How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

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How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

{This post was first published in 2012 but I thought I’d post it again for those of you who missed it}

Have you ever made your own newspaper pots before? If you haven’t, they are are super easy to make. Some people use tin cans, but I prefer to use the Pot MakerI’ve found I can whip out a batch of 50 pots for my seedlings in about 20 minutes or less.

pot makerHere is a quick tutorial on how to use the Pot Maker.


Cut newspaper strips 4″ by 9″ each. {20 pots = 20 strips of newspaper}how to make a paper pot

Cover pot maker with newspaper and roll.
make your own paper pot

Make sure your paper is wrapped tight around the pot to make a paper pot

Fold the bottom of the paper to make a paper pot

Place the newspaper wrapped pot maker in the stand that’s included with the kit and give it a little to make a paper pot

And a to make a paper pot seedlings

Then slowly remove the newspaper from the wooden pot maker. how to make a seedling paper pot

It’s that easy.
paper pot for seedlings

Add potting soil, seeds and a little bit of water and you’re good to go. DIY-paper-pot-seedlings

These pots are not only easy to make, but pretty thrifty too. Free newspaper √ Free labor √ {have your kids make them} Life is good! Bontanical Interests has the Pot Maker on sale right now for $12.98.

Do you make your own pots or just buy them at the store instead?


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  1. Love it! My sister said she saw something similar on pinterest involving a blender and paper. I may have to look it up. Those sound great with all this paper laying around.

    • Hmm. I wonder what they do with the pureed paper?

      • She also said they were formed using the back of a cupcake pan. I’m going hunting for it today.

        • Let me know what you find out. I’m curious.

          • I know it’s a year later, but I’ve only recently discovered your blog… :) … I found the post on Pinterest about using paper to make seedling cups. I just used junk mail and old egg cartons. It’s turned out fairly well so far. I couldn’t use the back of the cupcake pan, it didn’t want to spread as evenly. I pressed it inside, as thinly as possible, and let them dry over night. Then they were a bit damp so I baked them for about 30 mins at 200. That did the trick. I have small children and they quite enjoyed ripping up the paper. :) I have peppers planted in the right now, they seem to be holding up well to being watered.

    • We make homemade paper by pureeing newspaper, putting the pulp on a screen to dry out, adding glitter, color, dried flowers or seeds and then turn it into a card.
      When we make seed pots we use a can, its much easier and less mess than pureeing paper.

  2. CouponCook says:

    Question. When transplanting are you opening the bottom of your paper pot? ~Amber

  3. Hi Mavis!

    Btw I love your website & thank you so much for sharing your life with us.
    I have a few questions about the paper pots…
    1. Can they be made without the tool you used (just use a bottle or something similar)?
    2. How do they stay together when a plant is watered?

  4. I have done this! Tip: If you don’t have a handy dandy paper pot form, you can use a glass or jar the size you want. Not QUITE as pretty and tidy, but they work, and they function the same!

  5. Catherine Foster says:

    My hippie housemate did the same kind of thing using egg cartons.

  6. Shari King says:

    Found a paper pot maker today on for $9.97 and free shipping!

  7. I got the same pot maker from Lee Valley Hardware last year.

  8. Here’s the blender method for making seed pots, but it seems like so much more work, lol!

  9. You can also use the cardboard from loo rolls and paper towels for your newspaper form, or save and plant in your loo rolls as below -.

    Just bend one end over and squash it flat a plant away. Pays to have both the paper and loo roll pots on a tray they can stay on until planting, that way you can take them to where u want to plant them and not have to move them to much. Loo rolls break down in the soil in no time.

    I have even planted into a loo roll without squashing one end. It was ideal for circubits – zucchini, sqaush, pumpkins and melons etc. If set out on a tray, they work well. Peppers, tomatoes etc worked too. Having them on the tray is the secret then lift gently and plant in garden or pot.

  10. don’t have a pot maker, but I just scored 12 seed starter pots, all natural, biodegradeable and made from recycled organic material for a buck! 12 pots/$1.00 WOOHOO!!! Bought 60 of them!!

  11. I use the Pot Maker I bought from Lehman’s catalog. It works well but the paper pots dry out easily. I had to water them more often. (Of course I live in the sweltering south).

    Also pack them in some sort of old cake pan or low edge paper box, so they hold each other up. As the weeks go by, they have a tendency to flop over. You can also use more that one strip of paper. That makes them a little more sturdy.

    Works great and is cheap!

