When we think about messages in bottles, we imagine messages sent by sea. Marooned sailors and shipwrecked seamen have used messages in bottle to try to contact friends and family. These messages have been used to ask those on land for help, to send goodbye messages, and even in scientific experiments to learn more about ocean currents.
Bottled messages are also a great way to find new pen pals or to send unique messages to long-time friends. With spring right around the corner, these seed paper bottled messages are the perfect way to keep in touch with your friends and family. They have the added bonus of giving them something to grow as the weather gets warmer!
You will need
- recycled paper (printer paper scraps, newspaper, egg cartons, etc.)
- wildflower seeds
- metal strainer
- markers or Sharpie
- medium glass bottle (one with a wider neck is preferred)
- terry cloth, microfiber or flannel towel
- food colouring (optional)
Collect recycled and scrap paper from around your house. You can use almost any kind of paper, but it’s best to use leftover scraps of printer paper, pieces of egg carton, tissue paper, newspaper and other softer paper.
Before blending, pre-soak your paper scraps to soften them. Add your paper scraps to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for 1-2 hours before straining.
Tear the paper into small pieces. This will help your paper blend down more easily in the next step. Continue tearing your paper into small pieces until you have enough paper pieces to fill your blender about halfway.
Add paper scraps to a blender. Make sure you have enough paper pieces to fill the blender about halfway full. Add warm water to the top line of the blender. Cover and blend on low for at least 10 seconds, or until there are no more chunks of paper remaining. You want the paper mulch to be super fine, otherwise you will end up with lumpy paper. If your mixture feels too thick, feel free to remove some of the paper mulch and add more water.
Optional: To add colour to your paper, add a few drops of food colouring of your choice and blend until combined.
Add in 1 teaspoon of wildflower seeds or other seeds of your choice. Stir the seeds into the paper mixture until combined. Do not use the blender for this step.
Once as much water as possible has been removed, lay out a microfiber or terry cloth towel. Scoop the paper mixture onto the towel and use your spatula to spread the mixture as thinly as possible into the shape that you would like.
Allow your seed paper to dry completely on one side before carefully turning it over to dry on the other side.
Pour the paper mixture out of the blender and into a metal strainer. Using a spatula or spoon, gently press the paper mixture against the strainer to remove extra water.
Now it’s time to write your message! Use your creative skills to tell the story of a sailor stranded on a deserted island. Or you can write a note to a friend that you would like to receive the letter.
Roll up your paper carefully so it will fit into your glass or plastic bottle.
Optional: tie a piece of ribbon or twine around the letter to keep it in shape and make it easier for the recipient to remove.
Send your message in a bottle to a friend or family member! Don’t forget to let them know that once they have read the letter, they can create their own wildflower garden by planting pieces of the letter.