Progress on Making Paper Planters

a new technique for making paper planters

Another week, some more steps forward in our attempts at a planter that can have a magnet embedded in it. While it wasn’t looking like we were making any real progress, this idea came up near the end of Office Hours—plastic cups with holes, paper pulp, and a small cup on the inside to make a mold. I think we’re getting really close to having a workable planter.

Billie, Cristina, and Michelle

There was a lot to do as usual, and with the semester winding down, Michelle had to finish up one of her projects: magnetically-backed photos to be placed around the neighbourhood. Billie stopped by to ask us for some help on an upcoming project for Green Corridor, an outdoor screening series of community-made videos.

working on making paper

Danielle and Immony were going to work on making more paper pulp.

Darren's Make magazine

Darren brought by a copy of Make—I can’t wait for time this summer to flip through this magazine … so many good ideas.

Bree stopped by to help us work with some planters

Bree came by and started working with the wire to make a frame for the planters.

Danielle recycling newspaper

Danielle started making some more layers of paper pulp for the planter. Danielle was trying to work out a design that would alleviate the need for a wire frame.

layering the paper pulp on thick

The plastic cups came out to act as a support to layer paper pulp around.

open to ideas

Josh and I were working on the Rhizome commission proposal.

working on the commission proposal

Working through the language on the proposal has been tough. We don’t want to make the proposal too dense, but it’s important to give the context of Windsor.

working on planters

At the other end of the table, Danielle and Immony kept working on the paper pulp, Bree and Darren tried to work with the metal wire. Their planters turned out well, but ultimately no one seemed convince that it was the way to go.

one of the original models

I think this was one of the original planters? But the new designs were based on this same idea—it was taking too long to make and we weren’t sure about how well it might work out in the field as a planter.

making some pulp

Danielle is holding Immony’s original oversized planter—we definitely need to make them smaller whether they’re metal or just paper pulp.

a good idea

Then, a new idea…

some more pulp

So we needed more pulp.

working with plastic cups

Using two cups let us pour pulp into the large red cup, which had holes in it to allow the water to drain from the pulp. Inside of the red cup and on top of the pulp, there was a smaller cup with a weight in it to make a mold.

sinking a lock

At first we put a lock in the smaller cup to weight it down.

holes in the plastic cup

Danielle started cutting some more holes in more cups.

draining water from the pulp

We ended up testing five cups, realizing we could just use water as weight.

this might work

I think the pulp is still drying—ideally, they’d be out in the sun to speed up the process, because in my studio it’s taking a while. I think this is going to be the way to go though, once the pulp dries, we’ll have a thick-walled planted that we can embed a magnet into. Hopefully it stands up to rain… More developments at the next Office Hours.

5 Replies to “Progress on Making Paper Planters”

    1. Nicole!
      Thanks so much for posting that link! Very helpful!!!

      Clare, good call, we are hoping to figure out a way to embed the magnets into the paper. We just need to keep testing, because with the weight of the soil, the paper might be more likely to tear.

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