attainable sustainable book cover
Check out my book!

Best How-to Book of 2020 — American Society of Journalists and Authors

Environmentally Friendly Upcycled DIY Seed Starter Pots

May contain affiliate links. Please see my privacy policy and affiliate disclosure.

When it’s time to start seeds indoors, you’ll need to think about seed starting pots. Happily, you probably have everything you need to make these upcycled and environmentally friendly seed containers! 

Read more about starting seeds for your garden here.

beet seedling in a container

Yep, if you use toilet paper in your home, you’ve got the materials you need on hand to make these upcycled seed starting pots.

You could also use paper towel tubes, though if you’re trying to cut kitchen waste, that might have been one of the first things you cut out! 


The Edible Front Yard Garden

Does your homeowners association prevent you from growing food in the front yard? What if they never even KNEW? My ebook, The Edible Front Yard Garden will show you how!

Plant a 5-Gallon Garden

5-gallon garden logo

 

Limited on space? Don’t let that keep you from growing some of your own food! In my 5-Gallon Garden course, I’ll show you how to grow food in the space you have! Learn more about it here.


Easy seed starting pots

Making these seed containers couldn’t be easier. You’ll need scissors and cardboard tubes – that’s it! 

Start by cutting each toilet paper tube in half. (Cut paper towel tubes in quarters.)  

Make four cuts 1/3 of the into the roll. Space these equally around the circumference of the tube. No need to measure; just eyeball it. 

Push the four “tabs” toward the center of the tube, then fold them one over the other as you would close the flaps of a box, tucking the “loose” tab under.

cardboard tube with ends folded in to be a seed starter pot

Press the folded cardboard a bit to flatten the bottom. 

Fill each seed pot with a seedling starting mix and plant seeds. Water the seeds in well. 

I find that these seed starting containers tend to dry out more quickly than plastic seed pots, so keep them in a tray that retains about a quarter inch of water at the bottom of the pots. They’ll absorb more water as they sit. 

Planting seedlings 

Since these containers are made from cardboard, the seedlings can be planted directly into the soil. The cardboard will biodegrade and the roots of the plant will push out through the bottom. 

These containers are excellent for giving root crops and other crops that don’t like to be transplanted a head start. What you see in the images here are beet seedlings. 

beet seedling in a container

Environmentally Friendly Upcycled DIY Seed Starter Pots

Yield: each TP tube makes two seed starting pots
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Materials

  • Cardboard tubes

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Cut each toilet paper tube in half. (Cut paper towel tubes in quarters.)  scissors cutting TP tube
  2. Make four cuts 1/3 of the into the roll. Space these equally around the circumference of the tube. No need to measure; just eyeball it. scissors cutting a notch in a cardboard tube
  3. Push the four "tabs" toward the center of the tube, then fold them one over the other as you would close the flaps of a box, tucking the "loose" tab under. cardboard tube folded into a pot
  4. Press the folded cardboard a bit to flatten the bottom. 
  5. Fill each seed pot with a seedling starting mix and plant seeds. Water the seeds in well and watch for sprouts! beet seedling in an upcycled seed starter pot
  6. I find that these seed starting containers tend to dry out more quickly than plastic seed pots, so keep them in a tray that retains about a quarter inch of water at the bottom of the pots. They'll absorb more water as they sit. 

Did you make this project?

Share an image on Instagram and tag @attainablesustainable with #attainablesustainable!

beet seedling in an upcycled seed starter pot

Click to save or share!

Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She's a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Skip to Instructions