Gifts That Grow: Making Plantable Botanical Paper Part Three

flower-picture-143498_640Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz

In the first two parts of this four-part series on making your own plantable botanical paper, I covered making and using molds or deckles as well as discussed in-length the various kinds of paper that can be used to make your paper with. This week, I’ll show you the different ways to bring your beautiful hand-crafted paper to life using textural elements, botanicals, and yes, seeds!

Decorating Botanical Paper

Now that you have given some thought to the desired color and texture of your paper, consider adding one or two additional items that will add a bit of drama and flair to the finished paper. Like all crafts, there are many kinds of products you can buy specifically for decorating paper. However, many decorative elements can be had for free if you just keep an open mind. Look to your kitchen and craft supply shelf for free, fun and organic textural elements.

  • Confetti and Paper Punch-Outs
  • Cotton String or Thread
  • Crushed Egg or Sea Shells
  • Dried Herbs and Spices
  • Hemp, Thread or Sisal
  • Mica
  • Pressed Flowers, Petals or Leaves

Keep in mind that adding too many decorative items, especially large or very smooth ones, can leave holes in your finished paper and detract from the overall look you are trying to achieve. Some elements such as paper punch outs and dried herbs should be gently stirred into the prepared paper slurry by hand just before it is poured it into the mold. Doing so blends the elements into the paper without distorting their shapes or colors.

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Don’t Forget the Seeds!

Of course, seeded paper isn’t any good without the seeds! And while almost any type of seed can be added to your paper, larger seeds demand a thicker finished paper. The smaller the seeds, the thinner the paper can be.

One fun way to make your seeded paper into a special gift is by customizing it around a central theme. One of the easiest themes to use for any occasion is color. Is your best friend having a baby? Make shower name cards that have been embedded with pink flower seeds for a girl and blue flower seeds for a boy. Wedding favors can be tagged using seeded paper with several kinds of white flowers, such as baby’s breath, Gerbera daisies and white carnations. Below are a few more seed groupings that will help you get those creative juices flowing.

  • Annual or Perennial Flowers
  • Butterfly Plants
  • Kitchen Herbs
  • Medicinal Herbs
  • Native Wildflowers
  • Vegetables

Add any of these textural elements to your home-made botanical paper as you mix your slurry or immediately after it has been poured into the mold or deckle, smoothing and arranging each so that it flows into the paper itself.

To allow the natural beauty of your seeded paper to shine through, keep additional adornments like these to a minimum and spread them out so they aren’t clumped all together or overwhelm the surface of the paper. In other words, let the paper itself shine through! Limiting the quantity of decorative elements also goes a long way to ensuring your paper is both strong and flexible. Too many non-paper add-ons can quickly become the downfall to the integrity of the finished product.

Decorative Ideas for Finished Paper

My favorite way to decorate small cards is to punch a hole in one corner and thread it with pretty ribbon, jute or raffia. And to let the recipient know exactly what it is they have just received, a short explanation can be written on the back:

This hand-made paper is embedded with the seeds of Genovese Basil. Simply tear the card into small pieces and plant ¼” deep in good garden soil spaced 15” apart. Seeds will germinate in 7-10 days.”

Of course, you can write whatever you like on the front or the inside of the card. Most types of ballpoint, gel, roller and calligraphy pens work well on seeded paper, but test it on a piece of scrap just to be sure. Should your paper not take well to the ink you want to use, try brushing the surface with diluted acrylic matte medium and allowing it to dry completely. This will seal the paper, allowing you to use any kind of ink, or even watercolors, to make your seeded botanical paper even more special.

Now that we’ve covered everything all the supplies and how-to’s, you’re ready to make paper!!  So, gather up your supplies and check back here next week for step by step instructions for making your own plantable botanical paper!

See you then!

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Gardening, foraging, herbs, homesteading, slow food, nature, and more!
© Jill Henderson

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Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz  Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons and Illuminati Agenda 21 can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.  Jill is a featured columnist for Acres USA and a contributing author to Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal among other publications and videos.

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5 responses to “Gifts That Grow: Making Plantable Botanical Paper Part Three

  1. Thank you Jill for sharing. Great work!

  2. Wonderful series Jill! It fits with a recent inspiration I had after facilitating a nature-connection session to use only environmentally kind art materials and include an option to make them also. One of so many ways to re-engage ourselves with what matters. Love to you xxx

    • Thanks, Sara. I’m so glad it inspired you! Making art paper with recycled materials and botanicals would be a wonderful project for that type of gathering. There’s no better feeling than to recycle waste into something both beautiful and functional. Part four is on it’s way with detailed instructions.

  3. Pingback: Gifts That Grow: Making Plantable Botanical Paper Part Four | Show Me Oz

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