How to Make Plantable Paper Party Favors
Imaginative Crafts, Do-It-Yourself Projects and Video Tutorials by Robert Mahar, robert-mahar.com
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Two identical, flat faced, inexpensive picture frames (online source: http://bit.ly/1DUrhHK)
Fiberglass screening (online source: http://thd.co/1byHf15)
New and/or recycled scrap paper to create a paper pulp
White craft glue
Mini clothespins (online source: http://bit.ly/1Hxf4v8)
Kit container with a lid (online source: http://bit.ly/1Dh1ENt)
Seed starter pellets or potting soil (online source: http://thd.co/1Hxin5r)
Standard kitchen blender
Standard sink washbasin (or similarly sized container large enough to accommodate the size of selected picture frames) (online source: http://bit.ly/1Dh2lGP)
Sheets of craft felt
Decorative paper punch (online source: http://bit.ly/1Oib4Ej)
1) Begin by creating a paper making screen. Purchase two identical, inexpensive picture frames – making certain that they are flat faced and not beveled or ornamental. Remove the backing and glass. Cut two pieces of fiberglass screening that are approximately 1 inch larger than your frames on all four sides. Lay one piece of your vinyl screening flat on your work surface, place one picture frame face down on top, wrap the screening around the edges and secure in place with a staple gun. Leave the second picture frame empty, with no screening attached – it will become the deckle which helps form the shape of your sheets of handmade paper. You’ll also use that second piece of cut screening during the paper making process.
2) Gather paper to create your paper pulp. You can use recycled newspaper, envelopes, or what was used in the video were a few sheets of standard copy paper and one brightly colored piece of card stock. Tear the paper down into smaller pieces and fill the pitcher of a standard kitchen blender one half to two thirds full. Do not pack the paper in tightly, but rather place it in loosely. Next fill the blender pitcher one half to two thirds full with tap water. Allow it to sit for five minutes to soften the paper. Blend the paper down into a pulp – you’re looking for something the consistency of oatmeal. When the blender is turned off check the pulp for any large pieces – blend down more if necessary.
3) Fill a standard dishpan halfway full with tap water. You can also use a baking pan or any other similarly sized container – just making certain that it is large enough to accommodate the paper making screens you made. Pour the paper pulp into this water bath. Next add in approximately 1 teaspoon of seeds, stirring them into the watery paper pulp.
4) Take your paper making screen, screen side up and place the empty picture frame face down on top of it. Holding them together place them down into the water bath and slowly lift them up capturing a sheet of paper pulp. Allow the screen to drip over the water bath for a few seconds and wipe any excess pulp off of the deckle.
5) Transfer the paper making screen to a plastic tray and set it down. Gently lift the deckle (empty picture frame) straight up and set aside. You will see that it helped you form a perfectly rectangular piece of paper pulp. Then lay the piece of loose screen over top of the paper pulp sheet. Take a standard kitchen sponge and gently pressed down onto the paper pulp sheet, helping to remove excess water in the pulp. Ring the sponge out over top of the water bath. Repeat this several times. Then lift up the paper making screen, wipe any excess water off of the plastic tray, lay down a sheet of paper towel, flip the paper making screen over and set it down on the paper towel. Next, take your kitchen sponge and gently sponge the back side of the piece of paper pulp sheet – again ringing out the excess water into the water bath and repeating this several times. Then gently lift up the paper making screen, leaving the new sheet of paper on the piece of loose screening. If the sheet of paper does not readily release from the screen, add additional pressure with the sponge or very gently peel it away at the corner with your fingers. Transfer your new piece of paper on the loose sheet of screening to a piece of felt to dry. Depending on the climate where you live it will take approximately 12 to 24 hours for your new sheet of paper to dry. You can speed up the process by setting in the sun, or indoors near a fan.
6) You may find that your sheet of handmade paper has warped during the drying process. If this is the case you can place it under a stack of books for a day or two to help flatten it out. Then take your piece of dry, flattened paper and using a paper punch punch out your desired shapes. In the video I created a series of butterfly shapes. Using standard white glue, adhere small close pens to the backside of the paper butterflies and set aside to dry. Small clothespins will allow us to easily attach the butterflies to the party favor kits.
7) Gather together containers to create your plantable paper party favor kits. Rather than place loose soil inside of the pots, consider using seed starter pellets from your local nursery or hardware store. Place one pellet inside each container, close the lid and tie it up with some decorative ribbon. Gently bend back the wings of your paper butterflies to make them look somewhat more realistic, and clip them directly onto the ribbon tied onto your containers. You may also want to consider including a tag with simple planting instructions for your party favor recipients – use the planting instructions on your seed packaging as guidelines.
- If you do not have access to seed starter pallets, loose good quality planting soil can be used – just make certain that you select a container with a lid that closes securely.
- Select seeds to grow flowers native to the area in which you live.
- You can punch your handmade paper into any shape using a decorative paper punches from your craft supply store or alternately the paper can be cut by hand.