Scrap paper transforms into beautiful, eco-friendly greeting cards that sprout wildflowers when planted. This project teaches basic paper-making skills while also offering a hands-on gardening experience.
2 cups of paper torn into 1 inch pieces (use plain white or
spring-colored construction paper, free from any ink for best
bowl of warm water
9x13 inch baking pan
7x10 inch piece of window screen
scissors, masking tape, blender, measuring cups
packet of wildflower seeds
old bath towels
markers, crayons, stickers, stamps to decorate the finished
Begin with several sheets of plain white or colored craft
paper. (Avoid newspaper or any paper printed with ink. These types
of paper turn a very unappealing gray color after they are blended
into a pulp.) Shred the plain paper into 1-inch pieces until you
have at least two cups of paper scraps.
Soak the scraps of paper in a bowl of warm water overnight.
Place the wet scraps of paper into a blender. Discard the soaking
water. Add about 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fresh water to the blender, a
half cup at a time. Blend until the mixture looks like a pulpy
soup. Be careful not to add too much water or the consistency of
the pulp will be too loose.
Cut the window screen to fit inside the 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Fold strips of masking tape around the edges of the screen to
protect small hands from any sharp edges. Place the screen into the
bottom of the pan. Fill the baking pan with water until it is a
quarter full and then pour in the blended paper pulp. Be sure the
screen is submerged beneath the paper pulp mixture. Add one packet
of wildflower seeds and mix with your hands to evenly distribute
Carefully lift the screen up, catching the paper pulp and seed
mixture on top and allowing the water to drain off. Lay the screen
on a bath towel to dry. The pulp layer should be as thin as
possible without creating any gaps or holes. If the layer is too
thick and remains wet for a long period of time, the seeds might
begin to sprout.
When the first towel becomes saturated, move the screen to
another dry towel. This process could take 48 hours or more
depending on the thickness of the paper pulp. If the drying process
is taking a long time, try using a blow dryer to speed it up.
When the paper is completely dry, gently separate it from the
screen. Using sharp, sturdy scissors, cut the finished paper into
individual cards and decorate with markers, stickers, crayons or
stamps. Two cups of paper pulp should produce two or three
When decorating your wildflower cards, be sure to include the
following growing instructions: (1) Cover this card with potting
soil. (2) Water well. (3) Keep the soil moist by watering as
necessary. (4) Enjoy your spring flowers!
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.