This year, we tried something a little different to thank our volunteers, with a unique gift at our Volunteer Appreciation event. The gift was such a huge hit, we had to promise to provide the "recipe" so volunteers could try making their own. So, here's how to make your own native flower seed paper:
- Preferred colour/s of tissue paper (hack: save the tissue from gifts you receive!)
- 100% recycled paper
- Native flower seeds: blue flax, golden aster, smooth fleabane (available from the Edmonton Native Plant Group)
- Small piece of window screen
- Old wooden picture frame
- Staple gun
- Rolling pin
- Blender dedicated to blending paper (ask if you can borrow ours!)
- Parchment paper
- Nail or crochet needle or something pointy to make a hole in the seed paper
Step 1: Assemble the frame.
Stretch a piece of screen over the wooden frame and attach it using a staple gun. Voila!
Step 2: Make the pulp.
Shred your tissue and recycled paper into small pieces and soak them in warm water for at least an hour. Start with a small amount of softened paper with 2 parts water in the blender, and slowly add more and more, ensuring the paper isn't jamming the blender. Once all the paper is mush, add the seeds to the blender and pulse blend the mixture together.
Step 3: Turn pulp into seed paper sheets
Place your frame in a sink or container (with the stretched screen side facing up) and pour the pulp/seed/water mixture onto the screen. Using your hands, spread the pulp out over the screen and press it, to remove as much water as possible. Flip the spongy paper onto parchment paper, removing the screen frame, and lay another sheet of parchment paper over top. Roll out the paper until it is even thickness throughout. Dab with paper towel or a rag to help remove excess water. Leave it to dry for several hours (works best overnight). The paper will warp a little - but that's okay!
Hack: make separate sheets using different coloured tissue to create a variety of coloured seed paper.
Step 4: Shape and finish your seed paper gifts.
Print a flower and circle shape out on scrap paper and cut them out to use as stencils. Trace your stencils with a sharpie onto the dry paper, and then cut along the lines with scissors. Use a nail, crochet needle, or whatever you have on hand, to create a hole in the center of each circle and flower, and then thread string through both to connect them together. Add a planting instruction tag if you wish: plant, water and watch it grow (patience is a virtue - native flowers may take 2 years to grow).