How to Make Origami Newspaper Seedling Pots

Loofah seedlings in newspaper pots ready to plant out 'pots 'n' all'

These seedling pots require no staples, glue, tape or origami skills. Recycle your old newspapers and get your seeds off to a good start in these pots that can be put into the ground with the young seedlings therefore minimising root disturbance. The newspaper breaks down over time and the plants roots will grow through the newspaper.

Materials needed:


Step 1

If you are using large newspaper, rip in half. Turn piece of newspaper so the long side is facing you.

Step 2

Fold in half, left to right.

Step 3

Fold it again, bottom to top into a quarter size.

Step 4

Fold it in half again, left to right.

Step 5

Now fold the bottom right corner (marked with an “A” in Step four) up to the middle along the spine.
The crease in the center shown by the red line, was the bottom in Step four.

See how the “A” has moved up now?

Step 6

Flip it over on the other side and do the same thing you just did in Step five.

Step 7

Open the wings up to make a smooth shape like this. Do it to both sides.

Step 8

Fold the wings in to the crease in the center.

Step 9

Fold them in again.

Step 10

Now flip it over and repeat Steps eight and nine. It should look like this when you are done.

Step 11

Fold the top flaps down and crease them well.

Step 12

Now you can open up your pot! Make sure to square the bottom so it can sit well.

If you don’t like the ears on your pot, you can fold them into the pot. When you fill it with soil, it will keep them locked in place.
If you want, you can also drop the ears into adjoining pots to make a four or six pack, like you find in the garden shops.

Fill with seed raising mix and plant your seeds and water them. It is best to keep the pots in a tray. When the seedlings have their first pair of leaves just plant the whole thing in the garden!

Some people may be concerned about the newspaper inks being absorbed by the plant. Although most newsprint is reputed to use vegetable based inks these days, if you are concerned, only use these pots for plants that you won’t eat.

Sheet Mulching

Another use for old newspapers is to wet a few sheets and lay them down a few layers thick over weeds you want to suppress. Cover with sawdust or some sort of mulch to stop the newspaper from blowing away. I did this to the paths around my raised garden beds and it was a long time before anything started growing through. Make sure the newspaper sheets are overlapped to stop anything from growing up between the sheets.

41 Responses

  • March 23, 2020 at 9:36 am

    […] packet of seeds costs less than $5. You can make little pots for your seedlings out of newspaper. A bag of decent soil costs less than $10. When the seedlings are big enough, you can put the […]

  • November 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    This is a very useful website! I used it in a class and the children loved it! This is better than buying real pots!

  • fiona
    April 17, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! we just made a couple of dozen of these and planted loads of seedlings. They are the perfect size to fit neatly into old plastic meat and veg trays from the supermarket. We wait and see how well they perform over the next few weeks!

  • john reed
    April 4, 2016 at 8:07 am

    all current newspapers are printed with soy ink. this is a very viable process for starting etable seeds.

    • April 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Good to know!

      • Eric, Linda, and Paul
        July 15, 2019 at 3:47 am

        Just found this and decided to try it. As I don’t buy newspapers I used a sheet of copy paper A4/Letter and it worked fine. I also found if you tuck the flaps inside before filling it still keeps its shape.

  • nadiya
    June 26, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    hi, just saw this article and i tried and it worked . Thank you so much for sharing

  • sharon wallace
    August 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    thanks for the great idea, just making loads of pots for my daughters prep class garden!xxx

  • July 3, 2013 at 3:57 am

    […] what you put in. This is the technique i use. Tried others but these seem to hold up the best. How to Make Origami Newspaper Seedling Pots | For Greenies -Samuel (also, first post, Hi […]

  • May 21, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    […] most eco-friendly started pots imaginable: newspapers can be found pretty much everywhere, and a few simple folds are all that’s needed to create perfect little pockets for nurturing your seeds. Once folded, […]

  • April 27, 2013 at 2:24 am

    […] a tutorial of how to make them. You could also give this one a whirl if you’ve more time on your […]

  • April 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    […] an asset but not necessary.  There are lots of websites available with instructions (try here, here, or […]

  • Cathy
    April 8, 2013 at 5:15 am

    These instructions are fantastic! Thank you very much for sharing. Just made and filled seven and I’m sure I will be making and using quite a few more before spring is over.

