Depending on your what seeds you used, you should start seeing sprouts within 7- 14 days and flowers after 8- 12 weeks. Pictures: Supplied

Bring your gifts to life this Valentine’s Day with a personal and unique gift for your loved one. Don’t just send a card, send a card that keeps on giving in the form of herbs, vegetables or flowers. Stand out from the ordinary with this step by step DIY Valentines’ activity by making biodegradable plantable gift cards with embedded seeds in them.

How it works

This DIY activity is fairly easy to make as it does not require any use of special equipment. Seed paper is paper that has small seeds embedded into it. When the paper is placed on soil and watered, the paper decomposes whilst the seeds germinate and sprout seedlings which will grow into mature plants.
Let your Valentine know how much they have grown on you by making them something special. 

What you'll need.

Here is what you will need:

  • Assorted types of recyclable paper which may include but are not limited to tissue paper, egg cartons, newspapers and scraps of unprinted paper.
  • Flower seeds
  • Mixing bowl/dish
  • Towel or cloth
  • An old picture frame
  • Pantyhose
  • A tray
  • A blender (Preferably use an old blender)
  • For natural ink/paint consider using beets, carrots, berries, or other strong pigmented fruits/vegetables
  • Ruler/Scissor

Step 1: Prepping your paper 

Collect your assorted paper scraps, cut or tear them into small pieces and place them in a covered bowl/dish with hot water. Ensure the level of water does not allow the paper to dry out, and soak for at least 8 hours.

Step 2: Blending

After your paper has soaked, blend it with some of its soaking water until its completely pulp.

After your paper has soaked, blend it with some of its soaking water until its completely pulp. Should you decide to work with a lot of paper, make sure to blend the paper in batches.

  •  Pour your pulp into a mixing bowl and add enough water to make it settle 10 centimetres deep.
  •  Add your natural dye to your pulp,(we chose to use beetroot juice) and stir well.
  • Sprinkle about a teaspoon of flower seeds into the mixture. DO NOT BLEND! Stir them only.

Step 3: Prepping the Frame

Clean your old frame by removing any excess material like glass, staples or any nails carefully. Take your pantyhose and stretch 1 leg over the frame. Stretch and adjust it until it's tightly and evenly pulled across the frame. Tie a knot to keep it in place.

Allow the paper to dry


Step 4: Forming the paper

  • Sprinkle a few more seeds on onto your screen then pour the paper pulp over the screen. 
  • Use your fingers to spread the paper around into a rough rectangular shape. How thick you make the paper is up to you. Keep in mind that the thicker it is, the longer it will take to dry. If it takes too long to dry, there's a chance your seeds could sprout or get ruined.

Step 5: Absorb the excess water

Place a towel underneath your screen and firmly press down on the back of the pantyhose to further remove excess water.

Step 6: Allow the paper to dry

Now leave these to dry completely. This takes different lengths of time, depending on how hot and humid it is where you live. Once your paper is dry, peel it off the screen. You may need a knife or other thin object to help get the edges started.

Step 7: Make your card

Using a ruler to help crease these makes it a lot easier to fold, since they're thick and sometimes have seeds in the way of the crease. Trim the edges as desired using a scissor or ruler. Decorate the card as desired and share the wonder of seed paper & reduced paper waste.

Growing your card

To grow the card: Dig a hole large enough for the card to be flat. You can tear the card into pieces to fit smaller areas such as a pot. Water the card thoroughly, cover with soil, and then water again. The paper will compost into the soil and help hold moisture until the seeds start to grow. Depending on your what seeds you used, you should start seeing sprouts within 7- 14 days and flowers after 8- 12 weeks.

For more gardening trends and inspiration visit the Life is a Garden website www.lifeisagarden.co.za/