Anatolian Shepherds Page

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DIY Seed Tape

A homemade seed tape is a sheet of paper towel, cut to size, that your flower or vegetable seeds are “glued” to. This allows you to plant perfect straight lines in your garden and they are also perfect for containers and borders. Seed tapes allow you to maximize your growing area and get the spacing right on your plants every time. They make growing almost anything easier especially carrots, chives and flowers. Small seeds are easier to see against the background of the “glue” or paper towel, than against the dirt, so you can space them better, thus lessening the need to “thin out” later.

You can also use single sheets of newspaper, but we don't have any newspapers right now, because we have two new puppies!

This is a great activity to help combat January/February cabin fever that hits some people at this time of year. (Yep, that would be me! There's not a brown blade of grass or dirt in sight!)

Step One: Lay out a sheet of paper towel on your work table.

Step Two: In a (freezer strength) zip-lock bag, make a paste out of flour and water. Do not ever use glue. Mix together until it forms the consistency of a thin glue. Snip a very tiny corner off the zip-lock bag.

Step Three: Place your seeds in a bowl and get some tweezers if they are too small and hard to pick up.

Step Four: Lay out one paper towel in front of you. Use a tape measure and mark dots where you want to place your seeds. Also mark where you want to cut, if making more than one tape out of the same paper towel. You will most likely be able to get several strips from one paper towel depending on the size and shape of your garden space and how intensive you intend to plant. Look at the seed packet for recommendations on spacing. Dot some paste onto your spacing marks, using the zip-lock bag of “glue.”

Step Five: Place a seed on top of the glue using the tweezers, if necessary. The paste acts as a glue holding the seeds in place. Do not use regular glue. If the seeds won't stick then make your paste thicker by adding more flour.

Step Six: Repeat step 5 until all your seeds have been glued in place. Let the seed tapes dry completely and then store in a dry place, such as a shoe box with a lid. You can place a book on top to keep the tapes from curling. I cut the strips apart later, around planting time, rather than at this point.

Step Seven: When its time to plant your garden, cut your seed tapes into your pre-designated strips. Lay out the seed tape where you want your flowers or vegetables to grow. Then cover with a thin top layer of soil. Look at your seed packet for the specific amount your seeds need to germinate. They can be printed directly onto the tapes as they are being made, if desired. This is how I do it.

Step Eight: Water according to your plants preference and grow as you normally would. The seeds will come up in perfectly straight lines exactly where you placed the seed tape. The paper towel will be kept in place as it deteriorates becoming mulch which is good for your garden.

If you want to be creative try mixing different seeds onto one seed tape or when planting your garden alternate strips of different kinds of flowers. Under supervision this is also a great project for children to help make.

Seed tapes can be taylor made to the size and shape of the container you are planting in. Round, Rectangular, or strips, of any size.


  1. This is a great tip! I'm going to try this with the kids. Good lesson!

  2. Meegan,
    Let me know how yours turn out, with your little "helpers." If spring ever comes, we'll be ahead of the game.

  3. Have not tried the DIY seed tapes before. Am going to start with onion seeds. And lettuce. And . . .

  4. hello all at cottonpickinfarm just loved your article on diy seed tape was wondering could you use wallpaper paste instead of flour i no plant cuttings have been rooted in it. but well done this is a great idea
    yours Brian Cunningham northern Ireland

  5. Brian,
    Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
    I am not familiar enough with wallpaper paste to say. However, I would probably not use it, simply because of the potential of chemicals. In the U.S. we use a lot of chemicals that have no business in our food. So I'd stick with the flour water paste.
    Thank you, again!

  6. Have to agree with you their far to many chemicals in our food in Ireland also think i will stick to the flour water paste. many thanks again. and thank you for your quick reply. yours Brian Cunningham