handmade paper seed pebbles
(Makes approximately 10 - 1" pebbles)
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. Distribute the pebbles with a slingshot for the most fun. Whether you are seeding a forgotten patch in your yard or enlivening a meadow, you will also be making the bees and butterflies happy.
2 cups uncoated paper (torn or shredded)*
1 tsp wildflower seeds, native to your region
* To make seed pebbles a certain color, start with that color paper. If you use junk mail or other printed documents from your shredder, the colors will blend together to make your pebbles a shade of grey. For a variety of differently colored pebbles, shred, soak and blendeach color separately.
fine mesh food strainer
drying rack (optional)
waxed paper (optional)
Put shredded paper* in a bowl, and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Pour the soaked paper and water into blender. If the paper is not completely immersed, add more water. This will keep your blender running smoothly and without stress. Starting on low, slowly increase the blender speed to high. Mix until the shreds turn back into pulp, with a consistency of apple sauce (approximately one minute).
Set strainer over bowl and pour in the pulp, straining out the water. Lift strainer out and empty water from the bowl. Place strainer back over bowl and press the pulp into the screen to release more water. Note: If pulp gets too dry, it won’t form smoothly into a ball. Squeeze a test ball, and if it doesn’t stick together or has creases and gaps, add more water back into the pulp and try again.
When the pulp is the consistency of a moist dough (still moldable), press it relatively flat in the strainer and sprinkle seeds evenly over the dough. Knead it gently several times to evenly distribute the seeds.
Take a small section of paper dough into the palm of your hand and gently squeeze out the excess water, letting it run through your fingers. With your other hand, form the ball shape, being careful not to dislodge any seeds. This is more of a squeezing process, as rolling the pulp into a ball does not work as well.
When the pebble is your desired size and shape, and you can’t squeeze any more water out without crushing it, place it on a drying rack or a towel. Continue to form all the pebbles using the same method. Once they are all formed, leave the pebbles to dry in a warm place, away from the sunshine. You don’t want them to sprout before you sling them!
If you want to form your pulp into shapes using open-topped cookie cutters, line the counter with a kitchen towel (or wax paper) and place the cutter on top. Follow the same method as above to reduce water and add seeds, then take a section of pulp dough and push into the cookie cutter shape instead of making a ball. Once in the cutter, press down on the pulp with your fingers, reducing the water. When dry enough, you can remove cutter and the pulp will be shaped.
To make thin seeded paper, use a flat mesh screen over an absorbent towel to drain and work the pulp until it is flat and at the thickness you desire. Place the paper on a rack to dry.
To add dried, pressed flowers or leaves, add them just before adding seeds. Gently mix into the pulp to distribute. Alternately, you can press a flattened flower into the top of the paper as a decorative accent.
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.