After some research and mild personal experience, most seed bombs don't seem work the way we would like them too. Seeds are very sensitive to moisture. The seeds will start to germinate in the process and then die when the seed bombs dry out. If you happen to be lucky and not have this happen, there then tends to be a problem with over seeding, and the plants die while competing for space to grow. It's a shame because seed bombs are such a beautiful idea.
With this in mind, I wanted to try to make a seed bomb that would avoid both of these problem. I decided to make a hollow seed bomb, so the seeds wouldn't have to soak in the pulp material and I could control how many seeds went into each bomb. This is the process I came up with.
For the examples I made, I used Marigold seeds in little skulls for Dia De Los Muertos. Marigolds are a very traditional flower for the celebration of the dead. It's actually known as the "flower of the dead" in south america culture. Marigolds are used in the festivity decorations both dried and alive. So, it seemed only fitting that they would go in a skull seed bomb.
For the hearts I used Marigolds and forget-me-nots. I got the idea from a Motion City Soundtrack song lyric, "thank you for being apart of my Forget-me-nots and Marigolds, and all of the things that don't get old". I thought it might be a nice idea for a loved one that has passed. The Marigolds still representing those who have died, and the Forget-me-nots as a remembrance kind of thing. Plus I like the idea of planting something in honor of someone. I find watching things grow to be a very healing process.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Things you will need:
- Large Mixing Bowl, something that can withstand boiling water.
-Paper Towels/Cloth Towel
-Toilet Paper/Scrap Paper
- Elmers/PVA (polyvinyl acetate) Glue
-Food Coloring (optional)
Step 2: Rip It
If you choose to use scrap paper or old new paper, rip it up into small pieces in the bowl. After considering what toilet paper is used for, and having a few leftover rolls from a brand we didn't like, I figured this use was as good as any. Since toilet paper is much softer and thinner I didn't break it up, but I could have.
Once you have all of you paper in the bowl, let your cat inspect your work to make sure you did it right.
Step 3: Soak It
This step is easy. Boil some water and add it to the bowl with your paper. Make sure everything is completely submerged. The hot water helps soften the paper a little faster. If you are working with little kids, you could totally use cold or warm water, it will just have to soak a little longer. With this method, I just wait until the water is cool enough to stick my had in. Only takes 30 minutes to an hour to cool.
Step 4: Blend It
I like to use an immersion blender. They are so handy! If you don't have one, you could put small batches in a regular blender. Of course you wouldn't want to put anything with ink or dye in a blender you use for food. This became my crafting blender once we got a new one. They are relatively cheap. I can usually find one for about $15. Anyway, once the water is cool, use the blender until you have a consistent mush. With the toilet paper, mine kind looked like instant mashed potatoes.
Step 5: Drain It
Now line your strainer with the cheese cloth. Poor you paper pulp into the strainer. Lift up the cheese cloth to help it drain. Twist off the cheese cloth and lightly squeeze to help drain off excess liquid. You want your paper pulp to be wet enough to still stick together, but not so wet that it easily falls apart.
Step 6: Glue It and Maybe Dye It
This is the point where if you want to add color, you can. I used food coloring, and just mixed it with my hands. In retrospect, I probably should have used gloves or a spoon, but live and learn.
I mixed half red and left half white because I have both heart and skull molds I want to use.
Then just add some glue. You don't need a whole lot. You just want something to hold the paper together once it dries. PVA glue is water soluble, but I think less is more, because you don't want it to bee too difficult for the seeds to grow out of once you toss them outside.
Step 7: Mold It
I used silicon molds for this project. I assume any kind of mold would work, you might just need to use some kind of mold release first. The good thing about this project is if you mess up, you could just dump them back in water and start all over again.
Lightly pack your molds with the paper pulp glue mixture. Make sure the mold are full but the pulp is still fairly loose and wet. Now turn your mold on and angel, and preferably over a towel, and press the pulp into the mold. Let the water drain out onto the towel. Try to press into the sides and bottoms of the mold. You want to try to make a little indent in the mold you are making. This is where we will put the seeds in later.
Step 8: Time to Dry and Assemble!
Since we do not have the seeds mixed into the paper, feel free to set these by a heat source to help speed up the drying process. If you decide stick them directly in the oven, make sure your molds can handle it. I may or my not have melted a set of molds this way before. I know mine are ice cube molds. Not great with direct heat, but because I am incredibly impatience, once mine were dry enough to remove from the mold without distorting them. I did. Then i threw them on a cookie sheet and bakes them at a low heat until completely dry. I also laid the extra pulp in a flat sheet on paper towel and baked those dry too.
After everything is all dried, put a few seeds of your choice in the indent of your paper mold. Just a couple, you don't want the seeds to be over crowded when they grow. I did 3-6 seeds in each. Then line the edge with some more PVA glue, and use a piece of the flat sheet of pulp you made to cover the back. I just ripped mine to fit. When I do this again, i will probably take the time to cut the backs out nicely, or make backs using the molds again.
Once the glue is dry, your seed bombs are ready to go.