Don't use any of the "shiny" pages, as they have additional chemicals and won't work as well for this project. I've also noticed that the regular pages (especially the classifieds) tend to have a lot more ink and can stain your fingers black for the next couple of steps. Using the comics section and full page color ad pages left less ink on my fingers, but resulted in the same colored pulp in the end. For this batch I used seven sheets of newspaper and two sheets of construction paper. Next time I will use more colored paper and less newspaper, as again, all three of my attempts ended up the same color.
This step is fun and the kids can definitely help out here. I tore up the paper to pieces roughly 1/4-1/2 inch and roughly square.
The instructions I found said to use hot water, but I'm not sure how that helps. You'll want to add enough water that your paper (when smushed down) is just under the surface of the water. Keep in mind that your paper will absorb the water and expand some. You may have to add more for the next step. No need to set a timer for this part. Take a break to fold some laundry, check your email, or water your houseplants. The longer you let it sit, the more the paper starts to break down (which is a good thing).
If your paper has absorbed all of the water, add more. You'll want to start this step with a little extra water on top of your paper. All three of my batches so far have been very frustrating at this point. The video I found shows a simple step... just push the button and the blender makes the shredded paper into pulp quickly and efficiently. Perhaps my Hamilton Beach blender is of poorer quality, or perhaps I missed some magical memo on how to work a blender, but I struggled to get my blender to mix this stuff up all three times. I'm talking a full on blender battle! I was seeming to make more progress stirring the mix with a spoon (when the blender was turned off of course) than the blender was doing. After at least twice making the entire kitchen smell like burning engine parts, and adding a LOT more water than the original instruction video said to use, I did eventually get the right consistency. I may need a new blender now.
This step is where I started to try new things. The original video shows a piece of fabric over a strainer, and then simply mixing in seeds and using the fabric to wring out the moisture. I tried this with my first two batches and I have to say that the cloth didn't help much in the way of removing moisture. So with this third attempt, I put the pulp directly into the strainer. Surprise! It doesn't go through like I was afraid it would! I'm not sure if I would do it this way with very tiny seeds, but for this batch I was using bigger seeds so it didn't matter.
First I used a spoon to press the pulp against the edges of the strainer. When I wasn't getting a lot out with the spoon method, I added my seeds. I mixed them in by hand, and then proceeded to squeeze out the seed pulp in smaller chunks by hand. When my hands cramped up and I started to get frustrated, my husband took over, and with his stronger grip was able to get out a surprising amount of water I'd missed.
Step Nine: Use a sponge or paper towel to press out any last moisture from the top of the molded seed bombs
I used some Easter molds I happened to have on hand. Any shape should work just as well in theory. You don't even really need a mold. You can form them by hand into small (1/2-inch, marble size) balls.
The original video said they'd be dry in 24 hours. Well, it's been over 24 hours for the first two batches and they're still wet. When I attempted to remove them from the mold, they just crumbled. That's why I was hesitant to post this tutorial today. My husband suggested that perhaps with his additional water squeezing, this third batch might turn out better. I'm going to say he's probably right. We will see in a day or two if the original two start sprouting (due to being too wet), and if the seed bombs come out whole or if they all crumble. Stay tuned for updates and further feedback.