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Passionate About Paper Pots

Updated on April 18, 2013

A new use for newspaper

We're far from a paperless society, and I'm sure that we all recycle our newspapers to do our bit for the planet. But they are also useful as craft supplies. I'm passionate about making pots - they're great for seedlings, and even make good short-term pots for larger plants, and mean you can start sowing seeds without spending any money on seedling pots!

In cooler climates, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to start sowing seeds that need a long growing season (e.g. tomatoes and peppers) - so send a Valentine to the planet and grow your own food, using your own homemade pots!

Do you make your own paper pots?

Have you made your own paper pots before?

See results

Making paper pots: Step 1 - You will need...

What you'll need
What you'll need

These photos show me making some larger pots in which to pot up bare-root strawberry plants when the weather was (unexpectedly) too cold to plant them out in the garden. The same method applies to paper pots of all sizes, you just need to find the right object to use as a template (the 1 litre bottle is what I used here).

Apart from the template, you'll need sheets of newspaper, scissors and sticky tape.

Step 2 - Origami

Making paper pots
Making paper pots

Take two sheets of newspaper (or one large spread, folded, depended on the size of your template) and turn down the top until they are the right size to fit onto your template (the extra fold also makes the top more sturdy).

Step 3 - On a roll

Making large paper pots
Making large paper pots

Roll the newspaper around your template. Note that the top fold in on the outside.

Paper Pot Makers from Amazon - Moulds to help you make your paper pots

Paper Pot Makers are little wooden devices that make it easy to make your own pots out of newspaper - not glue or tape required! They come in a range of sizes, but are most often sized to make small seedlings pots.

Esschert Design USA W4008 Secrets du Potager Paper Pot Maker
Esschert Design USA W4008 Secrets du Potager Paper Pot Maker

This paper pot maker is 3.1 x 5 x 3.1 inches, and comes with an instruction sheet.

Paper Pot Maker
Paper Pot Maker

A super tool for making 1-3/4" diameter pots, perfect for seed starting.

Do-It-Yourself Plant PotMaker from Newspaper
Do-It-Yourself Plant PotMaker from Newspaper

Eliminate the need for plastic pots and puts old newspapers to good use with this easy-to-use pot maker.

Wooden Seed Pot Maker
Wooden Seed Pot Maker

Imported from the Thoughtful Gardener of Bath in England, this lovely pot maker is 6.5" tall x 3" diameter.


Step 4 - Nip and tuck

Folding paper pots
Folding paper pots

Tuck in the end of the top fold, to that it's strong, and neat and tidy. It's a bit fiddly, so if you can't manage it, simply tape it down.

Step 5 - You've got it taped!

Making paper pots
Making paper pots

The final stage is to fold in the spare newspaper at the bottom of the pot and tape it together - just like you're wrapping a gift.

Step 6 - Fill and plant!

Finished paper pots
Finished paper pots

All that remains now is to fill your new pots with compost and plant your plants or sow your seeds. Remember that newspaper is fragile when wet, so it's useful to put your filled pots in a tray before you water them.

Paper pots also tend to grow mold. Try watering them with chamomile tea, which is anti-fungal and good for your plants as well!

More ways to make paper pots

Mine isn't the only way to make paper pots, so check out these links if you want more information!

Recycled Crafts

Newspaper basket
Newspaper basket

Find lots more items to make from recycled materials over on my Cool Recycling and Salvage Crafts lens.

There are more things to make with newspaper, including this lovely basket, and you'll find an idea to help you fill your newspaper pots as well!

Are you passionate about paper pots? - Tell me how you make yours!

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    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 4 years ago

      Simply marvy! We will be making these paper pots for all our gardening starts from now on!

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      Well you learn something new each day :-)

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I had no idea until this lens you could make paper pots- very cool!

    • profile image

      dessertlover 4 years ago

      This is so neat! I love that you can make these yourself, and that basket at the bottom is so cool too!

    • profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago

      What a fantastic idea. I will have to try it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey, You have very creative mind , very good

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey, You have very creative mind , very good

    • Alessandro Zambon profile image

      Alessandro Zamboni 4 years ago from Italy

      Great lens, I will pass it to my mother!

      Thanks and see you soon!

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      I have never made paper pots before, but I am going to start. This is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 4 years ago

      Excellent idea! and great photos to illustrate the step-by-step process. Thanks!

    • michelleroe profile image

      michelleroe 4 years ago

      Wow, never thought about it. Thanks for a useful and very budget idea!!!

    • profile image

      Auriel 4 years ago

      great ideas..

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These are great. I'm going to make some for my seedlings.

