Monday, April 9, 2012

Teachers' Easter Treat

Any idea what this soupy mess is??

If you guessed a mess you would probably be right.  :)  It is theoretically the beginning of paper pulp.  And why would I need paper pulp you ask?  Because I didn't have enough other things I needed to be doing, so I decided to make paper pulp just for fun??

Not exactly... While I was wracking my brain for an easy/inexpensive little teacher gift that I could slide in an Easter card for the kids' teachers a light bulb went off.  I had the brilliant idea to include some cutesy Easter shaped wildflower seed paper - similar to what you see at weddings or special events from time to time.

Unfortunately nothing is ever quite as simple as I imagine it will be... And this was no exception.  I thought (see where this went off the rails???) that I could find a roll of the paper at Walmart or Lowes or Home Depot or you know just about anywhere that has a garden department.  Cut it to shape and done.  Easy peasy.  Only none of those places, or any of the half dozen other places I looked carried the rolls of seed paper. 

So while I was stewing on what a perfect idea it was and how disappointed I was that no one carried it I decided that it couldn't be that hard to make it right?  So I turned to Professor Google.  And found several tutorials on how to make your own seed paper.  And what an easy project it was!  The kids could even help!!  Perfect!

So the kids and I plugged in the shredder and went to town shredding a nice blueish-turquoise paper which perfectly matched our Easter cards to make our own wildflower seed eggs.  We took the shredded paper and covered it with water and left it to soak all day.

After dinner we poured the soggy concoction into the blender and liquefied it until it was blue soup.  Then we added the wildflower seeds and a time, or two, or three of trial and error through the colander later we pressed out seeded paper pulp into future egg like shapes on a piece of felt and used towels to sop off the excess water. 

We then started the drying process.  We left part of the first batch to dry on it's own for 6 hours or so only to discover it was still as sopping wet 6 hours later as it was when we first poured it out.  Gotta love humidity right? 

So we switched to the hair dyer method which had me sweating, and wore out my forearm muscles but didn't quite produce the results I had hoped for.  So in a last ditch effort I layed the paper out on a pizza stone and popped it into the oven on low heat for about 10 minutes which FINALLY did the trick.  Whether the seeds will ever sprout now who knows, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the person who posted the oven idea knew what they were doing.  :)

Once they were dry I free handed them into egg shapes and set them out to dry overnight just to be sure they were completely dry.

I made a little tag to go with them with planting instructions and then slipped the egg, tag, and Easter card into an envelope.

The kids proudly delivered them to their teachers the next morning.  The teachers were duly impressed and teachers from both classes asked for instructions on how to make them for a future class project.  I asked all 6 teachers to let me know when they plant them what blooms and how they turn out.   Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will know... :)

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