How to Make a Seed Tape

This picture is one of a seed tape I made last year. Onions - white bunching.

It's time to make more seed tapes because we have a lot of carrots to plant!

Why make your own? First, finding exactly the seed you want in a pre-made seed tape is almost impossible. Second, pre-made seed tapes are expensive! And third, it's easier to space the seeds by placing them on a seed tape than doing it in the garden with wind blowing those tiny carrot and herb seeds.

Here's how: Take a somewhat thin square of toilet paper... I usually use 3 squares as they are about 4" per square, so 3 squares x 4" each = 12". This works well when planning a square-foot garden. The pic above has 3 squares for the grouping of onions above. We use Angel Soft, or another really cheap brand. Always use white - you don't want dyes possibly affecting your seeds.

I put an ink-mark where I plan to place the seed. Remember to space them out according to your package unless you plan to transplant. Using washable elmer's glue or a paste made with flour and water, dot it where you want the seed, place the seed, place another sheet of toilet paper on top, and let it dry.

Be sure to write on the seed tape (in ink!) what you've made. Red bunching onion seeds look pretty much like white bunching onion seeds. And if you're planting 5 different carrots like we are this year, you'll need it.

After they are very dried, I store them flat in an oversized baggie.

When you're ready to plant (it's about time for lettuce, radishes and carrots), smooth the surface of the upturned soil where you want the plants to grow, and place the seed tapes on the surface. Cover with enough soil per instructions for the seed (a little more for the bigger seeds, and just barely any for the smaller like carrots). Gently water. Actually, I recommend you use a mister until the seeds have sprouted and have firm roots. It's not very pretty to have water (or rain!) displace the soil to leave the white toilet paper just hanging out there!



Anonymous said...

Wow this is a great idea! I hadn't heard of seed tapes before and I can see how this would be a big help with planting really small seeds.

Anonymous said...

I mixed flour and water and red food coloring to save the marking step. put a big glop to make sure the papers bonded well. we will see if it works.

ThrtnWmsFam said...

Anon 1/16/10: good idea. I think I'll mix a bit of food coloring with the elmer's glue. Thanks! Vikki at

Bailey said...

What a great idea for planting and saving money.

Marcie said...

I''ve tried both, glue & flour/water paste directly on the seed, and both methods sufficated my seeds. None came up. I still wanted to make a seed tape, so I decided to put the glue in a circle on the TP and place the seed inside the circle, not in the glue. That worked great. Had a great crop of vegetables.