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How to Make Seed Tape at Home

Seed tape is fantastic for direct sowing small seeds into the garden. Of course, you can buy seed tape but it’s much more expensive than just a packet of regular seeds. Fortunately, it’s super easy to make your own seed tape at home.

The best part is, you probably already have all the things you need to make your own seed tape…homemade paste of flour and water, seeds, and toilet paper or paper towels.

Instead of scattering seeds and thinning later, make homemade seed tapes to space small seeds. This will save you time and money in the garden.

I’m making seed tapes to use in the fall garden because what I’ve been doing isn’t really working. 

This is how sowing seeds for the fall garden usually goes around here. Sometime in October I hear that we’re supposed to have three or four days of rain. And that’s my cue to run out to the garden and start sowing. The problem is, that I’m in a hurry because I wasn’t planning on sowing seeds that day. 

So, I throw caution to the wind, dig a little trench in a bed, scatter some seeds straight from the seed packet into the trench and cover it with soil. I repeat this until I have all kinds of seed sown, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, carrots, lettuce, for instance.

The problem with this plan (or lack of a plan) is that when the seeds germinate the plants are waaaaay too close and I have to go in and thin them out. Which is hard for me to do for a myriad of reasons. 

This year I decided to try something a little different and make seed tape for our seeds. Of course, you can buy seed tapes which are rolls of paper about the size of scotch tape with the seeds embedded or glued to them. But goodness, they are expensive! Plus I have a lot of seeds and I really like to use what I have.

So we grabbed the seeds, a roll of toilet paper and made some “glue” with flour and water. 

You can use paper napkins and make seed “mats” but I don’t have paper napkins so I used toiler paper. You can also use paper towels either whole or cut.

This was a super easy project but it did take a bit of time. Carl helped me with it and I realized it’s been a while since we’ve leisurely worked on a project together. Those are my favorite kind of projects, the kind where you get work done but also have good conversation. This would make a great dead-of-winter project. 

Instead of scattering seeds and thinning later, make homemade seed tapes to space small seeds. This will save you time and money in the garden.

Supplies Needed for Making Seed Tape

  • 3 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 1 1/4 tsp water
  • Seeds (I really like MIGardener Seeds)
  • Small bowl
  • Toilet paper
  • Fine tip marker
  • Chopstick
  • Paper clips

How to Make Seed Tape

Make a paste out of the flour and water. It shouldn’t be runny but it shouldn’t be so thick that it won’t come off the chop stick.

Roll out the toilet paper the length you want it. Our beds are 8′ long and our table is almost 8′ long so we just used that as a guide.

Look at the back of your seed packet and find the “thin to” information, use this to determine how far apart you need to space your seeds. If you do this you won’t need to thin the seedlings.

Since the toilet paper squares are about 3″ they make a great guide for deciding how to space your seeds. 

Using a chop stick, dot the flour paste onto the toilet paper in the correct spacing.

Once the glue is dotted onto the toilet paper, put a seed or two in the dot. 

Let the glue dry for several hours and then roll them up. Write the name of the seeds on the end of the toilet paper and clip together with a paper clip.

If you don’t want to clip them and write on the toilet paper you can put them in a ziplock bag with the seeds name on the bag so you’ll will know which seeds are on which tapes.

How to plant seed tape

To plant the seed tape, dig a shallow trench to the seed sowing depth on the seed packet, unroll the seed tape and lay it in the trench. Cover with soil.

For seeds such as carrots that just barely need to be covered, lay the unrolled seed tape on the bare soil and then sprinkle a little loose soil on top.

Water the seed tape just as you would if you sowed loose seeds.

Instead of scattering seeds and thinning later, make homemade seed tapes to space small seeds. This will save you time and money in the garden.

How to Make Seed Tape at Home

flour paste in white ramekin with chopstick and a roll of toilet paper and a seed pack on a wooden table to make seed tape.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Materials

Instructions

  1. Make a paste out of the flour and water. It shouldn't be runny but it shouldn't be so thick that it won't come off the chop stick.
  2. Roll out the toilet paper the length you want it. Our beds are 8' long and our table is almost 8' long so we just used that as a guide.
  3. Look at the back of your seed packet and find the "thin to" information, use this to determine how far apart you need to space your seeds.
  4. Using a chop stick, dot the flour paste onto the toilet paper in the correct spacing. Since the toilet paper squares are about 3" they make a great guide for deciding how to space your seeds. 
  5. Once the glue is dotted onto the toilet paper, put a seed or two in the dot. 
  6. Let the glue dry for several hours and then roll them up. Write the name of the seeds on the end of the toilet paper and clip together with a paper clip.

Notes

Seed tape is best for small seeds such as carrots, lettuce, and herbs. For larger seeds, it's best to just plant them directly in the ground.

You can use non-toxic school glue if you prefer instead of making the flour and water paste.

If you don't want to clip them and write on the toilet paper you can roll them up and put them in a ziplock bag with the seeds name on the bag so you'll will know which seeds are on which tapes.

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Did you make this project?

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Thanks for sharing with your friends!

Stacey

Thursday 27th of January 2022

I love this idea, thank you! I'm a beginner gardener so every time I go to sow some seeds I have to look up all the details and it is so time consuming. Instead of being outside on a beautiful day sowing seeds, as I envision, I am instead inside looking things up and trying to figure it all out, or trying to find and read my notes! Now I can do the prep work on a less than beautiful day and be ready for just the right conditions for sowing seeds!

Angi Schneider

Friday 28th of January 2022

Glad you liked it! I hope it helps.

Jen Keith

Saturday 17th of September 2016

Way, way cool! You voiced my frustration with seed planting and I love the cheap seed tape idea. Thanks

Angi Schneider

Monday 19th of September 2016

Glad I'm not the only one who struggles to thin their plants. Hope this works for you.

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