December is the month of wrapping paper, folding paper and generally trying to make paper fit round awkward objects that don’t want to be wrapped. There comes a point when you do not want to hear the word ‘origami’.

It’s lucky, then, that we shan’t really be talking about full-blown origami in this blog although we shall be talking about how it’s quite easy to make little envelopes. We'll also be talking about lining your compost caddy with paper to help with collecting kitchen ingredients.

Making little paper envelopes

In December it would be an unkindness not to pass on information about how to make little paper envelopes. You can make them very easily from all kinds of pretty paper, including pages torn from gardening magazines. They are ideal for seeds but also for other tiny presents.

This video for school children from the RHS is the best of the bunch, I think. It recognises that envelopes have to be sealed and so it uses a paperclip. Neat and effective.


How to make a seed packet with the paper of your choice. Thanks to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Paper and compost

If you have an outside compost bin or compost heap you probably have a inside compost bucket or caddy too. It makes sense to collect together the vegetable peelings, egg shells and tea leaves before making a sortie outside in the winter.

garden compost. paper

Garden waste decomposes in purpose-made or DIY containers to create compost that boosts your garden. © Robin Stott and reused under

Most kitchen ingredients for a compost heap contain a great deal of water which starts to be released as they start to decompose. Ingredients straight from the sink (potato peelings and the like) are even wetter. Bits have a nasty tendency to stick to the side of the compost caddy, decompose a little more, start to smell and, sooner or later, you’ll have to scrub it all out. It makes all the difference if you line your caddy with newspaper.

When the caddy’s full you just put the whole lot (newspaper lining and all) into the compost bin. Newspaper is good for making compost, remember. It’s a ‘brown’, carbon-rich ingredient which balances out all the ‘green’, nitrogen-rich ingredients provided by soft plant material.

Watch this video of a six-year-old in Ottawa folding a broadsheet newspaper to fit her compost caddy. She also wears it briefly as a hat. Look, if she can do it so can you!

And here’s a video showing how to fold a tabloid newspaper to fit your caddy.

If lining a compost caddy is beyond you at present, and there’s no-one to delegate this to, put a few folded sheets of newspaper in the bottom to collect any moisture.

Have a happy time folding, wrapping and lining with paper this December!