Repurposed Newspaper Seedling Planter

Are you getting ready to start seeds for this year’s garden? Learn how to make your own newspaper seedling planter with this easy picture tutorial to get your garden off to a great start!

Are you getting ready to start seeds for this year's garden? Learn how to make your own newspaper seedling planters with this easy picture tutorial to get your garden off to a great start! #gardening #seedlings #seedstarters #gardening101 #newspaperseedlingstarter #garden #plantingseeds

Repurposed Newspaper Seedling Planter

I love this time of year because it’s finally time to start planning for my garden! One of my favorite parts of garden planning isΒ Buying Seeds. Of course, once I get those seeds, I want to make sure that I take great care of them and give them the best start I can so that I have strong, healthy plants that will produce well for me.

A lot of the seeds I buy need to be started indoors because of the harsh winter season here. It seems like the tiny seed holders that I normally use just aren’t big enough to let the seed get started properly and when I dig out the starts and put them in the hard South Dakota soil they end up failing because they have been taken out of their nice soft home.

This year, I decided I wanted to create some kind of seedling planters that could be placed right into the ground with the starts. The recycled newspaper seemed like the best material to work with since it is biodegradable and will begin to break down as soon as it is placed in the soil. As a bonus, once it begins to break down, it will provide mulch and fertilizer to my tiny plants!

—Learn more about Starting Garden Plants From Seed & Growing Your Own Plant Starts.

How to Make Seedling Planters Out of Newspaper

Here’s how I made the newspaper planters for seedlings out of newspapers. I’m excited to use them this year to help get my plants and garden off to a great start!

DIY Newspaper Seedling Planter

First, take a section of an old newspaper and fold it in half. (Or thirds, depending on the size of your newspaper.)

Make your own seedling planter

Then, wrap your folded paper around a jar, can, or another object of similar size. Make sure to leave at least an inch of paper hanging off the bottom of the jar so that you have enough to fold under to make the bottom.

seedling planter pots

Secure the sides of the newspaper with masking tape.

seedling planter

Then, fold up the ends of the newspaper to create a bottom on your seedling planter and secure it with a piece of tape.

newspaper planter

Pull your plant starter pots off of the jar, fill it with dirt and you are ready to plant your seeds! When it’s time to move your seedlings into the garden, you can just stick the whole thing right into the ground.

Using Newspaper Seedling Pots

Since I’ve made these little planters I’ve gotten a few questions about using them…..

Do they get moldy?

If you live in a high humidity area and keep your seedlings very moist this may not work for you as they could get moldy after a while.

What about the toxins in the paper, ink, etc?

Most modern inks used in newspapers are now soy-based and safe for the environment. Especially if you avoid the brightly colored ad pages, as some of those can have other ingredients as well, you can significantly reduce your risk of toxins. Just remember, there can be toxins in everything, from the potting soil you use to the plastic containers you keep your plants in. Any toxins released into the soil around your plant from the newspaper would be minimal and not really worth worrying about, however, if it’s something that concerns you greatly you might want to check out an alternative like Coco Pots.

Do they leak and do you need to use a tray?

Yes, the paper will get damp so they will “leak”. We just use a seedling tray under the pots and it holds them together nicely in case we need to move them around or place them outside for a few hours when it’s time to hardy them up!

Do you need to remove the tape when planting?

No, just make sure you use masking tape so that it will decompose in the soil. If you don’t have any masking tape, you can also use Elmers glue, however, your planters will not be as sturdy.

Do you love to garden? Here area few more articles you enjoy:

Find even more Gardening tips and articles here on our Gardening Page.

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Gardening and Preserving Journal

The Gardening and Preserving Journal is here! If you are gardening or planning on doing any preserving this year, you NEED this wonderful sprial bound journal! The Journal contains printables to keep track of your gardening plans, seeds, canning, the foods that you freeze, recipes, and so much more! Get your own copy here.

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Have you tried making these DIY seedling planters? What seeds do you start indoors?


This post on How to Make a DIY Newspaper Seedling Planter was originally published on Little House Living in April 2012. It has been updated as of March 2020.

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  1. hey, have you heard of soil blocks? or a soil block maker? that is what my husband uses…it is this metal thing that makes these awesome little blocks of soil, there is no waste, no materials used other than the soil. when the plants are big enough to put in the ground, he just drops the block in. you have to mix the soil just right though

  2. Yeah, I’ve made these too. Too cheap to buy the wooden dowl thing so I have used soup cans also. Works just as well. Takes a little time, but so worth it!

  3. Will the roots grow through the taped end or will the newspaper be soft from watering to allow them to grow through? Great idea! I will have to try this.

  4. Now this tip is better than sliced bread πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks for the idea πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  6. We cut toilet paper rolls so that we can fold them to make bottoms and then tape. Works well, this looks good too!

  7. Hey!

    Love reading your blog! Got a question about these paper seedlingholders. I have tried toiletrol-ones and now I’m trying premade paper ones but on both occasions I noticed mold growing on the holders which prevents the seedlings from coming up. Got any tips on how to prevent that?

    Roos from the Netherlands

  8. I just bought one of the wooden hand-held thingys to make these along with a tray for beneath, but I’m wondering …

    Did you remove the tape before planting?

    Terri @ My Planting Plot

  9. Well, Merissa! You just solved my problem! I used up all of my saved egg cartons and actually had to go out and buy a seed starter tray, which I didn’t want to have to do. Of course once I got my starts going I thought of a few more that I wanted to get into the ground (beneficial flowers and herbs) but don’t want to go out and buy more trays – so THIS definitely helps as we have plenty of newspaper! Thanks girl πŸ™‚ as for the tape, I’ll use it for now but I want to figure out something degradable as our garden is purely organic. Keep the posts coming, I love your little site (and your new farmhouse!!!!) <3

  10. This is a great idea. I was just saying we will have to watch for the sale on the planters so I can have to start my garden next year. I think this will work better and be cheaper. Thanks a bunch! Hugs from western Montana!

  11. where do you start your seeds, in the house or outside somewhere? how do you protect them from the weather and when do you start them?

    1. We live in between Zone 4 and 5 and I start my seedlings indoors at the beginning of April, when you start them will depend on your zone but it should be about 6 weeks before planting outdoors. I plant mine inside in a sunny area where they will not be disturbed.