    • IvoryPearl profile image

      IvoryPearl 4 years ago

      This is such a great and ingenious idea. I have never heard of it before. With food prices so high, I must try it. Only one question - does the ink on the newspaper affect the veggies at all?

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 4 years ago

      @IvoryPearl: Certainly here in the UK the printing inks used for newspaper nowadays are perfectly safe, and I would imagine that's true in most places, but I would avoid coloured inks on glossy paper (i.e. magazines) and try to stick to black and white newspaper if you're somewhere else.

    • AshleysCorner profile image

      AshleysCorner 4 years ago

      Very interesting and nice lens! Lots of great info!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      These are great ideas, I love recycling ideas!

    • Random thoughts2 profile image

      Random thoughts2 4 years ago

      This lens is proving 2 things about you -

      # 1. You are creative

      # 2. You love gardening.

      Squidlike your lens ... have a nice day.

    • Willicious LM profile image

      Willicious LM 4 years ago

      So cool! Homeschool project for the week :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • profile image

      SmwchDating 4 years ago

      reminds me I must buy a paper tomorrow

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Great recycling idea ,thanks for sharing

    • Kazee LM profile image

      Kay Collier 4 years ago from Australia

      Great idea for the planet too, good compost.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      This is new. I have never heard of paper pots before Great way to recycle.

    • pshinde2109 lm profile image

      pshinde2109 lm 4 years ago

      great innovative idea...I would love to make some for me.

    • ingridpalmer profile image

      ingridpalmer 4 years ago

      This a great lens with great ideas about paper pots. Would never have thought of this in a million years.

    • listprofits profile image

      listprofits 4 years ago

      Simple resourcing, way to go!

    • profile image

      MichaelDubrovnik 4 years ago

      Great idea!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      This is a fantastic way to use up old newspapers. Congratualations on LOTD!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I've tried this but mine never looked like yours. Need another lesson I suppose. Congratulations on LotD.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      I have never heard of this before! Thanks for sharing these amazing paper pots with us! Blessed!

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 4 years ago

      These is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • FB-Explorer profile image

      FB-Explorer 4 years ago

      Thanks! My wife uses wet newspapers for a weed control "mulch" in the garden. She's never used newspapers for pots to start plants, though.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      Great idea!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've never heard of marking pots out of paper before. Clever idea! Congratulations on LotD!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I've read about making smaller paper pots before but not the larger ones! Great ideas. Congrats on your LOTD feature. :)

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      What a great use of paper. Congratulations on LOTD

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Well I can't say I'm passionate but I think it's a great idea. I've never heard of doing this before and it makes so much sense. Nice!

    • profile image

      djroll 4 years ago

      I've not heard of such a thing, but I like the idea and can't wait to try it. Thanks!

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. We DO make our own paper pots! There's something quite relaxing and meditative about the process...

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      It's a great idea and I will do this when rooting trailing rosemary this summer. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      fivestead 4 years ago

      Very unique and great lens, thanks for sharing. Creative!

    • profile image

      SeattleCars 4 years ago

      what fun

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for reminding me. I made paper pots in the country, but haven't since moving to the city. Will also try the camomile tea watering as mold is a huge problem here.

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      What a highly creative lens. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I have never heard of paper pots...unique use and interesting lens.

    • TommysTips profile image

      TommysTips 4 years ago

      Great idea! Plus you do not disturb your seedlings when you finally plant them in the garden! Congrats on LOTD!

    • TommysTips profile image

      TommysTips 4 years ago

      Great idea! Plus you do not disturb your seedlings when you finally plant them in the garden! Congrats on LOTD!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Well done on LOTD and purple star!

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

      I have tried using toilet rolls to plant beans.The plant lasted for one week,no soil added to it.

      I'll give this paper pots a try.Thanks and congrats.

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. I have seen this done a few times at permaculture workshops. It is always a good idea to use biodegradable tape too, so that when the plants are strong enough to go in the ground, the whole pot can be buried.

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens of the day. Thanks for showing us how we can make our own paper pots. Make it a great day!

    • mrknowitall54321 profile image

      mrknowitall54321 4 years ago

      I haven't made any yet but I will now!

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! What a great idea to make paper pots. I have used the cardboard from kitchen paper before but they can be bit restrictive, thanks!

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Very informative article. Thanks for this information and congrats one Lens of the Day.

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Never heard about this! This would be a great projects to do with kids at nature camp.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      What a great idea! I can make my own pots for seedlings this year...

    • wordgenius lm profile image

      wordgenius lm 4 years ago

      Congrats on getting LotD! My mom has so many stacks of old newspapers, so this is a neat way to reorganize her clutter. Plus, great recycling idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 4 years ago

      I like to use cut up paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls also. They are so handy.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Good tips! I've done this as a fun (and educational) project with children before and both young and old enjoy it. Congratulations on the LotD!