  • Matt Alexander
    April 7, 2013 at 2:20 am

    I was very happy with these, but then after a couple of days I found mold growing on my soil. I picked it out, but a few days after that the outsides of my newspaper planters were growing mold.

    I guess that’s the risk of reusing something, but I’m a bit concerned.

    • April 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      What soil mix are you using? Is it homemade? could be from the soil rather than the newspaper.

      • Justin
        August 14, 2013 at 7:32 am

        This is a nice idea in theory but not so much in execution. Any decent seedling pot should be able to last at least 2 weeks. This one will fall apart and become soggy and nasty in a matter of days inviting mold, pests and other undesirables not to mention the water retention causing issues. Even using small stack of paper cups would be better if you don’t want to use reusable solo cups which is a much much better option if you’re on a budget.

        • August 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

          Yes I agree, used paper cups are also a good idea.

        • Julian Foley
          May 4, 2020 at 2:39 pm

          Justin, you’ve missed the point. These pots are traditionally for holding the seedlings just until they can be transplanted into the garden or the forest – the same day, or within a few days. They are vastly more convenient – flexible (allowing seedlings to be stacked far more easily), easy to source and dispose of (they begin to biodegrade within days) and free. For longer-life, try moulded paper. “Paper” cups are now plastic-lined, so avoid them.

  • JZMC
    March 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Great idea, great post, and great photo instructions! Thanks!

    If you are concerned about the ink, you can get end rolls from newspapers. You can get a whole roll for pretty cheap, they have tons of uses. It takes more work, as the paper is still on the roll (3-4 feet wide) so you’d have to cut it up into sheets for this project. Just a thought!

  • RodrigoP
    February 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

    When I was five years old, my father wanted me to learn how to make paper airplanes so he bought me thousands of sheets to learn. Now I am twelve and I still don’t know.
    So for me to do paper pots was very difficult even with the pictures and good instructions.

  • February 9, 2013 at 5:01 am

    […] I found a procedure on how to build an origami newspaper seedling pot:   http://www.forgreenies.com/origami-newspaper-seedling-pots   […]

  • January 24, 2013 at 5:55 am

    You can also use cardboard on the ground with the mulch on top.

  • cheryl Bourgeois
    January 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Just viewed this for the first time. The instructions are there, but the pics. never loaded! 🙁 Would LOVE to make these for my greenhouse seedlings SOON!

    • January 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Hi Cheryl, I have just fixed the photos, they should be fine now! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Jessica
    December 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

    The ink is pretty toxic, I don’t think this would be great for sprouting anything edible.

  • September 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I dont think its very strong with newspaper but it still dose the job.Thanx! =D

    • September 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Newspaper isn’t the strongest material, but that is the whole point – it is temporary, just for while the seeds are sprouting and the first leaves are formed, then carefully transfer pot and all into the garden where the newspaper will gradually beak down and be eaten up by worms and other tiny soil critters!

  • Ray
    September 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm


  • August 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    […] as a method for making newspaper pots. If you want to try making your own I recommend visiting For Greenies as their instructions and photographs are easy to follow. There are many other methods out there […]

  • May 28, 2012 at 7:23 am

    […] -Newspaper Planting Pots – Fold newspapers into small portable plots, plant a seedling of your choice and transport home! (10am-6pm) […]

  • May 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    VERY good instructions!

  • April 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    […] Newspaper plant pots. Folded from a single sheet of newspaper and perfectly sturdy when filled with compost. When your seeds have sprouted into seedlings, these upcycled pots can be planted straight into bigger tubs and will break down naturally. It’s utterly genius. Not to mention heart-breakingly cute. […]

  • April 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    That was neat! Thank you!

  • Sally
    March 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

    excellent! Thank you.
    ( I’ve been saving up to buy one of the wooden paper pot shapers, but now I don’t need one!)

  • April 19, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Well done!! Great instruction with beautiful pictures. We love origami and we love to recycle too.

    Thank you for sharing!
    aka AudreyGardenLady

  • April 17, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Awesome! We’re making them for our spring garden right now! Great instructions! Thanks.

  • Karen
    February 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Awesome instructions! Thank you Thank you

  • November 12, 2010 at 8:05 am

    We did those at school to plant garlic, but used a wooden mould… I think this is better, and I love origami.

    thank you for sharing


Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2022 — For Greenies | Site design by Trevor Fitzgerald