Want to turn your latest frustration into beautiful art? Flower pounding might be the art medium you’ve been waiting for. Seriously, all you need is a hammer, fresh flowers, paper or fabric and a little suppressed rage. The process couldn’t be easier.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Hammer or mallet
- Pretreated Fabric (instructions below)
- Watercolor Paper
- Smooth surface (Like a cutting board)
- Wax Paper (optional)
CHOOSING THE BEST FLOWERS
To begin, choose fresh flowers and leaves with vibrant colors and interesting shapes.We found that flowers with flat petals worked best. Here are some of the varieties we chose:
- Balloon Flowers
Leaves with interesting textures and shapes can also be used to create unique designs, such as ferns, ivy, and most of the leaves from the flowers above.
Treating fabric before flower pounding can help the natural pigments of the flowers to adhere better to the fabric and create a more vibrant and long-lasting print. Here are some steps to treat fabric for flower pounding:
- Wash the fabric: Wash the fabric in cold water without any fabric softeners or detergents. This will help remove any sizing or dirt that may interfere with the flower pounding process.
- Soak the fabric: Soak the fabric in a mixture of water and alum powder for about 15-20 minutes. Alum is a natural mordant that helps to bind the pigments to the fabric. The ratio of water to alum powder should be 16:1.
- Rinse the fabric: After soaking, rinse the fabric thoroughly with cold water to remove any excess alum.
- Dry the fabric: Hang the fabric to air dry or tumble dry on low heat. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets, as they can interfere with the flower pounding process.
Once the fabric is treated, it is ready for flower pounding.
Find a nice flat surface. Cutting boards work well for this. Cut each flower at the base, close enough to remove the whole stem while still keeping the flower intact. When you have an assortment of cut flowers in different sizes and shapes, arrange them face down on a piece of watercolor paper or fabric.
Cover the flowers with wax paper or more fabric. Working from the edges of the flowers inward, tap the flowers with your hammer or mallet. The natural pigment will be released and transferred on to your paper or fabric.
Once the petals have transferred enough pigment, remove the wax paper or fabric. Carefully peel off the actual flowers and let the surface dry.
Thank you! Let us know if you decide to try it! We’re here if you have questions. 🌸
I love love love these !!! They are beautiful
Thanks Peggy! Let us know if we can help you make your own!
Just saw your segment on News 4 at Noon!
Loved your flowers! What a beautiful craft idea! Had to share right away and can’t wait to try this technique!
Checking out your website right away!
We can’t wait for you to try it Lisa! Let us know how it goes!
Saw this flower pounding project on Fox 2 today! Love it!
Should the fabric be white and 100% cotton only? Or will off white work and a cotton/linen blend?
When do you wash the project after the flowers are pounded? Will the flower print stay or wash out?
Thanks so much!
Hey Jennifer! Off white and white both work and we recommend 100% cotton because of the mordanting process.
Prepping the fabric makes all the difference on permanence. It’s called Mordanting and you can use that word to look up additional details online. You will want to look up specifically how to treat cotton if that is what you are using (and it is what we recommend!I) Here’s the process!
1) Pre-wash the fabric to remove any sizing put in by the manufacturer.
2) In a glass bowl, pour in hot water (120-140 degrees F)
3) Stir in Alum (can be found in grocery store spice aisle – also known as Aluminum Sulphate). Determining the amount of necessary Alum is a little tough without a kitchen scale as it is a ratio based on the weight of your fabric. If you are doing just a couple of dishtowels you should be fine with a tablespoon!
4) Allow to soak for a good 24 hours (up to 48)
5) Remove and lightly rinse in cold water
6) Dry and iron
And now you are ready to start hammering! The mordant process is what make the dyes colorfast and it will be permanent, but may fade slowly over time. Your flower pattern will become more muted and some colors will change when washed. We found that reds all turned purple when washed. Blues seemed to fade and become very pale, but were still present. We were left with plenty of yellows and greens with some other variations. Maybe keep that in mind when choosing flowers and go heavy on purple, yellow and green.
It’s made with nature so everything is an experiment! Please let us know how it goes and send pictures and feedback! Liz & Jen
One more question I forgot. Is a thinner tea towel thickness best or will a thicker flower sack heavier weight fabric work best?
Excited to create as Mother’s Day gifts!
We tried both thick, cotton napkins and thin flour sack towels, and both worked beautifully. So at this point, I’m ready to say you can use which ever one you prefer. Good luck and let us know if you need anything else!
This is awesome and I am going to try it for my sisters retreat gift to my sisters.
We would love to see pictures and hear how it goes for you! I’m sure they will love it.