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The original item was published from 2/8/2019 9:55:23 AM to 2/16/2019 12:00:14 AM.

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Environmental Services

Posted on: February 8, 2019

[ARCHIVED] How to make recyclable and plantable Valentine's Day cards.

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When is a recycled product better than the original? When it's paper that turns into flowers.

Here is a good way to recycle used paper and make a beautiful greeting card for someone special.

Make your own artsy paper that has wildflower seeds in it! Use colored markers to paint a design or message on it. Give it to someone special to plant in a pot or in the ground. Keep it wet and warm, and it will "recycle" into something far better than old, used paper.

What you need:

  • Used printer paper, cross-cut into tiny pieces by a paper shredder. Use 1-1/2 cups for each card.

  • Large bowl of warm water

  • Window screen material

  • Small embroidery hoop

  • Food coloring (optional)

  • Blender

  • 9 x 13-inch baking pan

  • Packet of wildflower or other seeds

  • Bath towels or several layers of felt squares

  • Waxed paper

  • Colored markers

    What to do:

1. Soak the paper pieces in the bowl of water overnight.

2. Put the soaked paper into the blender, then fill the blender halfway with fresh water.

3. Blend until the mixture is soupy.

4. Add food coloring, if desired, and blend some more.

5. Fill the baking pan one-quarter full of water, then pour in the blended paper mixture—or pulp.

6. Slip the embroidery hoop with screen in from the side so that it slides beneath the pulp and seeds. If necessary, spoon some of the pulp over the screen.

7. Lift the screen gently, catching the pulp mixture evenly on top and letting the water drain off.

8. Lay the screen on a bath towel or felt layers to drain.

9. Sprinkle some seeds on top of the wet pulp, and gently pat them into the surface of the pulp.

10. When the bath towel or felt has soaked up as much water as it can, pick up the hoop and turn it over onto a sheet of waxed paper to dry. (Seeds will be on the bottom.)

You may have to gently hit the hoop on the table or counter surface to loosen the pulp from the screen. If the pulp does not stick together, try putting more pulp on the screen next time.

11. Let the paper dry for at least 24 hours.

12. If the paper does not lie flat, place a heavy object (like a book) on it for a few hours to flatten it.

13. Decorate it with markers on the un-seeded side.

To plant the paper:

When you plant the paper, lay it on the surface of the soil and sprinkle about one-quarter-inch thick layer of soil on top. Water the soil lightly and keep the seeds wet until they sprout and have a few days to grow roots.

Good luck and happy recycling!

NASA Climate Kids - https://climatekids.nasa.gov/ 


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