How to Make Paper Pots.

First off I have to say I have NOTHING against plastic pots.  In fact, I think they’re great. They hold moisture well and they can be reused year after year.  But if you run out, these paper pots are fantastic.

Plywood table covered with seed starting supplies, newspaper and bottles of wine!

Skip right to the instructions.

If you start your own seeds or do any sort of transplanting I have 3 words for you … ALERT!  ALERT!  ALERT!    That means you should pay attention to what I’m about to say.  Sometimes it also means a tornado is coming, but in this case it doesn’t.  It’s seed starting season so if you want to make this the year you finally start your own seeds and grow a garden full of vegetables listen up.

A few years ago I got a doohickey for making paper pots.  It’s just a column of wood with a recessed base.  You wrap newspaper around it, smush the bottom together and WHAMMO, you have a paper pot.

I love it.  It looks nice, it feels nice and best of all … it works.  That isn’t always the case with doohickeys.

The only problem with I’ve found with it is, the pots I make are small.

So I went searching around the house for something that would replicate what the doohickey did, and the most reasonable facsimile I could come up with was a straight sided bottle.  Wine bottle, vinegar bottle, juice bottle … anything as long as it has straight sides AND a recessed bottom.


Sorry for yelling, but it seemed the best way to make my point.

Wanna make paper pots?  Grab some newspaper, a bottle with A RECESSED BOTTOM, and … well that’s it actually.  That’s all you need.  Read on and you’ll find out how to make the paper pots and WHY your bottle needs to have a recessed bum.

  Rip or cut a piece of newspaper.  It should be the height you want your pot plus an inch or two. One inch if your pot is narrow, two inches if it’s wide.

This is an approximate measurement.


Rolling wine bottle over a 7" strip of newspaper.
Roll your bottle until all the paper is wrapped around it.

Wine bottled with newspaper rolled around it on plywood table.

See there? That’s the recessed bottom.

Hand holding up newspaper wrapped bottle showing recessed bottom.

Now starting with the seam of the newspaper, push the paper into the recessed bottom. If you use a can or bottle, or something that isn’t recessed on the bottom, the paper won’t stay in position and your bottom won’t form. Then your plant will fall out the bottom. See? The bum is important.

Pushing newspaper into recessed bottom of bottle.

Continue to push the newspaper in until it’s all wrapped under the bottle. Push it hard with your fingers or hand. This will help crease the newspaper and make it more inclined to hold it’s shape and not fall apart.

Pushing newspaper into recessed bottom of wine bottle.

You now have a paper pot. My apologies to everyone who thought they were going to end up with weed. Now go finish your Cheez Doodles.

Finished paper pot beside wine bottle on plywood table with seeds in background.

If you did a good job your pot will stand up all on its own without any soil or anything in it.  If it doesn’t stand up on its own don’t worry about it. It will once you fill it with dirt.

Tiny tomato seedling in paper pot.

Now fill with soil and add your teeny, tiny transplant.


Don’t the pots fall apart when you water them?  Nope.  Not for the month or two you have your seedlings in them.  Don’t however leave the paper pots in standing water all day and night.  Then they will indeed fall apart on the bottom.

Can you plant the entire pot?  Yep.  Come planting time if you want you can plant the whole plant, pot and all, which is handy for any plants that are sensitive and don’t like to have their roots disturbed.

How often should I water them?  More often than you would a seedling in a plastic pot. The newspaper wicks away moisture which makes these pots dry out faster than a plastic pot.

The moral of this story? Nothing. There is no moral to this story at all. Now go make a pot.


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How to Make Paper Pots.