Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seed Valentine's Day Cards to Plant

 Seed Valentine’s Day Cards to Plant

My daughter and I came up with this idea for a sweet, 
hand-made Valentine's Day card... that will grow into a garden!  

We made handmade paper with seeds and, along with a stack of scrapbook paper, set to work making special "seed cards" for her kindergarten classmates.  We wanted cards that would would show she cared about the other kids plus something fun (and educational) that they could do with it after Valentine's Day.  (And it was a creative snow-day project for us!) 

Materials needed for 25 cards:
- kitchen blender
- rags or old towels (may get stained so don't use good towels)
- about 20 sheets of white or pink copy paper, ripped up into 1" strips  (used paper makes interesting designs and counts as recycling!)
- seeds for easy-to-grow plants, about 3-6 per card (We used pumpkin seeds leftover from last summer; other good seeds include sunflowers, marigolds, cucumbers, and squash.)
- red food coloring (optional)
- waterproof paper (like wax paper) or thin cardboard for making heart stencil
- variety of construction paper or scrapbook paper
- white all-purpose glue
- scissors
- markers (We used metallic silver Sharpie)
- pencil

Step 1: Rip up copy paper and add to blender.  Fill blender with enough water to cover paper completely.  Add about 8 drop red food coloring.  Pulse blender and mix with spoon as needed, until paper is chopped well.  (Add more water if it's too thick.)

Step 2:  Cut out a heart stencil from waterproof paper/thin cardboard (about 4"-5" tall).  Lay it on a towel and weigh down edges with silverware.  Spoon paper pulp into heart shape so it's about 1/2" thick, using stencil as a guide.  (It helps to drain or squeeze out extra water as you spoon pulp.)  Stick seeds in gently at an angle so one edge is covered with pulp.

Step 3:  Remove stencil.  Place a dry towel over pulp heart and lightly press down to absorb extra water and flatten pulp.  Repeat to make the rest of the hearts.  Transfer hearts to a dry towel and allow to dry for 24 hours. 

Step 4:  You can make the cards when the pulp hearts are dry.  Fold a piece of construction paper in half and lay the pulp heart over it; cut out a heart slightly larger than the pulp heart and making a long side of the heart the fold.

Step 5:  Cut out another heart slightly larger than the folded heart (this one is not folded).  Using a pencil, center and trace the folded heart onto the large heart.

Step 6:  Using the pencil line as a guide, use metallic Sharpie to create a border design on the largest heart.  Overlap the pencil line a little.

Step 7:  Glue all 3 hearts together.  (The middle, folded heart will open as the card.)  Lay cards on a flat surface and stack a heavy book on top until dry, about 1-2 hours.

Step 8:  Decorate the inside of the card with cut-out hearts, markers, and your "Happy Valentine's Day" sentiment!  Include directions for planting the seeds (including type of seed and planting depth).  As long as all paper you used is biodegradable, the entire card can be planted in the ground!  It will decompose as the seeds start to grow.

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