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Grab Some Flowers and Pound Them to Make Art

pink flowers face down on paper

I’ve done this a few times over the years, with varying degrees of success based on the flowers and paper and objet de pounding. I think people call it flower pounding, which makes me laugh so hard.

It’s basically a type of mono-printmaking using flowers and, well, pounding the hell out of them until their pigment is transferred to the surface you are intending. (You can do this on paper or fabric.)

I used:

Pink wildflowers from our back yard

Charcoal paper (first print), Stonehenge paper (second print)

A rubber mallet

Watercolors (optional) – I used these, but I usually use Kuretake – any watercolor will do.

steps for flower pounding

How to Pound Flowers

Cut the heads off of your unsuspecting flowers

Place them face-down on paper on a beautiful stump or maybe just a table

Cover over them with paper

Pound them with a hammer or rubber mallet (don’t be timid! Get those flowers! Get ’em!)

Remove the little pulverized flower bits and admire

flower pounding flowers

This is flower pounding at its most basic. I have not tried flower pounding on fabric, but now I want to!

Guess what I did next. Go ahead, I dare you.

flower pounding and painting

You can’t believe your eyes, can you? I watercolor painted those mothers. If it weren’t for that horrific smear at the bottom, this would be really pretty. Note to self: Scrape the pounded flower remains off more carefully next time.

Here’s another one I did, because I liked the first one so much.

Watercolored and pounded flowers

Here are some ideas for pounded flowers

Arrange them all over the page and pound them into a sort of pattern, then you can frame your finished piece.

Cut the individual flowers out and use in collage or in an art journal.

Scan your flowers in and use them in digital art, or to print back out and make image transfers on wood.

Draw on the paper with pencil or art pens to make mixed media pieces.

Cut them up and make a little flower art book.

Now, someone tell me why my pink flowers turned out purple/blue when they were pounded. Isn’t that cool!

If you’re curious about how to pound flowers on fabric, it’s a little more complicated if you want the pigment to be permanent on the fabric. You’ll need to prepare the fabric before the pounding and then set it with an iron afterward.

Tips for Flower Pounding

  • If your flower’s center sticks out a lot, you can cut it back a little to make the whole flower sit flat on the paper. Same goes with the stem on the back.
  • Tape your flowers down to your pounding surface with masking tape if you’re worried about them moving. Sometimes they slip a little during pounding.
  • Wear earplugs if you don’t want to hear them scream. Sorry. No I’m not.
  • Pansies make especially good prints as they are so pigmented. Plus, mmmm purple.
  • Try taking the petals off and arranging them in designs on your surface instead of leaving them attached to your flower. You can get some great designs and patterns this way.
pounded flowers on paper with watercolor over them
Flower art
flower pounding flowers on paper and painted

What do you think?

Comments

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  1. I can NOT answer WHY the flowers that you pounded turned out different colors than their original colors! MINE did the SAME thing! Another tip – don’t pound as hard as I did. I tore some of my paper! Ha!

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