Recycled Seed Paper Tutorial!
For the past few months I have been working on making some great fun things for SAP…busy bags and quiet books! I try to come up with original fun projects each month to send out to my groups!
I’d love to share with you my May Busy Bag Exchange project!
Recycled Seed Paper Kit
- Cross stitching frame the size you want your recycled paper to be
- Screen mesh. Pick screen that is not too flimsy
- Stapler and staples
- A shredder (or feel free to shred by hand!)
- Used paper…any kind works as long as it is not glossy!
- Seeds…the flatter/smaller seeds work best
- Glitter if you would like glitter paper
- Towels (2-3)
- Cookie cutters if you desire to make other shapes of paper…chunky are best!
Start by shredding your paper! This is some old orders of mine that I do not need anymore, and sometimes we make colored recycled paper using construction paper SAP practiced her coloring and scissors cutting on! Scissors practice is a great way to get paper shredded if you don’t have a shredder…keeps the little ones busy and less work for you!
Here is my shredded paper. Small bits like this work great for making into paper pulp! Different colored shredded paper makes different colored recycled paper.
Put shredded paper into a bowl or a rectangle tote. If you plan on doing large pieces of recycled paper you will need a bigger bowl/tote so you can fit your frame into it. Rubbermaid containers are great for large pieces of paper, but this cooking bowl is perfect for a smaller project.
Fill up your bowl of paper with water until it is covered, add more paper if it will fit, and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. I happened to be doing the soaking at the same time as I was thawing out our dinner, so please don’t mind the random whole chicken next to the bowl, that’s a separate project!
And here is my bowl of shredded paper soaking in some water in our sink. Appetizing isn’t it?
While your paper is soaking get your materials ready. Here you see my cross-stitching frame, stapler, staple remover (I tend to make mistakes!), my roll of screen mesh, and a picture frame. FYI the frame I got from the dollar store and was hoping to make a paper frame out of it, unfortunately it did not work as it is plastic and I can only staple onto a wooden frame. If you acquire old wooden frames they would work great for recycled paper frames! I will not be showing that here however.
Take the middle part of your cross-stitching frame out of the frame and use that to measure how big you should cut your square of screen. I cut about 0.5 – 1 inch past the frame.
Here is what it should look like after you cut the screen. This is approximately the size you would want your screen square.
With the screen under your wooden circle push down into the outer frame. Make sure the outer frame is loosened enough to do this with out breaking the frame, you can loosen it more with the screw at the top of the frame!
Now that the screen is nice and taught in the frame (make sure it is pulled tight), tighten the screw at the top of the frame as tight as you can possibly get it.
Trim around your frame as close to the frame as you possibly can. The screen can be pokey if it is not trimmed very close, I found using a nail clipper on some of the problem areas got me closer than scissors. I do not worry about the screen being too pokey since once it is put into the paper pulp it will get full of pulp and will no longer be an issue.
Here is our completed frame! Wasn’t that easy enough? You can make whatever sized frame you want with this same technique.
Now let’s make another screen “frame”! This is a very simple frame. I used a thinner cardboard as I like being able to bend it to get the paper pulp off the screen, some of you might prefer a corrugated cardboard so that is is more sturdy, but it will get soggy with the water. Test it out and see what you like! This is a box I had to cut up anyway for SAP since she wanted to play with her little cardboard Idbids, so I used the rest of the back of the box for a simple frame
Cut a square or rectangle out of your cardboard I did a rectangle so if I wanted to I could fit two cookie cutters on at the same time!
Cut the center out of your square or rectangle, be sure to leave an inch or so for our “frame”
Now cut a piece of your screen mesh to fit your frame! You don’t want it exactly the same size as your frame, just a little smaller so it won’t stick out.
Staple your screen mesh to your cardboard frame. Go all the way around to be sure the screen is nice and stable on your cardboard frame!
And here is our final frame and the basic idea of how we will make our shaped recycled paper! I chose bug cookie cutters as they looked chunky enough for recycled paper and SAP loves bugs…goes great with planting them in the garden to grow too!
Now back to our kitchen! Here is my set up for making pulp out of our now soaked shredded paper. A blender works great for making pulp but a food processor also would!
I have our seeds all ready too. I picked California Poppy seeds in orange since I wanted smaller seeds for the paper to make sure they stuck well in the paper, and I wanted something colorful and easy for kids to take care of when it grew after being planted. Some people choose to put their seeds into the pulp after making the paper into pulp…I chose a different method and will show you my own method.
Now pour all of your soaked shredded paper, water and all, into your blender. A spatula works great for getting it all off the sides of your bowl.
Blend your paper…you don’t need to “puree” it, blending is sufficient! Some people like their recycled paper more lumpy and some like it more mushy, find a consistency you like, what your pulp looks like is what your paper will look like in the end.
Here is my paper somewhat blended. You will most likely need to add more water to your mixture during blending it into pulp. I ended up adding 2 more cups regular water.
Here’s an idea! I had some left over purple colored water from when I made SAP’s Glitter Mind Jar, so I decided to add it to the paper pulp as well and see if it would tint it purple! SAP loved the idea (as you can see!). In the end it really didn’t make much difference in the color, if you want to used dyed water to color your recycled paper I would suggest using all colored water and not just 2 cups like I did, but it was a fun experiment!
And here is my final paper pulp product! Yummy huh? It has a little purple tint to it but not much.
Hey, look, it’s my dinner again! All ready to be put in the oven! Dinner’s in the oven, paper pulp is made, screen frames are made….now it’s time to make some paper!
Here is my “paper making” set up. My bowl of paper pulp with a spatula, my screen frames, cookie cutters, my bowl of seeds, and a couple towels, one already laid out.
Submerge your round frame into your pulp and scoop up a pretty good amount of pulp, spread over evenly all over the inside of your frame over the mesh.
Sprinkle your seeds into the submerged frame and swirl them around inside to make sure they’re embedded into the pulp. If they just lay on top they will not stick once your paper is dry.
Using your thumb or a couple fingers press all over the pulp to squeeze out the excess water out of the frame. Be sure the pulp does not come off the screen, you do not need to press too hard, we will get more water out of the paper in a later step. I did see a suggestion to use foam painting brushes (the rounded tip ones the size of a quarter) for this step, but have not tried it myself.
This is what the paper pulp will look like after being press a bit to get all the excess water out. You can see my seeds embedded into it too!
Turn your frame upside down and knock it down onto the towel on your table. Don’t fling it but you will need to knock it down hard not soft to get the paper to drop out of the frame, it easily comes off the screen but may stick to the edges of the frame a bit so can take a couple tries.
Here is my seeded recycled paper after it was knocked out of the frame. You notice it’s not too flat…I”ll show you a trick to that later on when I do the cookie cutter paper! Basically just fold the towel over your paper now and compress down, the towel will absorb the excess water and flatten your paper!
Now let’s make some shaped recycled paper with our cardboard frame and cookie cutters! Place your cookie cutter on your screen, not touching your cardboard frame. Using your spatula or a big spoon spoon in paper pulp evenly over the screen inside of your cookie cutter. After it is even, sprinkle your seeds (or even glitter!) onto the pulp, cover with a bit more pulp if you think you need more to enbed the seeds into the paper, and compress down with your fingers same as you did with the other frame.
Lift up your cookie cutter…your pulp should look similar to this….just maybe a different shape! It will not be as compressed as your other frame is, but you will fix that later. It will be a lot more watery too right now, but don’t worry!
Turn your screen upside down onto the towel and peel the screen off the paper pulp…this is why I like the thinner cardboard frame! It is easier to peel off the paper without ruining it. Always remember to peel the screen or towel off the paper not the paper off the screen or towel etc., this will keep you from pulling your paper apart. Once your paper dries it will be a lot less fragile.
Now cover the paper pulp that you just put onto the towel with your towel and compress down. Do not be afraid to press too hard, get all that water out, you won’t hurt it! You can see the lady bug and circle paper I did before this butterfly and how they looked after being compressed. You can also shape your edges a big more definite if you would like, but some people like the lumpy edges as a “recycled paper” look!
Here is our finished butterfly! It’s nice and flat after being compressed and the seeds are well embedded into the paper.
Spread them out on a screen or towel to let them air dry! It will take a day or two so put them out of reach of pets or kiddos that want to play with them before they are dry. Use up all your paper pulp and have fun! Recycled seed paper makes great gifts, your can make larger pieces as gift tags, bookmarks, cards, or just use as recycled paper instead of seed paper for coloring on again! If you want crimped edges use pinking shears or other shears to cut your edges to the shape you want. Possibilities are endless!
Now all that recycled seed paper making has made me hungry, luckily my chicken is done! Can you believe this is the first whole chicken I’ve ever roasted? Pretty yummy, but I have a lot of i improvement to do on both projects I did today! A day of firsts for me and it was a lot of fun! I would love to see your seed paper creations so feel free to share with me anytime!