Last weekend I attempted to make my own plantable paper. Until now I’ve been packaging my jewelry with old seed catalogs and boxes randomly pilfered from coworkers and friends, or salvaged cardboard from office coffee shipments. Recently, I hit upon the brilliant idea of biodegradable packaging. Its not exactly a new concept: If you can buy lipstick in plantable boxes why not jewelry embedded in wildflower seed “pods”? What could be cuter? or messier, as I soon discovered.
I bought a piece of window screen and stapled it to an old picture frame, then found a cheap blender which I promptly broke (but it still works if you stick a metal skewer into the operating mechanism). I began hoarding plotter paper trimmings from the recycling bin at work. I weeded out all but the whitest scraps, picturing pristine snowy boxes with pretty flower petals and seeds, but switched directions when I read that newspaper is better because it breaks down more easily. Actually, turns to mush is more like it. I ended up with sheets of squishy dishwater-gray lumpy rhombus’s. The lovely lavender flowers I so carefully sprinkled into the pulp congregated in a blob at one end of the screen, until the whole thing looked like the poo-ing grounds for a mob of mice.
I did end up with a couple of somewhat usable sheets, though when I tried to make boxes out of them a few days later they turned out mushy and slightly misshapen. The boxes would hardly protect their contents from a fruit fly, let alone a road trip through the United States Postal Service.
What’s that, you say? I can buy plantable paper online? Yes! But that would take all the fun out of it, wouldn’t it? I am not a scientist, but I will consider this my new personal mission: To engineer a presentable plantable box worthy of a pretty bauble or two.