Ah, summer. We’re so happy to see you. It seems like forever since you’ve been around. Manicured gardens are now blooming around town and wildflowers are beginning to add splashes of color out in the meadows. Everywhere, the sensory feast of summer awakens fond memories from our childhoods. Outdoor sights and smells trigger summer camp memories like canoeing across the lake to the boys camp, telling scary stories by the campfire, and making arts & crafts with old school tools and materials.
The license to do outdoorsy crafts doesn’t expire at the end of childhood, so we decided that this week we’d have some giggles as we celebrate the beauty of our return to summer. We recently purchased a card with a piece of handmade paper embedded with flower seeds and we were inspired to make our own seeded paper. One thought triggered the next, and we moved on to a three dimensional paper-making project. Next thing you know, we are forming Handmade Paper Seed Pebbles and launching them with a slingshot into the untapped nether regions of our yard. Summer - bring on the wildflowers! If our aim wasn’t perfect (wink, wink) and a weedy patch on the roadside magically sprouts wildflowers too, well… bonus! The kid is still in us, after all.
This easy project has many happy attributes: you can use recycled materials, it is a fun handmade gift for a friend and it’s an easy project to do with kids. In the end, there are more flowers growing in your town, so even the bees and butterflies will be happy.
Gather some uncoated paper and head to the kitchen. This activity is like making cookies with paper, water, and seeds. You can tear your paper into little bits with your hands, but a paper shredder does the job faster. Put the shredded paper in a bowl, and cover with warm water. If you are using more than one color, have a separate bowl for each color. Leave the paper to soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. After soaking, pour the contents of one bowl into a blender and mix until the shreds turn back into pulp. It will have the consistency of apple sauce.
Next, strain most of the water out of the pulp with a mesh strainer, by gently pressing down on it. Sprinkle in some flower seeds and lightly knead the pulp a few times to evenly distribute the seeds. Form into balls by rolling and squeezing the pulp between the palms of your hands. Click here for details. You can also form the dough into specific shapes by using open-topped cookie cutters. Add dried, pressed leaves and flowers if you would like to embellish your work further. Either way, once your seed pebbles are squeezed and formed, place them on a kitchen towel or a drying rack in a warm space, out of direct sunlight so they can dry out.
For a gift, we made a slingshot to go with the colorful seed pebbles. After finding just the right branch in the woods, we whittled the bark off and added details with thread and leather, attaching the sling to the stick with rubber bands. Tied to a little pouch full of seed pebbles, this is a unique gift and a fun conversation starter.
Note: Once you have made seed pebbles and flung them into your yard with a slingshot, don’t forget they will need water to germinate and sprout, just like any plant. Sling them before the last spring showers have gone away and your job will be easier. And even though it might be tempting to grab your slingshot and some seed pebbles every time you pass a weedy, uncared-for field, go at your own risk and practice good gardener karma.