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!
Pounded Flower Tote Mother’s Day Gift
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.