Introduction: Let Us Green You Up (grow Your Own Paper Planter Cards )

My wife is an avid scrapbooker. She uses beautiful cardstock and papers in her hobby, but what to do with left over paper scraps? How about remake the paper scraps into new sheets of handmade paper? And since you're making new paper and Earth Day is rapidly approaching, why not make a lovely card. But wait... there's more! Since you're making a handmade paper card, why not make that card something truly earth friendly. Why not add a handful of your favorite vegetable or flower seeds? That's what we're doing in this instructable. So follow along and make your our own beautiful and productive earth day card.

Step 1: Get Your Supplies

We've created deckle and molds based on picture frames available from IKEA that were on sale 3 for $1.50

Two or three picture frames: IKEA RAM 4x6 sold in set of 3 (or something similar)
Plastic from picture frame (used to press excess water off paper)
Four metal clips
Screen material: Panty hose ( for fine surface ) window screen (rougher more natural surface)
Electric blender Second hand preferably (Yard sale / second hand store)
Paper scraps Any paper will do but better quality paper makes for better finished product
Water tray: Large enough to hold your deckle and mold
Cookie racks: to hold paper while drying
Sponge: Help suck the excess water from paper
Two flat surfaces: to press paper after sponging. Scrap wood works fine,
Fingernails: Really helpful to peel up paper during various processes

Step 2: Modify Your Frames

It turns out the IKEA 3 pack of frames was perfect for this project, as I used two of them to make the mold and one for the deckle. Remove the backing and glass (actually plastic) Then, with a pair of pliers remove the four metal tabs. Next take a sharp utility knife and remove the lip from the inside of the frame. Other frames might be made of more substantial material and may require a saw or dremel tool to do the same.

The two molds we've created are made from screen fabric (as used in window screens) and Pantyhose. With the pantyhose, slide the frame into a leg and take both ends and tie them together tightly, smooth out any wrinkles and apply hot glue to the outside of the frame. After the glue has cooled check to make sure there is good adhesion add more glue if needed and then cut the ends off and cut around the bottom of the frame, you only want one layer of screen material.

Screen door fabric: Take a piece of screen and lay it on the table place the frame on top and fold over and apply glue on the side. Next glue the opposite side and trim, then turn one of the remaining sides over the frame and glue, finish the last side and carefully trim any remaining screen.

The deckle is just the frame with the lip that holds the glass trimmed off.

Step 3: Ready Your Paper

Grab a friend, loved one or kid at hand and start cutting or tearing up your scrap paper (Cats are good supervisors) . Put the small pieces of paper in a glass container and add warm water. Let the pieces soak for at least an hour and then pour them into a blender. Put the lid on the blender and blend until the paper is a slurry.

Step 4: Prepare Your Mold and Deckle and Pour

Take your mold and deckle and place them one on top of the other as seen in photo. The deckle is on top and it's function is to form the shape of the paper. Clip mold and deckle together. At first we used 4 clips but since it didn't really fit into our pan I removed two of the clips. Two clips seemed to work just fine.
Take your tray and fill it about half way with water.
We've demonstrated two deckles one using pantyhose and the second using screen window fabric cut from an old screen.
Depending on what effect you're looking for, you can either pour your seeds into the paper slurry or wait and place the seeds on top of the paper.
Pour or spoon your slurry of paper scraps on to the deckle and partially submerge the deckle and mold in water to spread your paper evenly across the deckle. You want it to appear approx. 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Once pressed, it will be thinner. However, you don't want it to be too thin or it will tear easily when wet.
If you've mixed seeds into the slurry then you're done with this step, otherwise now would be a good time to sprinkle seeds of your choice on to the top of the paper.

Step 5: Sponge Off Excess Water

Take the piece of clear plastic that was in the picture frame and insert it on top of the newly made paper. Press it down until you've pressed out some of the water. Remove the spring clips and the deckle. You'll be left with the mold, paper and plastic piece. Flip it over on a hard surface and use your sponge to remove as much water from the paper as possible. When the sponge does not absorb any more water when pressed on the screen you can then remove the screen. Carefully peel the paper off the plastic and place the paper on your drying rack. You've made your first sheet of paper

Step 6: Embelilsh Your Paper

Here's where you can get fancy. OK, I personally rarely use the word. EMBELLISH doesn't really sound manly, geeky or gnarly enough for me personally. However, it rubbed off from my wife and even though I AM manly, geeky and gnarly enough to use it without fear.............. perhaps "throw some more stuff on there" might sound better.
My wife was kind enough to punch out some letters with one of her magic letter punching tools and we pressed them into the wet paper. The letters were also made with our handmade paper and you could even put different seeds into different papers and create an entire garden card!
Optionally you could use Organic inks and dyes to write on your paper.

Step 7: Grow Your Card

Once you've completed your card and it's nice and dry, putting the card to use is easy. Find yourself a lovely pot, fill it with your favorite garden mix and place the card on top, covering it lightly with soil. Water your card regularly and in no time you'll find yourself a garden of delights. Something I've noticed is that paper with seeds pressed it will disburse the seeds freely when watered. There is much less spreading of seeds with paper that has had the seeds mixed into the slurry.

Step 8: Blooming Pansy Card

One more example of a blooming card you can make with handmade paper. For this card I first made some blue paper with purple spots. When the paper was dry I cut out pansy petal shapes using the seed packet photos as a guide. The leaves were made with green handmade paper and the white background paper had pansy seeds mixed into the paper pulp slurry.

This is one of those projects where the end results are only limited by your imagination. Give it a try!

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