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Pounding Flowers

Pounding, flower pounding, hammered printing, they all equal fun prints with plants. It’s always fun & exciting to see the results. I do this a lot with kids who are excellent pounders. It can be done with light colored fabric or any kind of paper. With the kids we make T-shirts. I’ve also made bookmarks and greeting cards.

First gather your supplies; a hammer, any size or shape, even a hand sized rounded rock will do. You also need a hard flat surface, I use a 1”x6” board on my picnic table. Have your preferred medium ready – paper or fabric.

Gather your plant material. The darker more saturated colors work best. Yellows tend to smudge into yellow brown. Some plants, like chicory leave no color at all. Experiment with what’s growing in your area. Personally, I hate cutting flowers, I like to see them in the garden. For this, the fun & beauty of the craft make it worthwhile.

I emptied my bag of materials onto paper. Love the look.

basket of plant material

The samples I’m showing highlight each individual plant so you can see the results. If I were working on a project I would put the materials all over and closer together. You can also do a design, like a heart of Johnny Jump Ups (also called heart’s ease) or a circle of red maple leaves for example.

Comparing paper to fabric, pretty similar

You’re going to hammer and make noise but no need for lots of force. You’re getting color from a plant not blood from a stone. Before you start pounding I put my material on the hard surface and then I cover it with the same material – you’ll get stain on both. Gently hammer making sure you do the whole plant. You’ll immediately start to see staining. I suspect the same plants that were good for eco-printing will work well here too.

I was most impressed with red maple leaves, johnny jump ups, deep pink phlox, Fuschia, bee balm petals and white pine needles. Dandelion, zinnia (surprised!), goldenrod, purple coneflower gave the yellow brown smudge. I’m always surprised that ferns don’t give better color or definition. Other leaves that were OK; rose, scented geranium & violet. Do your own experimenting in your area. Let me know if you find something good. FYI – the time of year may make a difference; for instance white pine needles may come out differently in summer and winter or an early bloom compared to late bloom.

White pine needles, good green, nice effect.

Finished paper – I will cut & fold it into greeting card

Johnny jump ups on fabric – love it. Best impression.

Japanese red maple on fabric & paper comparison. Great impression.

Top Row L to R: White Pine Needles, Johnny Jump Ups, Japanese Red Maple Leaf

Bottom Row L to R: Bee Balm, Goldenrod, Fern (never as good as I expect)

Finished paper that I will cut & fold into greeting cards

You can see by my basket of plant material that I have a lot of flowers (my landlord is the better gardener). I had a bag of plants that I emptied onto paper – it looked gorgeous! So side project. I put plants and flowers on paper and then covered it with clear contact paper. My plant material was pretty thick so I’m not sure how long the plants will last. Usually when I do this I make sure the plants are flat and sealed in the contact paper. I got greedy and it only lasted a week before decaying.

So one project always seem to lead to another.

FYI – berries, pokeweed, blueberries & strawberries, are always good for staining if you’re looking for more color.

Flowers thrown on paper then covered with clear contact paper. Side project resulting from the pounding. Gorgeous. Not sure how I’ll use it yet. It was too thick with too much air and didn’t last long, too bad.

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