Seed Balls from Recycled Paper

In this activity that I hosted for the Warren County Library System, we learn to make seed balls using recycled paper and native seeds. Watch the video or read on to learn more!

For this activity you will need:

  • Recycled newspaper
  • Seeds, preferably native to your area
  • Water
  • A blender (one reserved for crafts)
  • A bowl
  • A colander
  • Recycled tissue paper (optional)
  • Non-toxic paint (optional)

To start, shred or tear up your newspaper into small pieces. If you have the time, soak the shredded newspaper in warm water for 10 minute to overnight to help break it down.

Place the newspaper into a blender. Blend for up to 10 minutes to create pulp. Pour the pulp into a colander.

Squeeze out the excess water. You want the pulp to be damp so it can be shaped, but not soggy.

Form a ball roughly 1 inch in diameter. Flatten or break the ball and add a pinch of seeds to the center. Reshape the ball. Don’t add too many seeds, as they will compete with one another for sun, water, and nutrients once the germination process begins.

At this stage if you want to give your seed balls a fun shape, you can press the pulp and seed mixture into a candy mold or shaped ice cube tray. Or you can press the pulp into a cookie cutter placed on a cookie sheet.

If desired cover the seed balls with recycled tissue paper. Or let them dry and paint them.

To use the seed balls, disrupt the soil in the location you’ve chosen for planting. Place the balls in the soil, leaving several inches between them. Water the seed balls. It’s best to plan your planting for a time when you expect rain for a few days, to help with germination.

If you’d like to learn more about making seed balls or would like to make the traditional version using clay, check out my book The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. With over 100 projects for all ages and all budgets, this book makes planning camp a breeze!

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