    • profile image

      OctoberGirl108 4 years ago

      This year will be my first attempt at starting seedlings in paper pots. I have a new portable greenhouse and am looking forward to doing lots of new gardening things. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Resident-Nerd profile image

      Resident-Nerd 4 years ago

      This is a great idea.... not only do you save money on the cost of little pots as seed starters but you also reuse paper that most would just throw away anyway. Also i believe after you are done you could then put the used pots in a worm compost to finish breaking them done to used as compost for the next years pots. Great lens.

    • profile image

      Harsimran1980 4 years ago

      Very different idea

    • profile image

      GetAcneFree 4 years ago

      I've never heard of paper pots -- neat :)

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Thanks for the reminder. My dad and I used to make these every spring to start our planting

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I make paper pots too. I use a Great Value Steak Sauce bottle to make pots that are 3" high. E-Z!

      Plus you can use the inside roll from the toilet paper or the paper towel roll. E-Z too.

    • CornellMarCom LM profile image

      CornellMarCom LM 4 years ago

      It looks like a great way to start your garden. And, it's green so it's earth friendly.

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      Thank you for a green, inexpensive way of starting our plants this year.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      What a great idea. I suppose this works with any type of paper. We stopped buying a newspaper a year ago. Congratulations on receiving the LOTD.

    • FancyThatUK profile image

      FancyThatUK 4 years ago

      Simple idea to help recycle and save money

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 4 years ago

      @DaveP2307: They can :) It's important to bury the whole pot - any paper sticking out above the surface of the soil can act as a 'wick' and help water to evaporate and leave your plant short of water. Or you can simply tear off any paper left above the soil surface.

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 4 years ago

      @aka-rms: Thank you!

    • cyberflutist profile image

      cyberflutist 4 years ago

      This is a great idea! I love finding uses for items that would normally be thrown away.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      My Mom made these for years! I do believe I will pick up on the tradition now. Thanks for the instructions - simple, useful.

    • nikkinal profile image

      nikkinal 4 years ago

      Love the chamomile tea tip. Informative, interesting and to-the-point. Thank you!

    • DaveP2307 profile image

      DaveP2307 4 years ago

      That's a neat idea.

      Can the seedlings be planted straight out in the pots in the flower beds when they are ready?

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 4 years ago from California

      I have made my own paper pots before a few times. I think it is the neatest idea. Thank you for reminding me and sharing how you create yours. Congrats on LOTD. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 4 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      This is a awesome idea! I've been making these for years and the work great! Congratulations on LOTD

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      The thing that amazes me is that entrepreneurs came up with products to make newspaper pots. I'll definitely use some of these recycled pots this spring. Thanks for the tutorial and congrats on LotD! Always happy to see green topics, practices, and lifestyles featured.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Haven't made any yet but definitely will. Chamomile tea tip is great! *blessed

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      What a great and eco friendly idea! This is a great choice for LOTD, congratulations.

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 4 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Very unique. I like it!

    • dimitry168 profile image

      dimitry168 4 years ago

      I imagine a greenhouse full of paper pots everywhere. It seems to be a new cultivation system. ja ja ja.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Super concept. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • tobydavis profile image

      tobydavis 4 years ago

      I'm a big fan of reusing, not just recycling - fab idea!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Well, this seems easy enough and a great idea of something useful to do with all of those old newspapers! Congratulations on LotD!! Blessed!

    • Kae Yo profile image

      Kae Yo 4 years ago

      what a great idea! I never would have thought of doing that. Thanks! Congratulations for making LOTD!

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      Oh! I didn't know that about paper pots. That's great idea!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 4 years ago from Texas

      If you used paper tape to secure the newspaper, the whole pot would be biodegradable. Interesting idea!

    • am23g23 profile image

      am23g23 4 years ago

      Great info thanks for sharing! Recycling should be more prominent in our world today!

    • curtmaxwall profile image

      curtmaxwall 4 years ago

      awesome idea..

    • profile image

      hafsamehmood 4 years ago

      good work

    • profile image

      hafsamehmood 4 years ago

      good work

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 4 years ago

      Hi, congrats on being the LOTD. I really love the paper pot idea, itâs very simple.

    • Cabmgmnt LM profile image

      Corey 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I have never seen this before and always end up buying starter trays for seedlings but not anymore...thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Love anything that keeps us 'green' - this will be a new way for me to start seeds - thanks :>)

    • GrowthSpark profile image

      GrowthSpark 4 years ago

      What a great idea, I'm def going to try it out.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this lens has been selected as LotD today. Read all about it here:

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      What a wonderful lens! Congrats on LotD, and here are some blessings for you! :)