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How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

Date Posted: April 13, 2016

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener How to Make Your Own Seed Paper
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

I recently interviewed a great guest on the Vegetable Gardening podcast, master gardener Diana Stoll. In the episode we talked about a blog post she wrote titled, On winter days, make seed tapes, where she gave a step by step tutorial on how to create your own seed tape. While reading it I did some research on seed tape and saw that seed paper was virtually the same concept, so, using Diana’s expertise, I decided to give making seed paper a go.

I decided to follow the basic instructions that Diana outlined. I substituted Elmer’s glue (since I had it handy) for the homemade glue using the flour.

Seed Paper Supplies

  • Vegetable Seeds

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperI used radish seeds that we sent out in the Seeds of the Month Club, Diana used carrot seeds. I found that using seeds for root crops was a great choice when it came to making the seed paper. The reason being, since root crops need space, using this seed paper, which spaces the seeds out evenly, is ideal for their growing needs.

  • Toilet Paper

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperI stayed with the suggestion of using toilet paper. After trying different types of paper, such as loose leaf, newspaper, and cardboard to name a few, I found that the toilet paper broke down the fastest and was easier to work with than I had first thought. I also had good success when I experimented with paper towels. The paper towels, however, were more expensive. Along with the price I had to do a lot more cutting to get them to fit exactly the way I wanted.
  • Elmer’s Glue

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperDiana, in her seed tape tutorial, used a homemade mixture of flour and water to create a glue. If you have ever done any paper mache, you know this recipe well. I, on the other hand, had a bottle of Elmer’s glue conveniently handy, so I used that instead. It is a non toxic variety that my kids use all the time for their craft projects, so I wasn’t worried about what it would do to the radish seeds.

  • Ruler/Tape measure

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperI used my tape measure to mark out the spacing in between the radish seeds. The variety of radish seeds that you'll see in the video, Comet, grow better when they are spaced out somewhere between 2 and 4 inches. I split the difference and measured out a 3 inch spacing. As a side note, a ruler would work just as well as the tape measure.

  • Pencil/Pen

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperI used a pencil to mark where you will place the glue and seeds. It happened to be nearby. If a pen were closer, I am sure I would have used the pen instead.

  • Scissors

    How to Make Your Own Seed PaperThe scissors can be used to cut the paper to size so that the final seed paper will fit nicely in your garden bed. You'll notice in the video that I used the scissors more as a paper weight than using them to cut. You could also just use your hands to rip the paper, but that makes the ends look messy, in my opinion anyway (as you’ll see in the video). I did try to get a bit fancy, and use a utility knife (not shown in the video). That was a big mistake. All that did was shred the paper. That probably had more to do with the blade being old, and user error, than anything else. Off camera, I found that the scissors were the best option when I tried cutting the paper a few different ways. In the video you see me rip it with my hands due to how windy it was outside.

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Assembling the Seed Paper

Now that we have all of our supplies nicely arranged and ready to go it is time to assemble our seed paper that we will use in our garden.

1] Measure the Toilet Paper

How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

The first thing I did was go outside and unroll the toilet paper to the inside length of my garden bed where the radish seeds were to be planted. I found this made the final seed paper product ideal when it came time to plant. I was able to simply put the finished seed paper in the garden bed, cover it with some dirt and water it. Mother nature took care of the rest.

2] Mark the Toilet Paper

How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

Using my tape measure and trusty pencil, I marked off every 3 inches on the toilet paper. The mark was nothing more than a small straight line big enough to see. It will be on this mark where the glue and radish seeds will eventually sit. I placed the mark, roughly, a quarter of the way into the paper. It doesn’t have to be exact as the paper will break down fairly quickly once planted. I’ll get to more on gluing the paper in a moment.

3] Glue the Seeds to the Paper

How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

On the mark I made in step 2, I placed a little dab of glue. Not a whole lot. Enough to get the seed to stick and just a little more so that when we fold over the paper, the paper will stick to itself. I’ll go into more detail about gluing the paper together to make a true seed paper in a moment. Once the glue is down, take one seed and drop it in the middle of the glue. You can use a pencil tip to push the seed down into the glue if you’d like. Not a required step, but it definitely helps.

4] Fold the Paper Over to Create the Seed Paper

How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

This step is where you make a true seed paper. A seed paper as I have seen it defined, is an enclosed paper that contains seeds in the middle. That is exactly what we are creating here. To finish your seed paper, simply fold over the paper at the halfway point and press down so the glue spreads out a bit, thus gluing more area of the paper so it will stick together. Try not to press too hard. You may rip the paper, unless you are using a 3 ply variety. I used the cheap stuff.

5] Let the Glue Dry Before Planting Your Seed Paper

How to Make Your Own Seed Paper

Before you run out to your garden and plant your newly created seed paper, let the glue dry. This will help keep the paper together, but more importantly, keep the seeds in place. If you plant it now, the seed may not stay where you put them and the whole idea of this exercise was to have evenly spaced radish seeds.

I did not do Diana’s final step, and that was, after the glue dried, placing the seed paper in plastic sandwich bags. If you find yourself making this seed paper before you can plant them, use Diana’s technique to store them for future use. Just make sure the glue is completely dry before you do. Otherwise you will have a mess on your hands.

Make your own seed paper today!

Happy gardening!

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Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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If you want to learn more about seed paper, check out these titles below:


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