Monday, March 26, 2012

Seed Birds and Volcanoes for Guerilla Gardening


This Spring Break we got excited about making wildflower seed balls to throw into a local empty field. This Heal This Field poster was our inspiration.  We ended up with a lot of experiments and variations, some of which turned out great.

This fuzzy Seed Bird is one of the favorites, covered in aster seeds and filled with wildflowers seeds, it will almost be a shame to turn it loose in the earth. But the reward will be flowers later this summer.

To make the seed balls we used newspaper mush and wildflower seeds. We also used toilet paper tubes, paper bags, napkins and rice glue. Many tutorials on making Seed Balls are out there on the interwebs. This one that uses newspaper was our inspiration.  We made our own rice glue from short grain rice. It's basically free and will dissolve in the rain allowing the seeds to sprout out. Instructions for making rice glue were found here.


As usual, the project somehow turned into a experiment and creativity fest. Some seed balls did take the standard ball shape, but of course we weren't content to sticking to one shape.

Some seeds were sandwiched between paper and covered in rice glue and formed to a jar lid shape. The hope was they would fly like flying seed discs.  This had only limited success. Maybe if they were bigger with more weight. The rice glue really makes the paper hard as anything.

One of these discs ended up as a mushroom. The red discs have tomato seeds in them. Next time I think I will make seed balls with more vegetable seeds in them. I will have to research which vegetables would fair well in an unattended field. 

The Seed Birds are newspaper mash with seeds formed into a simple bird shapes then covered in scrap paper using rice glue.  The color really added the needed cuteness factor.

We dipped the beaks into a turmeric and rice glue mixture.

This is one of my favorite little birds, it may be hard to let it go flying away into a field somewhere. The ones in the background were covered in rice glue then rolled in aster seeds.

The owls were made of toilet paper tubes stuffed with seed mash and covered with brown paper or tissue.  More detailed information on making this owl can be found here.

Some newspaper balls were wrapped with Keep Canada Clean messages. These were made with lavender seeds I'd saved from my lavender plants. The newspaper mash smells wonderful as bits of flowers and leaves were mixed in.


Seed sticks with a message like 'Keep Canada Clean' or 'Plant Flowers not Garbage' were made by using rice glue to stick seeds onto scraps of paper. The ones that turned out nicest were formed around straws so it made a neat spiral tube.

The seed volcanoes are pretty much my favorite ones though. They are so festive and exciting looking.

We pressed the mash into cone shapes using a small plastic funnel as a mold, tore strips of red paper and used rice glue to give the vocano lava.


With spring rain coming today, and warmer weather in sight,  we'll see how long it takes this one to sprout.

The cat grass seed bomb amuses me as it really is cat grass seeds around the base. Maybe catnip would be more useful and appreciated. Not only could you plant flowers, you could lure cats away from your vegetable garden.


I hope you enjoyed our variations on the seed ball. This is a fun activity for kids and the crafty, and don't forget the second part of the project which is the planting. Think about taking this project the extra step by visiting a nearby field that needs cleaning up, pick up some garbage and then plant some wildflowers.

Plant Flowers not Garbage!

How to make the Seed Owl

The Seed Owl is made of a toilet paper tube and brown paper. Newspaper seed mush went on the inside and rice glue was used to stick it all together.

Cut a toilet paper tube like so. Save the left over portion for wings.



Pack the seed / newspaper mache into the base of the tube, using your hand to keep it from going out the bottom.

Use the rice glue and paintbrush to cover the outside (including sealing the bottom off) with used fast food bags of brown paper or other recycled paper.
Fold the front part down and into the center. Fold the pointed part over that.

Crease the pointed side parts (horns of horned owl) so that they stand up straight.

Use a rubber band to hold the flap down as it dries.

Cut the leftover toilet paper tube into this double wing shape and cover it with rice glue and brown paper.
Use the rubber band to secure the wings on until the owl dries. I ended up placing the owl in a small bowl to dry so the wings stayed curved forward.
Here's the finished owl. Pretty cute for something that will be thrown into a field to become wildflowers. 

The pennies as eyes were a last minute idea, but something that decomposed would be better. My original thought was to use seeds or construction paper eyes.




We also went on to make a large variety of seed carrying objects and experiments.

This little bird was made of a toilet paper roll and covered with paper. Then sprinkled with aster seeds. The nest is old brown napkins rolled up into ropes and glued on (all rice glue).


If you want to try this bird, here's a general idea of what I did.

Now all we have to do is wait for it to sprout!

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