Introduction: Up-cycle News Paper to Plant Pot to Grow Tomato

We are waiting for the coming season, the spring.

I want to grow some tomato on my balcony. So i seed many different tomato sort. All of them sprout and I have to prick them into a pot.

Because i had not enough small plant pots i made some of old newspaper.

How i did it, you can see in this instructable or in the video, where i explain it in German.

Step 1: Cut the Newspaper to the Right Size

The size you need depend on the size of the pot you want to make.

I just cut one page of the newspaper height-wise in half.

You want to have a sheet long enough to fit at least 5 times the diameter of the pot. The height has to be approx. twice the height of the pot.

The fastest way for me was to fold the newspaper and use a knife for cutting the paper.

Step 2: Prefold the Rim

Later we want to fold the rim inside. This is much easier when we prefold it.

Fold 1-2cm on the long side. Reopen the fold.

Step 3: Wrap the Newspaper Around a Thing

I use a jam jar to wrap the newspaper.

With the Thing you use, you decide witch diameter you pot will have.

In my case the jar has a diameter of 7cm.

Step 4: Build the Bottom of the Pot

To build the bottom i simple fold four times the shell to the middle.

It is important to have the jar still inside the paper. It helps to fold the bottom.

The folds don't have to be perfect. But if the shell is to long it is difficult to fold it. (As soon the paper is wet, the bottom will be perfect flat, even if there are some wrinkles.)

With two finger i sculp the edge of the bottom.

Step 5: Remove the Jar and Fold the Rim

Now we can pull out the jar.

When we fold the prefolded part of the shell to the inside to sculpt the rim, the pod gains stability.

Step 6: Fill the Pot With Soil

Now you can fill the pot with Soil

I used quite dry soil. So i saturate the pots some hours with water before i went to the next step.

Step 7: Prick Your Seedling Into the Pot

Finally plant you seedling into the pot.

Don't forget to water them frequently!

Have fun!

If you have more than one sort of plants you have to go to the next step.

Step 8: Label the Pots the The Name of the Plant

With my 3D-Printer i make a sign to label the Pots.

If you want to adjust the size you can edit the fusion 360 file

The *.stl file is attached, or on thingiverse:

Or i can print some for you:


Moschtertaart made it!(author)2017-03-26

Hi lomo85,

I made it! I used handwritten Labels. Painter´s tape sticks on PLA without additional glue.

Happy gardening!

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-04-09

Great, thanks for sharing it.

MiljaH made it!(author)2017-03-22

Hmm. Similar label stands using recycled material rather than 3D-printing would be fabulous. I guess I must start searching for a suitable material...

shmaria made it!(author)2017-04-03

permanent marker on an ice cream stick?

MiljaH made it!(author)2017-04-04

Wooden sticks tend to get mold in the moist soil. (At least here 100% of ice cream sticks are wooden.)

I do have plastic sticks for the purpose, but I really meant a label stand that isn't a stick but rather folds around the edge of the pot.

shmaria made it!(author)2017-04-03

Even used plastic spoons will work - you just have to write really small

mxx made it!(author)2017-03-21

Great instructable! Cheap and fast. And another reason why we should save the newspaper industry.

AlanS14 made it!(author)2017-03-20

I remember my Grandfather doing that many years ago (50+). Brings back memories of his tomatoes, and his crysanthimums ......

faniefaze. made it!(author)2017-03-20

Cool, now where do one get German newspapers ;-)

AllisonL29 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Would this be good to start sunflowers??? My class is growing sunflowers for the Global Project. We are only tracking growth for a month, before school is out for summer. Any advice is welcome!

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-20

Why not? One month after seeding the plant has grown enough to be planted outside.

temperamental made it!(author)2017-03-20

great project for the the brain dead video games.

Moschtertaart made it!(author)2017-03-19

Hi lomo85, Good job ! Please attach the fusion 360 file to your Instructable.

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Sure, here is the link:

Moschtertaart made it!(author)2017-03-20

Many thanks, I need to adapt the diameter to the jam jar I want to use.

ericCycles made it!(author)2017-03-19

For small seedlings, I used to do this. I now use transparent plastic cups with some little holes punched in the bottom. They don't sag and tear when they get wet, and you see if the seedling is becoming rootbound.

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Thank you for your tip. I will check if i get some rootbound before planting them in a big pot.

SusanP90 made it!(author)2017-03-19

On the plus side you can later plant them in the ground.

Thanks for sharing :)

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Yes, this is one of the main advantage. The Time you need to fold the pots you save wile planting them later.

robotobor made it!(author)2017-03-19

Love your work! I have done this, also used empty paper towel rolls, empty TP rolls, and finally my favorite, garden fabric (folded similar to your design, with a bit of hot glue). You might like the "air pruning" method with your tomatoes. google it, seriously worth the time. Promotes huge, health roots. Best of luck!

lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Thank you for the "air pruning" tip!

I planed to put them in a standard pot, but maybe i have to build something air pruning like...

joe.lyddon.7 made it!(author)2017-03-19

Why not GLUE the label to the Newspaper?

... and save all that time?

Nice way to fold the POT!

I also like using the tubes from paper towel & toilet paper rolls...

Thank you!


lomo85 made it!(author)2017-03-19

I tried to stick the labels direct to the paper. But with the moisture, the label comes off.

Sure, the way i did it, was not the fastest way. But not i can reuse the labels next year. (The pots will be gone...)

craftyincobalt made it!(author)2017-03-19

Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

amcgamcg made it!(author)2017-03-19

Simple but effective. Wet newspaper is surprisingly strong. Thanks; danke.

Overlord_Laharl made it!(author)2017-03-19

this is a great method. i will have to try this out when i start my next seedlings.

home made biodegradable pots.

Cheiron made it!(author)2017-03-18

What a great concept! Good Instructable!

About This Instructable




Bio: My Name is Daniel Aeschlimann. During the day I am a Mechanical Engineer. During the evenings I tinker with witn my 3D-Printer, my CNC router ... More »
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