Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Simple Seed Paper Flowers

These flowers encapsulate all my favorite things to do with kids in one project. There is a pretty art element, an environmental twist and some science as they watch the results grow. And just look at this beautiful bunch of flowers, who wouldn't want to receive the gift of a flower that can grow into a flower? Perfect. On top of all that its earth day this month so why not have your kids make these to give to someone for earth day?

This all started with me wanting to make seed paper with the kids at the Blue Barn. I was struggling with how time consuming it was to wait for the paper to dry out once created and I needed to have it ready for them to take home at the end of the 2 hour session. On the flip side I was looking into starting a children's garden in my community and in doing so stumbled across the idea of making seed paper on Pinterest using toilet paper, seeds and a flour paste to help with the spacing of seeds when going out to plant with young children. I thought to myself if I could make the seed paper look pretty then maybe we wouldn't have to wait for drying traditional seed paper.

The inspiration from the pretty part came from a project we made last year, Spring Flowers for this we used coffee filters and food coloring to create beautiful paper flowers.

You will need:

Coffee filters (2 per flower)
Food coloring - you could also use liquid watercolors for a more vibrant color
Seeds, we used sunflower and wild flower
Craft stick
Pipe cleaner

Step 1

The first part of our process involved dyeing the coffee filter paper, this is such a fun activity by itself your kids will want to do more than one so have plenty of coffee filters available. You actually need 2 papers for each flower.

We mixed food coloring with water to create our colors and then used a pipette to transfer colors to the paper. You can also use liquid watercolors if you have them for an even more vibrant color, and if you have no pipette a teaspoon works as well (or use a teaspoon for younger children).

Once the paper is covered in color you need to hang it to dry. If you are trying to get this project done in one sitting you can dry the filter papers in your oven (set to around 175 F) it only takes around 5 minutes then.

Step 2

While the papers are drying you can mix up the paste. How much you need depends on how many flowers you intend to make. We used about 1 tablespoon of flour and added water to mix it to a smooth paste.

Step 3

Once your coffee filter is dry you can begin pasting on the seeds. We did this in 2 different ways. 

The first was to place dollops of the paste in a spiral starting in the center of the filter paper and working your way to the outside. This method is best used when you have seeds that need to be placed at certain  distances apart.

On top of each dollop paste we placed a sunflower seed.

The second way we tried was to paint a thin coating of the paste all over the filter paper, then sprinkle with seeds. We used this second method with the wild flower seeds as they were so tiny it was easier for the kids to sprinkle them like glitter. This way was easier for the younger kids but did require the paste to dry completely before you could cut the filter paper in the next stage.

Once you have added your seeds to the wet paste place the second sheet of filter paper on top of the first and leave to dry.

Step 4

Once you have the two sides together you can cut, a spiral starting from the outermost seed through to the center seed. For the purpose of this blog I drew the cutting marks onto one of the filters to show you. As mentioned previously if you painted the entire paper and sprinkled seeds you will have to wait for the paste to dry before you can cut the paper.

Once the paper is cut you will be left with a strip of flower paper ready to twist into a flower.

Step 5

Starting at the center of your coiled seed paper take a popsicle stick and begin to twirl the paper around the stick.

Keep working around until you reach the end and you should have a rose shaped flower on the top of your stick.

Secure the end in place with green pipe cleaner, twist around and form into a leaf shape. We wrote the seed type onto the flower stem, this can be placed into the garden when you plant the seeds to mark them.

How beautiful?

To plant these simple, unroll the flower and plant paper according to the seed packet instructions.

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