them so where they land they will eventually grow and leave lovely lasting reminders all over the country of these special little people. Happy little blue flowers.

You can change the seeds to fit your own preferences or themes, they don't have to be flowers you could use herb or vegetable seeds if that is better suited to your occasion.

You will need:

  • Water
  • Paper (non glossy paper. Newspaper works but will make the finished product look dark, printer paper, recycles paper, sketch book etc are all fine)
  • Cookie cutter (optional)
  • Towels
  • Tray
  • Foil/ baking paper/ plastic sheet
First up take a big bowl of water (we used 2 as we had lots to make and there were 4 of us making them together)

Tear up your paper into small pieces and put into the water. I used recycled scrap paper for this, you can buy it in rolls from Wilko and other stationary supply stores.

The amount you will need depends on how much paper you want to make in the end, we filled both bowls up for this project.

Leave the paper in water until it is completely saturated. We left ours around 24hrs as we were out the following day but you could probably leave it as little as 4/5 hours.

The next step it to pulp the paper. Put the paper shreds and some water (I added a pint but more would be fine as you strain it later) into a blender and turn on full speed, pulsing occasionally, until the paper and water are mixed into a runny but slightly lumpy pulp. You don't want it to be too lumpy as it won't hold too well in the cutters.

The next step is to remove water from the pulp mixture, to do this I transferred the mixture to a sieve to drain out the bulk of the water before taking handfuls and squeezing out some of the excess until I was left with a soggy mixture which I then stirred with a wooden spoon to separate  the larger pieces.

At this point you can add your seeds. As I was making a large batch (approx 100 tags) I used approx 600 seeds. You'll need to mix this around once the seeds are in but do not used a blender or electric mixer as you will damage the seeds, a wooden spoon or hour hands will work perfectly.

Cover your tray or board with foil (or baking/ plastic sheet) and set your cookie cutter on it, fill the cutter with the seed mixture, ensuring it fills all corners and edges then lightly press down with the end of a wooden spoon to compress.

Remove your cutter and repeat until you have the amount required. If you have any mixture left you can always plant it in a pot in your garden to save wasting any since you can't leave it to use another time.

You need your tags to dry fairly quickly so the seeds are preserved correctly, somewhere warm but not too hot is ideal. Since the sun has been shining I left mine in the kitchen windowsill, which is a little sun trap but a warm airing cupboard would also work nicely.

In the right temperature they ought to be dry in 24hrs, if you can check on them before this and turn them over to expose the other side this will speed the drying process up.

Once dry you can use them as you wish, as a eco friendly gift tag, or even make one into a gift if you use the right shape and seeds, there are so many options.

For these I will be threading, with a needle and natural twine then tying to biodegradable balloons for a balloon release.

They look simple but do require a fair bit of work, the finished product is worth it though - especially for this purpose as it will leave beautiful flowers all over in memory of special little people.

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