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Flower Pounding To Create "Faux Watercolor" Artwork

Pounding flowers art
The best thing about spring is all the new flowers and rich colors after a long dull, grey winter.  And so to capture those colors, I decided to take the girls around the neighborhood to collect some of the flowers and create this art project.

In the past we have pressed spring flowers between the pages of a book at preserved them that way, but the kids don’t actually find that very entertaining.  The process is pretty long and there is no immediate gratification, plus at the end of the day you end up with a dried dead flower.

So this year I decided we would try something new.  Flower Pounding.

I originally learned about this technique a quilting workshop with Amy Sandrin a LONG LONG time ago.  She would use a hammer to pound the flowers’ color into pre-prepped fabric and then quilt around it (for more info on her technique you can get her book Flower Pounding: Quilt Projects for All Ages.)

I didnt’ want to use fabric however, I wanted to use paper, so I tracked down some heavy watercolor paper for this project:
Flower pounding suppliesThe thick texture of the paper absorbs the color really well, and at the end I was able to run it through a printer to add a pretty quote onto it. Watercolor with flowers
The process itself is super straight forward.  First, find some some colorful plants. You don’t want them to be too woody.. they need to release their color when you hammer them.  In honor of St. Patrick’s day coming up we collected a lot of shamrocks:Making shamrock printsLay them flat and cover them with a paper towel:
Covering flower for pounding
Hammer them (not too hard but enough so that you can see the ‘juices’ releasing).  If you hit them too hard you will get a splattering effect.  I found lots of gentle “tap tap taps” all over them worked best.
Hammering flowers for printsLift the paper towel and remove the smooched flower:
Pressing shamrock leaves
This is what the clover looked like.  The juices tended to seep out the edges though the veining.  The stems were really ‘juicy’ and worked extra well. Pounded shamrockI found that often it was hard to life the flattened flowers off with my fingers and so a needle-nosed tweezers came in handy:Pounded shamrock print
Here are a few other examples. Shamrock leaf printsThis is a GREAT project for kids because it is so straight forward and each flower behaves a little differently which makes the process engaging and non-repetitive. Flower pounding kids craftPlus every kids likes to use a hammer.   (Just make sure you keep an eye on their little fingers.  I always tell my 5 year old to hammer with two hands to avoid any accidents):Children flower craft
Here is what my final version looked like after the pounding step.

Pounded flower prints
You can see how differently this blue flower pounded compared to the clover.  The color released directly onto the paper instead of squishing out the sides:
Pounded flowers on paper
Once the print was dry I ran it through my printer and added this quote (which was originally a tweet from Jim Carrey.)  I don’t typically think Jim Carrey (of Ace Ventura Fame) is a deep thinking guy, but I loved this quote:
Flowers blooming quote
"Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.  They just open up and turn towards the light and that makes them beautiful"

Pressed flower art
The girls worked hard on their creations as well:
Childrens flower prints
I was surprised how long this project kept their attention. They didn’t want to quit. Flower pounding with kids
Eventually we ran out of flowers so we had to stop: Kids pounded flower art**Remember if you are pounding any toxic or poisonous plants to make sure you WASH YOUR HANDS WELL after this project, since you will get residue on your hands!!  You may even want to wear gloves since some flowers will dye your hands! 
Pounded flower watercolor art
And if spring hasn’t comes to your neighborhood yet, fingers crossed it will be there soon!! 

How to do Flower Pounding

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