gluestick seeds

I’ve had problems in the past using paper napkins. That paper was too strong, and the roots became trapped. Hence the single ply TP. I’m also working with super tiny seeds that I want to keep as dry as possible before planting them outside. Glue-sticks are non-toxic, (but probably not organic) and introduce less moisture to the process.

Also. if you accidentally pick up the wrong end of the packet, the seeds don’t vanish into damp soil. This can be a BIG plus. I dumped them twice in the kitchen while making this ible.

As fast as you can, put down your seeds. You don’t have long before the glue dries.

Step 3: Flatten and Cut Your TP Roll.

This is a little different than DebH57’s excellent Make Your Own Seed Tapes of 2009 – which I found after making this ible.

Glue-stick – non-toxic, please TP of the thinnest one-ply possible (ends of rolls are best – easiest to cut with scissors) Scissors to cut the rolls in half A yardstick or measurements on paper Seeds.

Seed tape is easy to make. YOU get to choose the varieties you plant when you make your own tapes. It’s way cheaper than the commercial tapes. And best. You get to handle tiny seeds indoors where it’s warm and out of the wind.

This seals the seeds in place. Lift the tape after pressing them all down, so it doesn’t stick to your yardstick or paper pattern. This is the only point where it may stick. Glue-stick dries really fast, so you aren’t going to have a goopy tape to deal with. It will be dry to the touch within about a minute.

I’m using inch spacing for these claytonia seeds. I make a short line of the glue at 5 to 8 places. IMPORTANT—Glue only as many spaces as you can fill with seed and cover before the glue dries!. (My glue-stick isn’t pink. The pink dots were photoshopped in to demonstrate)

Only tear half way across the TP. Once the next seed is glued down, this ‘top layer’ tear won’t be a problem.

Step 1: What You Need.

I had an old roll of adding machine tape in the house, so I marked off inches on that. I could have used a standard 8.5×11 sheet. The glue dries so fast that it would be hard to do more than 10 inches at once. You could probably work directly on a washable yardstick.

This is pretty obvious. If you went out and bought a new roll of single ply TP, unroll about 5 feet and re-roll it so you can cut it in half.

Lay your half width TP over your spacing pattern. Half should be on the pattern, half should be off it. Work on a hard surface. I’m showing everything on a towel because I needed a non-white background to photograph this.

I suggest writing the kind of seed on both ends of each tape and then rolling them around the (now empty) TP tubes.

Step 7: Fold Over and Press Down Over Each Seed.

Be sure to label your seed tape. This is super-important, especially if you are making multiple seed tapes for different vegetables.

When you’re ready to plant, unroll your seed tape in the garden. Then plant at the recommended depth for your seeds. Give it some water and you should see vegetables sprouting in no time.

Seed tape is great for tiny seeds such as: carrots, lettuces, herbs, and greens (spinach, collards, kale). Medium-sized seeds like watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squashes may work for this project, but large seeds like beans and corn will be too heavy and bulky for this project.

Next, using your paintbrush, glue seeds to the toilet paper. We found it worked well to first dip the brush in a bit of the glue and then pick up one or two seeds to apply. Repeat this process until you have gotten to the end of your toilet paper "row."

Seed tape supplies: seeds, toilet paper, flour “glue,” and a paint brush.

A Note on Seeds.

Thinning is an important garden chore that many gardeners loathe doing. If you don’t thin though, you find yourself with an overcrowded and unhealthy vegetable garden. Using seed tape is a great way to ensure that your vegetables are properly spaced in the garden. Pre-made seed tape can be expensive or difficult to find, but making your own is so quick and easy, you won’t regret going the DIY route!

Roll up and label your seed tape for storage.

Using the paint brush to place seeds on the toilet paper.

After everything is glued and labeled, fold the length of toilet paper in half, so that the seeds are safely situated between toilet paper on both sides. Then, roll it up and set it aside until you’re ready to plant.

This project surprised us with how quickly everything went. If you have all of your supplies gathered and ready to go, you could easily prep most of the seeds for your garden in a fraction of the time it would take to sow them directly.

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need seeds, toilet paper, "glue," something to measure with, and something to distribute your glue and seeds. For our glue, we mixed flour and water together into a workable paste, we used a yard stick to measure, and for seed distribution, we used an art paint brush.

Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to get to work. First tear off a strip of toilet paper that is as long as your intended vegetable row; we went with 4 feet. Then check the spacing for your seeds; this information should be found on the back of your seed package. For the Danvers half long carrots we were planting, the spacing was 2 to 3 inches apart. We decided to glue the seeds down every two inches.

Additionally, larger seeds are much easier to sow at the correct interval in the garden, removing the need to thin out seedlings later. With smaller seeds it’s difficult to maintain the correct interval. That’s why seed tape is so helpful. It saves you from having to spend time thinning seedlings later, and makes your seed packages go a lot farther by cutting down on planting excess seeds.

2. Cut the toilet paper in half, at the length you need. The toilet paper is twice the width you need, so by cutting it in half down the middle, you’ll have 2 tapes already measured, or 4 tapes if the paper is two-ply.

Optional: Tweezers Airtight bag or container.

1. In a small bowl or container, mix the flour and water until a thick paste forms. You’re aiming for the consistency of white craft glue or syrup. It should be thick enough to sit on the end of your brush or pencil without dripping.

Making your own seed tape can save you time, ensures your plants are spaced out correctly, and is a great “rainy day” project for kids.

7. Fold the other half of the toilet paper over, on top of the seeds. This will seal the seeds inside your seed tape until they’re in the ground and ready to germinate. The paste will also keep the paper sealed.

1. Flour 2. Water 3. Scissors 4. Toilet paper (paper towels or white party streamers can also be used) 5. Ruler 6. Pencil 7. Small paintbrush 8. Seeds 9. Small bowl 10. Plate.

The list of things you’ll need:

5. Using the small paintbrush, put small ‘dots’ or dollops of the paste along one side of the toilet paper strip, on the marks you made.

Skill Level:

8. Allow the tape to dry, then write the plant and variety name on it.

4. Place the seeds you’ll be using on a clean plate and spread them apart so they’re easier to pick up.


3. Use a pencil and ruler to draw marks on the paper according to the seed packet’s spacing recommendations.

OK, I’ll admit it. Up until now I haven’t appreciated the usefulness of seed tapes. Assuming the store carries them at all, the variety selection is extremely limited. When it comes to spacing the seeds and rows in my raised beds, I’m a gardening perfectionist–always trying to get nice, neat, perfectly spaced rows of seeds. Not only that, having to thin out perfectly good seedlings is always a painful experience. Since it is now time to plant fall carrots in our area, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the seed tape thing out. The following project will yield 2-4 seed tapes, about an inch wide. You can certainly vary this, to make whatever spacing configuration you need.

6. Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to stick one or two seeds to each dot.

At this point your seed tape is ready to go. If it’s not planting time when you’re finished, you’ll need to store it in an airtight container, preferably in a cool place. Roll the tape up into a coil, or simply wrap it around an empty toilet paper roll.

To plant the seed tape, prepare your growing area as usual and lay the tape down. Cover it with the appropriate depth of soil and water as usual. The toilet paper will gradually dissolve in time as the seedlings grow.