How to Make and Use Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

How to Make and Use Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

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Newspaper seed starting pots are a simple and environmentally-friendly solution for seed starting. Not only are you re-using a free resource to make them, you can also plant them directly in your garden when you are ready to transplant.

Making newspaper seed starting pots is easy – all it takes is a few simple supplies and a quick rolling and folding process.

I’ve learned this process from a number of different online resources; in this article we add a few tips for success and some information on how to best use them as part of your seed starting operation.


  • One full edition of your favorite free newspaper (one paper will usually be enough for a full tray of pots)
  • Scissors
  • A pint jar or other round jar
  • A seed starting tray or any plastic bin

Step One: Cut the Newspaper into Wide Strips

You’ll want strips of newspaper, cut whichever way is longest, that are about 2-3 inches wider than the jar you are using, laid on its side. Cut the whole paper into strips then stack those strips on top of each other to make assembly easy!

Step Two: Roll Newspaper Strips around your Jar

Tip: I have found that pots are more sturdy but still fold well with a double-thick layer of newspaper. One layer seems too flimsy, but more than two is hard to fold and keep in place.

Align the top (open) end of your jar to one side of the newspaper strip. Holding the top of the newspaper onto the lid section of the jar to keep it secure, roll your newspaper strips around your jar until you get to the end. You should have about 2 inches of free rolled newspaper at the bottom.

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Step Three: Fold the Newspaper at the Bottom

Holding from the open end of the jar, fold that bottom 2 inches of newspaper around the jar in sections to create multiple folds that will eventually cover the bottom of the jar. Then, using your thumb and forefinger, create a crease around the bottom of the jar to help the folded paper stay in place as the bottom of your pot.

Step Four: Remove the Jar

Holding the newspaper pot lightly toward the bottom, gently shake the jar out of your pot (be sure to carefully catch it!).

Finished newspaper seed starting pot
Your finished pot will be folded at the bottom and top to keep it together.

Step Five: Fold the Top of your Pot Inward

To help the end of your roll stay put and to make your pot more sturdy, now you’ll fold the top of the pot in, all the way around, to make a top seam. Aim for about a one-inch fold and squeeze that crease all the way around.

Newspaper seed starting pots will do best when packed snugly into a tray together.

Step Six: Place in your Seed Tray

Place your finished pot in a seed tray. At the beginning your pot will seem kind of flimsy. Don’t worry! Once you pack them snugly into a tray and fill them with soil, they will squeeze up against each other and be much more stable.

Newspaper pots filled with soil and packed snugly into a tray
Your pots will be more stable when filled with soil and snugly packed.

The Whole Process takes 30 Seconds!

The simple process takes just 30 seconds per pot!

Seed Starting Tips:

To use these newspaper seed starting pots effectively, remember to use a high quality seed starting mix (we like the seed starting mix from Gardener’s Supply). We blend the seed starting mix with warm water before filling our pots.

We plant our seeds and label them using leftover slices of wood from the workshop (you can also use Popsicle sticks or any other piece of scrap wood you have lying around).

Consider using a seed mat to keep your seeds warm as they germinate, as well as a grow light to help move things along.

For more information on building a seed starting shelf, see our recent how to article – you can build your own shelf at home for less than half the price of a store bought equivalent!

And check out these other ideas for upcycled seed starting equipment!

Happy Growing 🙂

How to Make Newspaper Seed Starting Pots PIN
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Carrie Williams Howe
Blogger & Homesteader at The Happy Hive
Carrie Williams Howe is an educational leader by day and an aspiring homesteader by night and weekend. She lives on a small homestead in Vermont with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious border collie. She is a Founder and Editor of Homestead How-To and also blogs about her family's homestead life at The Happy Hive.

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