Aaron's Earth Day gift to his classmates! Let the wildflowers bloom!

I know I've shared before how my children love Earth Day, and they love crafts!
 Especially my youngest son Aaron.  He's the resident artist.  You could buy him crayons, tablets, paints, anything artsy, during every shopping trip and he'd be perfectly happy.

Well for Earth Day, after having made recycled paper with their Bill Nye kit, he decided he wanted to make it for his class.  Then we read you could add flower seeds into it!
So that's what we did.  They simply have to plant the biodegradable paper, keep it moist, and watch it grow! 
We printed out a cute quote from "The Lorax" with planting instructions and put it all in a ziplock bag.  He will hand it out on Earth Day!

You can easily make recycled paper.  Just Google "easy paper making" or something similar.  You really don't need much.

And it's a cheap craft!  

Essentially you need:
Paper [newspaper, tissue paper, construction paper, copy paper]
Big bowl

food coloring [optional]
screen deckle [generally some screen, stapled onto 4 pieces of wood trim or something similar]
Rolling pin

You soak torn up pieces of paper in a big bowl of water 4-6 hours.
Take the mixture, pour it in the blender until it forms a slurry.
Fill your kitchen sink with enough water to cover the screen deckle. 
Put the deckle in the water.
Add some of the slurry until it covers the deckle, but not too thick.
Bring up the deckle out of water, let it drain as much water as you can.
Set the deckle on a towel.
Take a piece of felt the size of the deckle, and cover it.
Place a towel on top of it and push out as much water as you can with your hands.
Take the deckle, turn it over, and lightly tap the screen to get the paper mixture to pop off.
Place the paper mixture on top of the felt, add another piece of felt on top of that, and then the towel on top of that.
Take the rolling pin and roll over the paper hard to get as much more water out as possible.

Lay the paper flat on a tray to dry.
You can dry it outside in the sun or put it in a low temp oven [150-170 degrees] for 20-60 minutes or enough to get the majority of the dampness out.  Then let the rest air dry.

Newspaper will produce a gray earthy color.
To have various colored paper, use white copy paper and add in food coloring after you've made the slurry.
You can also add dry flower petals or flower seeds to your paper.
Add these in just before you press the water out in the deckle.

There you have it.  A fun weekend craft, that can keep on giving!


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