Sunday, 22 July 2012

How To Make Seed Paper

What is seed paper? It is exactly that - homemade paper with seeds in, which when you plant it, grows into beautiful flowers! Steph recently had a demonstration from local artist Anita Burrows, and tried her hand at paper-making...

What you will need:
  • Sieve
  • Bucket
  • Largish rectangular plastic bowl or storage box
  • Lots of J cloths
  • Saucepan (helpful not essential)
  • Liquidiser or food processor
  • Shredder (helpful not essential)
  • Lots of paper (newspaper is best)
  • Metal mesh approximately size A5, or 2x same size picture frames and some old net curtain and stapler/tacks
  • Sponge
  • 2x heavy boards or a press
  • Waterproof apron or old clothes
  • Space to make a mess!

1. Start of by shredding paper - newspaper, print paper, tissue paper - any will do, and all of them create different textures. Soak them over night, or boil them gently.

2. Liquidise them in small amounts, with plenty of water. Do it in small bursts and be careful not to burn the motor out of the food processor - the paper pulp should be the consistency of thick porridge. 

3. Put the pulp into a large, deep washing up bowl full of water. Swirl the pulp around with your hands - the mixture should be about 90% liquid. 

4. If you plan to use your paper as stationary, dissolve a packet of gelatine in hot water, and still into the pulp mix (this stops ink from bleeding on the paper).

5. Add seeds to the mix; it's best to use small seeds, and plenty of them. We used wildflowers.

6. Always stir the pulp before dipping the mesh/frames into the mixture. Hold them securely, and lower them vertically into the bowl. Immediately bring to a horizontal position under the pulp mixture, and lift straight up, allowing the pulp to cover the screen. 

7. Don't let the pulp collect too thickly on the screen, as thinner paper works better - you might need to experiment with this!

8. Let the excess water drip off, and then turn the screen over onto a damp j cloth so that the pulp side is facing down. With a sponge soak up the water - don't wipe it. 

9. Gently lift the frame, so that the paper stays on the j cloth.

10. Repeat the process to make as many sheets of paper as you like. You should layer the sheets like a pile of pancakes, always divided by a j cloth so that they don't stick to each other.

11. Place the stack between the boards and stand on it, so that excess water is squeezed out. 

12. The sheets of paper on their j cloths can be hung out to dry on a washing line, or else let your paper dry undisturbed overnight.

There you go - lovely seed paper ready to plant!

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