Newspaper Pots for Starting Seeds

A simple and inexpensive way to start seeds is to fold newspaper pots and fill them with seed-starter soil (smaller particles that are usually sterilized).

I’ve tried several versions of folded and rolled pots and this is now my go-to choice. It’s easy to fold, needs no special tools, and holds together well. I just collect a few newspapers over the winter, do a little folding in my spare time, and I’m ready to go come spring.

seedlings in a newspaper pots

Simple and inexpensive.

How to Fold Newspaper Pots

I have a series of photos showing the steps. Solid lines are the edge of the newspaper. Dotted lines are fold lines.

Overall Size

I started with a sheet from a local freebie newspaper (which is slightly smaller than a standard newspaper). The largest square I could make from it is a 15″ square of newspaper and the final pot was just short of 3″ square. This is my preferred size for starting small seeds. For larger seeds or seedlings that might stay in my house a bit longer, I use a standard-sized newspaper.

Make a Square

Fold the corner diagonally toward the bottom edge and cut off the leftover bit.

fold diagonally to make a square

Make a paper square.

Fold Again for a Center Point

Unfold your square and fold it point to point in the other direction.

fold again the other direction

When you open the square you will have a center point to your square where the folds crisscross.

folded lines showing the center point

There’s your center point.

Fold In

Take each corner and fold to the center point in the middle.

fold corners to the middle

Meet in the middle.

Fold In Again

Then do it again. Take each point and fold to the middle.

fold to the center again

Now in Thirds

The next step is to fold the square in thirds.

fold square in thirds

The bottom third is folded up. I just need to fold the top third down.

Unfold the thirds and fold your square into thirds again in the other direction. Unfold again. What you’ve done is create a simple grid of fold lines. Your paper should look like this. The center box will become the bottom of the newspaper pot.

grid created by folding in thirds

You’re ready to shape the box.

This is also a great place to …

Stop and Store

If you are folding your pots during the winter in anticipation of spring, it’s a good thing to store them flat. They won’t take up much room at this point in the folding process.

ladybug rock holding down a stack of flat papers

(The ladybug was a gift from M1 last year.)

Time to Finish Them Up

When you’re ready to start some seed, you’re ready to work the last bit of folding and fill with dirt. Open one corner and keep an eye on the center square that is the bottom of your pot.

opened point

Open a point for the start of your pot.

The Only Tricky Part

The corner you opened up becomes a tab. Lift the sides and fold the extra bits against the tab as in the picture. Again keep an eye on the bottom square. It will help you shape the box. The tab is the same width as the box bottom.

folding extra bits toward tab

Cross over folds.

Tuck in the Tab

Make sure all your folds are neat and fold the tab down into the inside of the pot.

before and after of tab construction

Tab up -> Tab in and down

Repeat on the Other Side

Pull out the point opposite the tab you’ve completed and do the same thing.

A repeat on the other side.

Constructing a tab on the opposite side.


This is the final product. Because the tabs fold down inside the pot, the soil holds them in place. It’s a snug little pot that will keep its shape. You don’t have to worry about anything coming undone.

a finished newspaper pot

I like to put them in seed trays for easier watering and just moving them around as needed.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I make a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for keeping me in dirt. ❤

seedling tray


When it’s time to plant them in the garden, you can tuck them in the soil as is (the paper will break down in time) or you can gently peel away some or all of the paper as you plant.

Related Reading:
Take the crazy out of your planting schedule.


Pinterest image for Newspaper Pot article

Image credits
all photos © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead

Hi, I’m Lori and I’m delighted you stopped in for a visit. Pull up a chair and let me introduce you to NEWTON

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