Quick and Easy: Making Newspaper Pots

N. Viro pot making tool

N. Viro pot making tool

Starting seeds at home can be a wonderful experience.   You have thumbed through catalogs, spun racks with seed packets at local nurseries, and have narrowed down your selections.  Now with seeds in hand, you are ready to start them indoors.   You have soil, lighting, and a place set aside for them, but now you wonder about the containers.  Should you buy plastic?  Purchase expensive  fiber?  Collect odds and ends from friends and family?  But have you considered making them yourself for little or no cost?

Yes, eager gardeners, you can make your own pots at home!  In fact with just a little effort and a few supplies,  you can make enough pots to meet all of your needs for a season.

N. ViroPotter tool

N. ViroPotter tool

Now I have had a wooden N. ViroPotter tool for years.  The wood is taking on an aged patina from the oil on my skin as well as the inks from newspaper.  If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you can use a wooden dowel that has a diameter of approximately 1 1/2″.  Then one end of the wooden dowel would be hollowed out.  (Check local nurseries, online shops, or your local Craigslist for this handy tool).

vertical cut 3" from end

vertical cut 3″ from end

How to Create Paper Pots

  • Take paper, such as newsprint (newspaper) and cut into 5″ x 9″.  For simplicity, the 5″ side is considered the height and the 9″ side is considered the length.
  • Fold over the paper lengthwise so that the small side of the fold is 3/4″ and the large side of the fold is approximately 5 1/4″.  The 3/4″ side of the fold will become the top of the pot.
  • Starting from one end of the fold, make a cut perpendicular to the fold line approximately 3″ from one end of the paper).  Lift up the 3″ cut area (now known as the ‘flap’).  The remaining 6″ of the fold, remains folded down.
  • Place the N. ViroPotter along the folded edge of the paper.  Line up the paper so the fold line is even with the end of potter tool. Roll the paper around potter keeping the paper taut.  Roll from the 6″ length of the fold prior to the cut so the 3″ flap is the last portion rolled onto the pot.
  • Pinch the paper at the bottom of the potter (the hollow end) and twist.  Then push the twisted end into the cavity of the potter.
  • Keep your hand wrapped around the pot and then pull up on the potter handle with remaining free hand.  This action should remove the paper pot from the potter tool.
  • Once the paper pot has cleared the potter tool, fold the flap over to the inside of the pot.  Press with fingers to secure the fold.

    paper wrapped around tool

    paper wrapped around tool

You have now successfully created a pot!  Now simply repeat the process until you have created the desired number of pots.

3 inch flap to fold over top of pot

3 inch flap to fold over top of pot

For convenience, put your paper pots into a container.  Make enough pots to allow for one seed per pot.  For the purpose of making pots, the paper pots are intended for seeds you start indoors to get a jump on the growing season.  If you intend to direct sow seed into the garden, you do not need to use a paper pot.

Now fill the paper pot with damp seed starter soil.  Fill approximately 3/4 full.  Press soil surface lightly with fingertips.  Next, create a small hole in the soil approximately 1/4″ – 1/2″ deep (refer to specific seed packets for proper seeding depth).  Place a seed in the hole and then cover with soil.

bottom of pot

bottom of pot

Since the pots are made of paper, place the seeded paper pots into water proof trays (such as lids from storage containers).  Lightly water the seeded pots.  Now you can place the seeded pots in a sunny location or under lights.

So you see, making pots out of newspapers is quick, easy, and a great way to make use of a material you may have around the house.  These tools are still being made and available for sale.  If you prefer,  you can try your hand at making your own.  Either way, a handy potter tool is a great item to have on hand when you are ready to start sowing your seeds indoors.

completed newspaper pots

completed newspaper pots


9 responses »

  1. Pingback: Garden Ideas and Projects for the Dead of Winter

      • This is what we love to hear. Thanks for spreading the word. We’re hoping N.ViroPotters become part of any household like a potato peeler or rolling pin…. I know a little old fashioned but always useful.

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