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Science for kids: How to make a recycled plant pot in 7 easy steps

Help your children to learn about nature with this fun DIY activity, extracted from the book KEW: Grow, Forage and Make.

The wonderful thing about plants is that they don’t care one bit what their pot looks like. You can make your pot as fancy as you like, or you can grow a plant in a plastic bag, so long as it drains. Good drainage is the most important thing for a plant pot.

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You can find lots of things in the recycling that would make an excellent pot. Have a rummage and see if you can find any of these:

  • Loo roll tubes
  • Milk or juice carton
  • Clear plastic container and tray liners
  • Takeaway trays (aluminium or plastic)
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Ice-cream tubs

Loo roll tubes are excellent for starting off seedlings like peas and beans. Once the seedlings are big enough to plant out you can keep them in their tubes and just plant everything in the ground – the cardboard tube will rot away without disturbing the roots. You’ll need to collect a lot of loo roll tubes though because this works best if they’re all nudged in close together in a tray so they don’t dry out.

To create a fancier pot that you can decorate, you can use a milk or juice carton and follow the steps below.

For your plant pot you will need:

  • Milk or juice carton (needs to be at least 10 cm deep)
  • An adult
  • Knife and scissors (for your adult to use)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Old newspaper
  • Brushes
  • Marker pens

How to make your own plant pot

Wash out the carton and make sure that it is completely dry. If there’s a label on it, remove this.

Draw a line around the top where you want to cut it. You could draw your line into a zigzag shape, or draw ears, but a straight line is also fine. With your adult helping, use scissors to cut above your line and then cut out your shape.

Your adult will need to poke some holes in the base for drainage. They will need to use a sharp knife or screwdriver for this.

Now you’re ready to paint your container. Remember to lay out some old newspaper on the surface you’re using as this can get a bit messy!

You will need two layers of paint – make sure to leave time for the paint to dry between each layer.

Once it is fully dry, you can decorate your pot. You could draw a funny face or a pattern or just write your name. Whatever you like!

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Now all you need to do is fill your pot with compost and plant it up or sow some seeds. And there you have it – your very own homemade plant pot!

KEW: Grow, Forage and Make by Alys Fowler is out now (£9.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books).

KEW: Grow, Forage and Make by Alys Fowler is out now (£9.99, Bloomsbury Children's Books)