It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Fall Craft: Seed Coasters

It’s fall! All sorts of fun things happen in the fall: the leaves change colour and fall off the trees so we can jump in them; the squirrels run around like mad, and yet somehow get fat; we start wearing jackets and sweaters, and stop wearing shorts; and there are seeds, seeds and berries everywhere.

Why not USE some of those seeds?

Well, mostly because gathering seeds in a city is a little difficult. We’ve found lots of dandelion seeds and maple keys, and we’ve seen lots of berries in gardens, but as for gathering buckets full of seeds — or even fistfuls — that’s a little harder. So: off to Bulk Barn we go!!!

And come back with a decent assortment. We have beans, lentils, barley, rice and peppercorns. (Peppercorns are second from the right. Are peppercorns seeds?) I got them because I wanted the colour.

Not that boring white, though. I wanted red! I was inspired by the red peppercorns at Bulk Barn, but I was not inspired by the $7.40/100g price. Yeesh. But really, if you want red peppercorns, that’s not so very hard to achieve. You buy the cheap white ones, drop in a few drops of food colouring, stir…

and ta-dah! Red peppercorns! Easy-peasy. And cheap. My favourite.

Skipped a couple of steps here. Make yourself a batch of salt dough. (There are recipes on the internet EVERYWHERE.) Roll it out a cm thick on a piece of waxed paper. Cut it with a large cookie cutter.

It’s thick, but not even. I knew I’d have to be rolling them flat after the children were done, so I wasn’t too fussy. After I was done, I realized that it wouldn’t have hurt to be a little more fussy at this stage… Live and learn.


Place the seeds of your choice in the arrangement of your choice, pressing them gently — gently! gently! — into the dough, being very careful NOT to grind them into the table and TOTALLY BURY THEM. Not. NOT! Oops.

(This part was trickier than you might think…)

Nearly done! After they’d put in the seeds, I rolled them lightly to smooth out the surface. These are supposed to be coasters, after all.

After making a couple, I discovered that you got better shapes if you left the cookie cutter in place, and removed it after they were done placing the seeds.

Bake them at 200F for… a loooooong time. They’re pretty thick! I think ours were in there for a good ten hours all told. You might consider leaving them in overnight. Don’t raise the temperature: it makes the dough go brown.

When they’ve cooled, give them several coats of an acrylic spray on all sides.

I wouldn’t trust my fine stemware on them, but they work just fine with sippy cups and bottles!!

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September 19, 2011 - Posted by | crafts | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Love it. I wonder if it would work with beads in the dead of winter? I guess you’d have to oven test them first. Does the dough change shape at all as it cooks?

    I don’t think so. It might shrink a tiny bit, but if so, it must do so uniformly. The pieces don’t warp at all. As for the beads? I’ve never tried, but yes, even at just 200F, I’m guessing plastic beads are not an option!

    Comment by jwg | September 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. You are always so clever with your crafts! Great project idea. I’m particularly impressed with the food colouring bit. I doubt I would have thought to try that.

    Thank you. I first did this one years ago with coloured pasta bits in egg-shaped dough for Easter. Those weren’t functional, though, just crafty clutter!

    Comment by Sheri | September 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. I used to make colored macaroni/pasta a lot while teaching kindergarten, but I always used food coloring and rubbing alcohol.

    Why the rubbing alcohol? Does it help the colour penetrate? How do you use it?

    Comment by Laura | September 23, 2011 | Reply


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