  12. on the note of toilet paper tubes, i use them for my seed starters and a few of them are already breaking down before ive even got them in the ground, to me charman has the best tubes for them, they are thinner but not to thin

  13. Charlotte Mielziner says:

    A soup can pressed into a tuna can might work as a recycled method here. But the wood one is really prettier. The worms in my vermiculture bin seem to love newspaper. I wonder if they would be attracted to these pots and hence bring in micro fungal bacteria, etc. that would also help the roots. Totally observational experiment.

  14. I’ve used lots of things: coir pots, biodegradable pots, toilet paper rolls, egg carton and newspaper. If your pot is any thicker than a couple sheets of newspaper be sure to remove the pot/carton before planting. I’ve found that these have stunted the growth because they don’t biodegrade quickly enough.

  15. Michelle says:

    Why not use 2012 seed catalogs instead of newspaper!? :)

  16. Just this year I have used the little paper pot maker I got on Etsy. I love it! I modify them a bit to include a bit of masking tape to hold the end together and I fold down the upper edge a smidge. So far, my seeds are sprouting like crazy!

  17. debbie may says:

    Love your ideas from this site….

  18. Jessica kiefer says:

    I know this post is old but….My son has to have bottled water everyday at school…well, I’m a eco-friendly person and cringed every time another plastic bottle was wasted…..soooo, I decided to use the left over bottles for pots….cut top off and plant —– use top as a cover if u need to….I use a newspaper/mulch mix as dirt and it pops out easy and holds up to transplant because of the paper compost….This way I don’t throw away so much plastic and my brain doesn’t bust from thinking on how long it would take to break down in the dump. lol

  19. Carolyn says:

    I just found your website tonight and was truly amazed . I told my husband about the idea of getting reclaimed pots form home depot and read him what you said and even though we live in a trailer and ‘m in a chair we want to grow tomatoes and I was Herbs last year we tried but the dirt and soil here isn’t so great so this year we’re using pots now we’re gonna try using reclaimed pots thanks to you .I am now a fan.

    • Go check them out! They have the really big ones from time to time and those are great for tomatoes and potatoes. :)

  20. Vera Grant says:

    like the rest of the world, I’m so overjoyed reading about your gardening and life projects. I saw this post while back and did not want to spent money on the wooden dowel. I save mine toilet paper rolls for kid projects and so idea went off in my head. I cut up newspapers into strips as shown in your post and then used the toilet paper roll to wrap the newspapers in the same matter as above.
    It came out perfectly and I’m happy owner of big kale, marigold and kohlrabi!
    Thank you for all your posts.

  21. The newspaper pots work awesome. I found it on a website this winter and just transplanted some of my tomato seedling from them into some recycled bigger pots. I have to say that I am too cheap to buy a pot maker (even though I would like one) A glass jar worked the best because it tapers at the top and makes it easier to slide out. As soon as I slide it out I do have to fill it with dirt otherwise I worry it would fall apart. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks

  22. What do you do with your 4 tons of harvest?? I’d love to get into your recipes and ways of “putting it up”-I seem to have much more than I can deal with every year.

  23. How are the bottoms of these pots held together?

  24. I am currently experimenting with making paper mache pots from junk mail… I want to be able to sell seedlings at the market and wanted something cheap/free/recycled to sell them in. The newspaper ones are great but not as stable to travel about and sell to people.
    Its coming into winter here, so I have plenty of time to sit by the fire and make them before spring comes back!

  25. I’ve found that the newspaper pots dry out waaay too fast here in AZ. Too bad, I loved the idea.

  26. On sale at Amazon, $8 !!

  27. Here is a fun prject to do with your kids, to make a faux paper mache pot, using water instead of glue.
    1 – take a small pot, the size you would like to make.
    2 – trun the pot upside down, and cover the bottom with Plastic or Saran wrap.
    3 – tear newspapers into strips, and dip into water.
    4 – place the strips over the plastic wrap, making 2 – 3 layers.
    5 – allow paper mache pot to dry completely.
    6 – when dry you can remove the pot, and the plastic wrap with separate from the faux paper mache pot.
    7, you may now use your new paper mache pot for your plants!!

  28. I used tp rolls last year and loved them! I just folded one end in, used it to scoop soil into it and then planted my seeds. They then packed them into a tray and put them in my little indoor greenhouse. When I planted them outside I just dug a hole and dropped one in and off they went!

  29. I use these all the time and they work great! Lately I have stopped using newspaper and now I use the roles of painters paper sold at Home Depot. its saves some time not having to cut strips. I also found that using tin cans works well for making different size pots using the same concept.

    Thank you for taking the time to creating your site for us!

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