Preserve a few memories of this summer’s garden or create gifts to share with family and friends. Pounding flowers onto fabric or paper is a fun and easy way to preserve the beauty of garden flowers.
Use watercolor or other rough surface paper when pounding on paper. Purchase ready to dye (RTD) or prepared for dying (PFD) fabric or prepare the fabric yourself. You’ll find supplies and directions at most craft stores.
Prepare a space for pounding flowers onto paper or fabric. A large cutting board or piece of wood will protect the furniture below. Or better yet move this project outside onto the sidewalk or other surface that can’t be damaged by the pounding.
Cover the surface with wax paper and secure with masking tape to prevent the flower color from soaking through onto the cutting board. Cut the fabric to size and secure it or the paper to the board with masking tape.
Gather a few of your favorite leaves and flowers. You will have great results from thin brightly colored petals and leaves. Consider starting with rose, daisy, geranium, petunia, and pansy petals although any flowers and leaves can work. Remove or reduce the size of the large center of coneflowers, black-eyed Susans and similar blooms so they lay flat on the fabric. Or remove the petals, discard the center, and arrange as desired.
Remove any stems, sepals, or other plant parts you do not want to transfer. Then place the desired parts face down on the paper or fabric.
Once your design is set, cover with several layers of paper towel or another sheet of watercolor paper. Taping leaves and petals in place on fabric helps reduce the risk of petals moving during the pounding process.
Gently tap the leaves and flowers in place using the flat side of a hammer. Next, evenly hammer from one side of the design to the other, making sure to hit every part of each plant.
Lift the paper covering and remove the crushed flowers and leaves from the paper along with the tape from the fabric. Allow your design to dry and carefully brush off any remaining plant pieces.
Set the design on fabric using an iron set on the hottest setting without steam. This sets the colors but will not make it washable. Preserve the bright colors of your works of art on paper with a UV protective acrylic spray. Be sure to read and follow label directions and apply in a well-ventilated area.
Pounding flowers is a fun project for all ages. It is a simple way to transfer a plant’s natural dye onto paper or fabric to create works of art, greeting cards and more. For more gardening projects visit MelindaMyers.com.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including the recently released “Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition” and “Small Space Gardening.” Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and her website is MelindaMyers.com.