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Mother’s Day Gift: Pounded Flower Tote Bag

Did you know that you can dye fabric by pounding flowers? This unique flower tote bag makes a perfect Mother’s Day gift – and the kids will love creating it!

Decorate a bag with flower pounding

I saw a tutorial for flower hammering/pounding a while back, and I knew that I just had to try it with my kids. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I thought we’d make some prints on a tote bag for a fun Mother’s Day gift.

A tote bag is perfect since you don’t really have to wash it, and the natural flower dyes are less likely to fade away. These were so fun and easy for the kids to make, and they turned out really beautiful!

DIY Flower Tote Bag

Supplies needed:

  • cotton tote – Note that this is a thinner cotton tote, not canvas. I think canvas would be too rough, so I found this thinner one at Hobby Lobby
  • alum powder – I bought this online
  • rubber gloves
  • parchment paper
  • masking tape
  • flowers
  • board
  • hammer
DIY flower tote for Mother's Day

To help the natural dyes take to the fabric, you need to prepare the bag first. Wash the bag to get rid of any residue. Next, dissolve 1/4 cup of alum in 2 cups of hot water. Soak the bag in the mixture, wring it out, and let it air dry.

Do not wash or rinse the bag again before dyeing. Iron it to get out all of the wrinkles. When using the alum, make sure to wear your gloves and don’t use any utensils or containers that are going to come in contact with food later.

Blank canvas tote and bag of alum

Once your bag is ready, slip a piece of wax or parchment paper inside to keep the flower dye from leaking through.

Place a piece of wax paper between two layers of a tote

Gather your flowers and leaves. The smaller ones that we used are marigolds and petunias, but I’m not sure what the other ones are. The marigolds definitely worked the best. I love the bright orange!

If the flower is really full, with lots of layers of petals, you’ll want to pluck a bunch off first, so the prints come out nicer. I left the green stems on the the flowers, but told the kids not to hammer them.

You can try to take them off, but I didn’t want the flowers to fall apart. Lay your flowers out on the bag, and secure them with lots of masking tape.

Tape flowers down on a tote

Put the bag on top of your board and hammer away! Be careful with any extra “juicy” plants. The leaves we used splattered if you hit them too hard, and I even got squirted with one! The kids thought that was hilarious.

Also make sure you hit every part of the flowers. At first we had some flower prints that turned out just looking like a bunch of dots/hammer marks. It’s a good idea to try it out on some scrap fabric or paper first.

Child pounding flowers on a canvas tote with a hammer

Peel the flowers and tape off to reveal your print! So exciting!

DIY pounded flower tote

We added some more flowers and even a few random petals here and there.

Tote with flowers taped on top

When you are done, let everything dry, then put another piece of parchment paper on top of the bag and iron over your design with a hot, dry iron. This will help the colors set in and keep them from fading.

I don’t know how well the dyes will hold up in the wash, so I don’t recommend washing unless you really need to.

DIY Mother's Day tote bag

This flower tote bag was seriously such a great craft for the kids (and me). You have to try it out and make a Mother’s Day gift of your own! I want to plant more flowers just so we can make more pretty designs!

Tote made with flower pounding

For more crafts like this, check out the following ideas – these are some of my favorite for Mother’s Day:

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Leslie

Friday 10th of May 2019

I loved this idea and followed directions exactly. Very disappointed. Only the yellow flowers came through. We tried several different types of floeers but the pink ones all came out brown. I was doing this with my grandchildren for their mothers and they didn't like how it came out either. They ended up painting their bags

Amy

Friday 10th of May 2019

Thanks for the feedback Leslie! Sorry it didn't work out for you. It probably depends on the flowers. We had success, but sometimes projects just don't work out!

Carrie Woolley

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Do you think you could use the flowers more than once? Or does each bag need fresh flowers?

Amy

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Hi Carrie! It depends on how "juicy" the flowers are. You want lots of pigment from the flavanoids! I would be inclined to try on more than one bag if I had very fresh flowers.

Rhonda

Thursday 18th of April 2019

Is the alum powder the same alum that is in my spice cabinet? I can't find the bag you posted anywhere that I can get it delivered before Mother's Day. Wondering if I can just use what you buy in the grocery store? Thanks, Rhonda

Amy

Monday 22nd of April 2019

It is! However, I recommended the Amazon source because of how expensive it is :)

Margrethe M

Sunday 16th of September 2018

Hello! :-D

Wow, I really like this tutorial. It turned out great! I would really like to know how the colors turned out after a while. Did they loose the saturated look?

All the best, Margrethe ????

Joanna

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

Lovely idea. Thanks for posting this diy project. Can't wait to try to make one for my mom as a mother's day gift.