When you order heart-shaped tags, they come on a carrier sheet with each tag punched and ready to pop out. After you pop them out, you have not only tags, but the carrier sheet with a bunch of heart-shaped holes in it. There must be something you can do with this.
After mulling it over for a while, I remembered the Christmas cards I made last year with my own homemade paper. I had made a paper rectangle mold to use as a guide so all the pieces of homemade paper were the same. That’s when I realized that this carrier sheet with the cutout hearts would make a perfect mold for handmade paper!
Plantable Paper Hearts
You will need:
• Egg carton
• Seeds (I collected them from my garden the year before; you can also buy them from your local garden shop)
• Screen-door screening (can be cut with scissors)
• Heart-shaped tags (including the carrier sheet)
• Square labels
• Free printable paper ribbon
• Pinwheel clasp boxes
• Tissue paper
In addition to a normally stocked kitchen, these specific items are needed:
• Cookie rack
It’s really simple, believe it or not. Making the pulp is easy if you have a blender; it’s actually easier to make pulp than to make margaritas! Use egg cartons torn up into pieces that will fit into a cooking pot. Put a large amount of water in the pot along with the torn-up egg carton pieces. A little will go a long way, by the way – I used less than half of an egg carton lid, and ended up with 48 little hearts for planting. Bring the water to a boil, then pour the water and torn-up carton all together into the blender. You want to have plenty of water. Hit the button for a few moments until it’s all smooth without any lumps.
Cut a piece of screen-door screening to the size of your cookie rack, then place it on the rack; place the rack in or over the sink, or outdoors so the water can freely drain out of the pulp. Lay the heart mold on the screening. Spoon pulp into each heart shape (be generous), then use a fork to gently move the pulp around to evenly fill the heart space. Be sure to make it fill all the way to the point at the bottom. After you have filled all the hearts, carefully lift the mold and move it to another place on the screening, and repeat the process. The pulp drains quickly, and what is left remains in place so the heart shapes form very quickly.
Sprinkle seeds on top. This is where I encountered a small problem which I will work on when I do this again. The seeds popped to the surface and then when they dried, they rubbed off easily, leaving seeds behind everywhere. There were still plenty of seeds on the paper hearts, but it was a bit messy with seeds falling off. Next time I will top each one off with more pulp after sprinkling the seeds on.
After you have formed all the hearts, lift off the mold and put the cookie rack of hearts in the oven to dry. Set the oven at 105 degrees (not any hotter – seeds are alive). If your oven doesn’t go this low, set it at its lowest temperature and then wait until it cools to about 110, put the hearts in and close the door. Your homemade paper hearts will dry overnight.
I used the pinwheel clasp boxes, and put a small square of brightly colored tissue paper in them as a nest. Then I placed two hearts in each box. I strung the heart-shaped tags with a double length of string, knotted it in a double knot (two loops around instead of just one, so it would be extra large) and put the knot inside the box as I snapped the lid shut. That way, the knot holds the tag on the box, but still allows it to move.
More homemade gift ideas from Jeanne:
Russian Tea Mix Marshmallow Kisses Crispy Cinnamon Toasts Spa Gift Basket
Shop the Wedding Collection: