Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Flower printing

I'm not sure what this printing technique is called, but Alys Fowler showed it on her Edible Garden programme on BBC2 last Wednesday and I was itching to have a go. You need soft, pliable leaves and flowers, natural material (I used cotton calico) and a hammer. Lay the plant material out in a pattern on the cloth, fold it over so the plants are sandwiched in the middle, then tap the leaves and petals with a hammer until the pattern appears. Then you leave it to dry and finally iron it to set the dye. I'm not sure how colourfast this would be, but it gives an almost watercolour-like result.

This is a pattern using tulip petals surrounded by rose leaves, sycamore leaves, variegated dogwood, a hellebore (top left) and a forget-me-not. You never know what the result is going to be, and the mirror image (ie the backs of the leaves and petals on the top half of the sandwich of fabric) is just as pretty. The colours don't always come out true either - the forget-me-not came out brown not blue. But I like the result. 

This is a little viola.

Variegated dogwood.

Sycamore leaf and aubretia.

Sage, which gave the strongest colour of all.


  1. Ooooh, I like that a lot - especially the viola. I missed the Edible Garden last week. Now I'm wondering what I can make with hammered viola patterned fabric. Lovely. And just caught up on the last few blogs - all equally lovely, that bread especially. I have the River Cottage bread handbook but mine doesn't turn out like that!

  2. My American friends call this "Flower pounding". We exchanged a range of fabric postcards made with this technique. Some added embroider and even beads, they had a rather Victorian feel. You sample is lovely.

  3. That's lovely PM...I'm inspired.

    They'd look lovely on a wall wouldn't they...or maybe a book cover?

  4. Oh you cruel woman beating poor violas with a hammer!! How could you? I agree it all looks very pretty and water colour like but even so!! I am sure there must be a charity somewhere who defend defenseless flowers and will be calling them directly to report you!!

  5. What a different idea - and lovely results. Especially the viola. Like the idea of embellishing with beads or embroidery too. I wonder how colour-fast they are over time?

  6. OOOOOO LOVE that PM. Will have to remember it. Kaths idea to make them in to cards is a lovely one too. Thank you so much for posting this as I didn't see the programme.

  7. Fabulous fabulous! I saw this and wanted to do it immediately. I'm living vicariously through this. I love the sage.

    My word verif is 'bummi'. Thought that might make you smile

  8. Beautiful. Who cares about whether it's colourfast. You don't wash art!

    I am inspired. Little calico bags filled with lavender for stocking fillers. Whatcha think?

    Mad x

  9. In answer to the question about light fastness, I have a fabric postcard featuring flower pounding, on my display board in my workshop. It has been there for 2 years and doesnt seem to have faded much at all.
    I have also bought those greeting card blanks from Hobbycraft, with the windows and put a sample behind the apperture, for a lovely greeting card. You can send someone the flowers in season during their birthday month, or leaves for an Autumn birthday.


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.