DIY: Plantable Gift Tags
Recycle your junk mail and encourage gardening with this easy project.
Project by Kendra Zvonik, St. Petersburg, Florida
Isn’t it about time your junk mail had a purpose? Now you can turn it into plantable gift tags, using this simple method from Kendra Zvonik. She sells these tags at her Etsy store, using 100% recycled materials.
Here’s what you’ll need to start:
- Junk mail
- Paper shredder
- Hand mixer
- If desired, sort your junk mail into colors. Or mix everything together to make gray. (For this project, do not use newspapers, magazines or other glossy printed material.)
- Using a shredder, shred paper in batches, then soak pieces in bucket(s) with water for about 24 hours.
- Remove the shreds and blend with a hand mixer, making a creamy, smooth pulp. If it’s too dry, add water. Spread to dry if not using immediately.
Now it’s time to turn your pulp into paper. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8½-in. x 11-in. mold and deckle (make your own or buy here)
- Recycled paper pulp (above)
- Large plastic tub
- Large sponges
- Felt sheets, approximately 10 in. x 13 in.
- Add roughly 1/3 lb. dried pulp to 5 gal. clean water in a large plastic tub. (If pulp is still wet, use more than 1/3 lb.) The mixture should be loose, not too watery and not too thick (something like a creamy soup). Mix often with your hand or a hand mixer to keep pulp evenly dispersed in the water.
- Take your mold and deckle and gently but quickly submerge it in the tub. Enter the tub with the front edge first, scooping the pulp away from you. If you plunge too deeply into the tub, your sheet will be too thick. If you don’t go deep enough, the sheet will be uneven or incomplete. It takes practice, so be patient.
- Drain water from the mold back into the tub. Carefully pull deckle upward and away from the mold and set aside.
- Place your newly formed sheet on a felt sheet. You can achieve this with a continuous rocking motion from the back edge of the mold to the front edge. Repeat as desired to make more sheets. Set mold aside.
Ready to make your gift tags? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cookie cutters)
- Plastic squeeze bottle
- Large sponge
- Felt sheets
- Flat clothes-drying rack
- Hole punch
- While your newly formed sheet of paper is still wet on the felt, firmly press a cookie cutter into the pulp and then spread approximately 1/8 tsp. seeds inside the shape.
- Next, fill your squeeze bottle with pulp mixture from the tub. Using the bottle, fill the inside of the cookie cutter about halfway, covering the seeds. Let the pulp settle. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 to form more tags.
- Remove the cookie cutter. Cover the entire paper sheet with a felt sheet and sponge away the excess water.
- Carefully flip the felt and sponge the back side. Remove the top felt sheet. Pick up the bottom felt sheet with your paper on top and gently flip the felt over onto a drying rack so your tags are facing upward.
- Peel and remove the final felt to finish air-drying overnight.
- Once it’s dry, you can cut the shapes out, punch the holes and string them up. Done!