When it comes to giving gifts during the holiday season, I’m all about hand-made earth friendly gifts. If I had the time to make all of my family and friends something handmade I would. However, it seems that time accelerates during the holiday season. Or maybe time accelerates the more kids you have (life is busy with four kids!). It’s probably a combination of the two. The fact is, I’m still trying to knit winter hats for my kids… since last Christmas. Ha! The lesson I’m slowly learning is that handmade doesn’t have to be complicated. Handmade can be simple! Just like these Tree Ornament Seed Bombs.
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What is a seed bomb?
A seed bomb is a seed capsule comprised of clay, soil and seeds mixed together and dried. When the seed bomb is dispersed into nature, water will break down the capsule and the seeds with germinate and grow. Seed bombs are often used in “guerilla gardening” where people throw seed bombs onto vacant lots or properties. Just be aware that it can be illegal to disperse seed bombs in some places. Typically we use our seed bombs in our own yard, garden or grow them indoors in a pot.
- Air Dry Clay (white)
- Potting soil
- Wildflower seeds (West Coast Seeds is my favourite Canadian seed supplier)
- Large mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Tree cookie cutter
- Twine, cotton string or wool yarn
How much clay, soil and seeds do I need?
There are many ratios that will work well. A ratio of 4:1 (clay : soil) seems to be a common recommendation. The ratio I used for this project was:
- 10 oz (280 g) air dry clay (one quarter of a 2.5 lb/1.13 kg tub of air-dry clay)
- 1/2 cup potting soil
- 1 tsp. wildflower seeds
Note: A 2.5 lb (1.13 kg) tub of white air-dry clay , 2 cups or soil and 4 tsp of seeds will yield approximately 40 tree seed ornaments that are 3 inches tall and 1/4 inch thick.
What kind of seeds should I use?
Choose wildflower seeds that are native to your area and will benefit bees, butterflies and birds. I recommend choosing annual seeds as they will only grow for one season.
- In a large bowl, mix the clay, potting soil and seeds together by kneading the mixture together with your hands. This is a great task for kids to help with. If your mixture seems too dry add a sprinkle of water, if you mixture seems to wet add a bit more soil.
- Place your big ball of mixed clay on a counter or cutting board and roll into to 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) thick using a rolling pin. To prevent sticking try rolling the clay onto parchment paper, a silicone mat or sprinkle some soil under the clay.
- Use a tree shaped cookie cutter and cut shapes out of the clay.
- Carefully lift the tree cutouts and reshaped them with your fingers as needed.
- Use a chopstick or pencil to make a hole in the ornament so that you can hang it from a string.
- Place the tree ornaments on a cooling rack and let them air dry until firm. Drying time is 2 to 3 days.
- When fully dry, put twine or cotton string through the hole or the ornament and add a tag (printable below) if you like.
Let it Grow! Free Tag Printable
Print off these Let it Grow! Tags and add them to your ornaments.