Homemade Seedling Pots

Post by Contributing Writer, Jill.

Even though it will be several more months before I have the chance to push seeds in our dark Wyoming soil, I can’t help but to have just the slightest twinge of spring fever. Thankfully, this year I am starting a variety of seeds indoors, so I am able to play in the dirt a little earlier than usual.

I love finding frugal, green options for everyday homestead needs. These simple paper pots are ideal since they are practically free to make and can be fashioned in seconds from items normally destined for the garbage can or compost pile.

In addition, these homemade pots can be placed directly into the soil. For me, this is a huge bonus, as I usually maim at least a couple seedlings when I’m attempting to transplant!

To make your own pots, you will need:

  • Newspaper
  • A sturdy glass or cup (one with straight sides, not tapered, works the best)
  • Tape (optional)
  • A tray or pan that will hold your pots once they are filled with soil

First, fold a sheet of newspaper in half. Here, I am using a sheet from a small newsletter. After folding, this particular sheet is approximately 7 inches wide.

Place the mouth of the glass in the middle of the paper. The excess paper at the top will become the base of the pot.

Tightly roll the paper around the glass. You may wish to fasten a small piece of tape over the seam once it is rolled. However, I usually find this not to be necessary.

Press the excess paper into the mouth of the glass. Then carefully pull the pot off of the glass.

Using your hand or the bottom of the glass, flatten down the paper flaps so they form the pot’s base.

Fill with soil, and you are ready to plant!

I purchased several inexpensive foil pans with clear lids to hold my paper pots. The pans not only catch any excess water, but the lids will help to keep the seeds moist and warm. They can be reused year after year.

When the weather warms and it’s time to plant, place the entire pot into the ground and allow the newspaper to decompose naturally. No need to extract the seedling from the pot, which sometimes can damage the roots (and personally causes me much grief!).

Some other frugal materials that you can use for starting seeds:

  • Toilet paper rolls- Cut four slits halfway up the roll, then fold in the flaps to make the pot’s bottom.
  • Eggshells
  • Egg Cartons Plant a seed in each hole, then cut the carton apart and place each section into the ground.
  • Various repurposed plastic containers and cartons- Just be sure that the plastic is flexible enough to allow removal of the seedling, as you won’t be able to plant it directly into the ground.

So even though we are sure to have at least another blizzard or two, my seeds are purchased and my pots are ready. I suppose my spring fever has been appeased… At least for a little while!

Jill writes from the homestead she shares with her husband, baby daughter, and an ever-changing assortment of animals. When she’s not in the kitchen preparing traditional foods, you’ll find her outside riding her horses, growing vegetables, milking goats, and killing rattlesnakes. She shares homesteading tales and kitchen tips at her blog, The Prairie Homestead.


Looking for a good source for organic seeds? I filled my medicinal herb bed with seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs last year, with wonderful results!

Cultivating Herbal Friendships

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24 comments to Homemade Seedling Pots

  • […] a huge bonus, as I usually maim at least a couple seedlings when I’m attempting to transplant!  [Click to read the rest of the article…] Category: Gardening & […]

  • Thanks so much for the ideas! This will be my first year doing gardening (using a raised bed and/or containers) and I am in the process of researching how to do everything. Very helpful post :).

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    Becci- you will have so much fun with your garden! I remember my first year, it was a blast, and I was absolutely in awe that the stuff actually grew, ha! :)

    [Reply]

  • Great idea. I’ve been planting in old ice cream containers today which will probably be great for the mint but always worry about the roots when planting out other seedlings.
    It feels so good to reuse things too-my potatoes are chitting in an eggbox that was previously used for eggs then for sorting and counting probably should use it for seedlings next!

    [Reply]

  • […] cookies are shared in appreciation for help moving the old car (instead of served at a party), garden seeds are put back on the shelf awhile longer; postponing the activity of spring for a few more […]

  • Mommy Marie

    I did the seedling pots with my 6,5 and 4 year old. We had a blast! Thanks for the great idea.

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    Mommy Marie- so glad you had fun! It is a great project to do with the kiddos!

    [Reply]

  • I love this idea! We have some serious Spring Fever out here in CT….it’s going to be a while before our snow melts enough, though. 😉

    I’m anxious to plant a little garden inside, but don’t really know what I’m doing. Will have to try this one with the kiddos for sure!

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    Steph- I totally can relate to the spring fever- it will be a while before we can plant anything into the ground here as well!

    [Reply]

  • Pat

    Just thought I’d mention I use Cans to make my paper pots. The small tomatoe paste can is a good size for small pots. Of course like glasses you can make any size you want. The rest of the instructions are just like you do. After years of doing this a friend moved away and gave me her wodden pot maker form, works the same way, but costs a lot from the nurseries ( at least to me it is a lot).

    [Reply]

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