Hi Creative Mamas! I have been wanting to share this flower pounding technique for a while. A few weeks ago I met a group of fellow natural dyers and we all had a fun day printing fabric by pounding flowers on it. This tutorial is the result of that amazing craft day!
Flower pounding is a fabulous activity to get kids started in natural dyeing. There is no need to prepare the fabric like in the traditional natural dyeing process and it can be completed within the hour. This flower pounding craft is also known as Hapazome.
What is Hapazome?
Hapazome means “leaf dye” in Japanese. It’s a form of eco printing with natural dyes which involves bashing or pounding flowers and leaves onto fabric.
This is the simplest most amazing method of transferring color onto cloth. This method doesn’t require the fabric to be prepared or mordanted. It also means that the dye will be more fugitive and less color fast. So, the color is prone to fade overtime. But this is the beauty of it.
Flower pounding is considered a seasonal practice within the natural dyeing family of techniques. You can create an amazing tablecloth, tea towel or scarf in summer using summer flowers and leaves. You can re print in winter using winter flowers and leaves.
Hapazome or flower pounding on fabric is a lovely way of building layers of color through the seasons and a beautiful metaphor for change and evolution.
What fabric works best for flower pounding?
Like with traditional natural dyeing, any protein fibers will tend to absorb dye more intensely than cellulose fibers. Therefore, silk will give you the brightest color results.
However, since this is a fun technique and one that can be built over the months I tend to use cotton or linen because it’s more affordable and not so precious. The recommended fabrics are:
Flower pounding Tutorial
Materials and Equipment:
- Fabric (as big or as small as you want )
- Leaves and flowers
- Plastic sheet (same size as fabric piece)
- Cardboard (bigger than your fabric piece)
Step 1: Preparing the natural dyes
Gather leaves and flowers ahead of time. This is an experimental technique so unlike my other posts on natural dyeing I won’t tell you what to use and what to avoid. As long as the plants are not poisonous go ahead and try it.
Flowers and leaves that I have used:
- Geranium flowers
- Eucalyptus leaves
- Dyers Chamomile flower
- Avocado leaves
- Roses petals and leaves
- Pohutukawa flowers (native tree from New Zealand)
Prepare the cardboard, fabric, plastic and hammer.
Place the plastic on your working surface. I recommend that you go outside to do the flower bashing because you will need to pound really hard and you don’t want to damage any tables or inside flooring 🙂 I prefer doing the flower pounding either on my patio tiles or on the grass area.
Place the fabric on top of the plastic.
Place your flowers and leaves on one half of the total fabric surface.
Place them randomly but make sure there is some white space in between the flowers and leaves.
Once you have covered the fabric with the plants, fold it in half and cover with the plastic as well. Place the fabric and plastic on top of the cardboard.
Step 3: Flower pounding
Watch this video which illustrates how the flower pounding process goes. I recorded this video during the workshop so you will hear a bit of bashing noise 🙂
Step 4: Removing the plant dyes
Once you have bashed those leaves and flowers enough, open the fabric and remove the plants.
Leave the fabric to air dry. Once its completely dry remove all excess petals that may still be stuck to the cloth.
This is the final piece after an afternoon of fun eco printing fabric using this fun flower ponding technique
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More Natural dyeing techniques in La Creative Mama:
- The Beginners Guide to Solar Dyeing
- Beginner’s Guide to Natural Dyes
- Natural Bundle Dyeing, make your own DIY scarf
- Fabric Printing With Natural Dyes