Experimental Homestead

Turkeysong Origami Seed Pockets Video Goes Live!

seed pocket header



At some point a year or two ago, I had to come up with a folded packet/envelope design so I could give away the seeds that I save at farmer’s markets, scion exchanges and places like that.  I like giving away seeds.  I often give away too many and end up kicking myself, but it is so compelling for some reason!  The first thing that came to mind was those little paper packets called bindles that cocaine used to come in back in the 80’s.  Learning to fold bindles was about the only real good I ever got out the stuff.  Cocaine was around a lot back then, but I had little use for it.  I think I was more interested in the bindles than the coke. I did so little of it that I couldn’t remember how to make those little folded paper bindles almost 30 years later.  So, anyway, no bindles.  I had to improvise.  I’m not sure why I didn’t just look for instructions on the internet, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I had recently come up with an origami container for roasted baynuts that was pretty nifty, so I was emboldened to the task and began folding away fearlessly.  I already knew I wanted it to be a quarter sheet or smaller.  The result after a few minor adjustments is this origami dubbed “seed pocket” for obvious reasons.  It came out with some neat unexpected features.  The back tabs lock together in a really neat way to keep the packet closed.  If stuffed super full it may open at the back (though it’s still unlikely to spill seeds) but then you can just make a larger one out of a full sheet instead of a quarter sheet.  I prefer to tear the paper after creasing, because the torn edges appear under the title, which looks cool and more handcrafted-like.  there are also a lot of squares and half square triangles formed, so the proportions are pleasing to an OCDish person fixated on symmetry, like me.  These are very seed tight and unlikely to leak even small seeds like poppy.  In fact, I just packed up some tiny shirlie poppy seeds last night.  I’m not so sure about super teeny weeny tiny seeds like tobacco and lobelia, but otherwise, they’re pretty dang tight!

seed pockets front and back

I’ve got one laid out in adobe illustrator for each of the seed varieties that I save regularly, with names, short descriptions and a nudge in the direction of my blog to pick up web traffic.  They serve a little like business cards and are very popular.  It’s a lot of folding, but I actually like folding them while watching a movie or just thinking about stuff.  It’s sort of addictive.  I’ve probably folded thousands by now.

I’m making the Adobe Illustrator template available as a downloadable file, so if you have access to adobe illustrator, you can leave the layout (which took a helluva long time to get right, so be careful messing with it!) and just change the text and fonts to suit your own farm name, variety names, descriptions and such.  You may need to download the fonts I used if you want to keep them (Copperplate gothic light, Century old style standard, Cambria and Chalkduster).  Putting some text on the inside of the packet is a possibility too, and I may add seed saving instructions for each vegetable eventually if I can get my stupid printer to stop eating so much paper.  I kept it pretty simple, but one could add all kinds of things- colors, pictures, gardening quotes, fold lines…

This template is for four small seed pockets per 8.5 x 11 inch sheet.  I haven’t made a full sheet template, but I do use the same origami design for making an occasional large seed packet.  If you use the template, I’d appreciate the small favor of leaving the blip on the underside of the flap so people can find the template and this post and my blog.  Thanks!

seed pockets side

So, save some seeds this year!  If you haven’t saved seed before, tomatoes are an easy place to start.  They rarely cross with each other.  Just take a non-hybrid tomato that you like, squish the seeds into a bowl, let it ferment for a day or two to dissolve the pulp, wash and drain several times to clean the seeds, and dry on a piece of paper in the shade until thoroughly dry.

This is the first video of what I hope will be many.  Big thanks to blog reader lars for hooking me up with a video camera!  Thanks dude!


And don’t miss my one other youtube video ever, the epic guinea pig munch off!


March 30, 2014 - Posted by | Food and Drink Making, Garden Stuff | , , , ,


  1. Video removed by user? <:(

    Comment by Trish | March 30, 2014 | Reply

  2. I’m getting a “this video has been removed by user” I think we need more of these. I fold mine in full sheets with lots of beginner instructions printed on the inside and basic info on the center outside. Mine aren’t so elegant but a similar origami fold and tuck. I like the smaller version you have because for beginners or just a “sample” of seeds a full sheet is way too much or alternatively they feel like they’re getting shorted on the number of seeds they should get. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by c. | March 30, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks. The link should be fixed now. I did a design before that was packed with information, but it had to be cut and glued. I like the full sheet size for larger seeds and would probably use it for selling seeds if I did sell them, which I don’t currently. I may start eventually. People offer to buy them sometimes. For most types of seeds, these quarter sheets are probably better for giving seeds away, or maybe selling samples.

      Comment by Stevene | March 30, 2014 | Reply

  3. Beautiful! Thanks, very helpful video- no worries about the nails, proves you’ve been doing useful stuff! :)

    Comment by Trish | March 30, 2014 | Reply

  4. Nice! Those tabs are fantastic. Gotta love the simplicity of Origami technology. Thanks for the roasted bay nuts btw. They were delicious and definitely woke me up a bit.

    Comment by gregory | March 30, 2014 | Reply

    • Bay nuts pack a punch. Not sure what the stimulant is yet, but probably something in the caffeine group. The oils are easily digested energy food too, and they are about 50% or more fat, same oils as coconut. But it’s hard to eat enough to get a lot of dietary fat since they’re so buzzy.

      Comment by Stevene | April 3, 2014 | Reply

  5. Totally cool. I need to start giving away seeds more. I tend to stuff them in boxes and bags in various corners, then find ’em, feel guilty about keeping the plants from reproducing, then randomly scatter old packets across the food forest.

    Comment by Survival Gardener/David The Good | March 31, 2014 | Reply

    • I’m actually semi-organized with my seeds. I usually cure them out, clean them and put them away in jars with a silicone dehumidifying packet or a chunk of fresh charcoal to absorb moisture. Of course there are many other projects I’m not so together about, so I fully understand ;) As you know, if you save seed, you generally have WAY more than enough for personal use, so trading, selling or just giving them away makes sense. I often give away larger quantities to people who visit. The seed pockets are more like sample sizes so people can try out the varieties. There is a seed bank starting at our library, so that may cause me to change what I do with my seeds.

      Comment by Stevene | March 31, 2014 | Reply

  6. I love the seed packets but the munch off? Genius! That has totally brightened up my morning, particularly ‘f**k, he won’ Lol

    Comment by Shadiya | April 1, 2014 | Reply

  7. There is a traditional origami seed packet fold that I feel comfortable carrying the most tiny materials (sand, for example) and does not require a particular shape of paper. http://hayefield.com/2008/08/07/origami-for-seed-savers/ is one of many versions of the instructions.

    Comment by Amanda Perl | April 7, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks Amanda. Those like neat. I’ll try folding some.

      Comment by Stevene | April 7, 2014 | Reply

      • You’re welcome! I like the distinctive shape of yours and they look pretty secure, too.

        Comment by Amanda Perl | April 8, 2014

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