Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flower Pounding

In a recent post I shared some projects that involved flower pounding and I had several requests for a tutorial so I am going to show you how I go about flower pounding .The first thing you will need to do is treat your fabric , this was my first time doing that process but it seemed to have worked ,I had purchased the fabric I used in my Leafs me Happy blog hop.
You will need to prewash your 100% cotton fabric , (do not use tone on tone for this project) , wash using your regular laundry detergent and add 2 tablespoons of washing soda , shown here in the photo , I am sure there are other brands  it is just what I happen to have . Rinse your fabric a few times to remove the washing soda then soak your fabric in a bucket in a mixture of 2 cups hot water in which you have added 1/4cup of alum for 2 hours .

It was a little challenging to find the alum but some drug stores do carry it so ask around. Once the two hours is up dissolve 1 tsp. of washing soda in 1/2 cup of hot water then add to the bucket of water containing your fabric and let sit for 8 hours or overnight whichever is most convenient.The above amounts are for 1 yard of fabric , if doing more than the one yard increase your amounts accordingly.
Did you have a good sleep , great as now you need to take that fabric and wring it out but do not rinse it ,hang your fabric to allow to dry naturally ,then iron and you are ready to start pounding.
Now that you have your fabric already you will need to gather the other necessary supplies , no problem here as most people have access to flowers or leaves or both so go gather some pretty leaves .

Then you will need some pounding tools ....
First off is an old cutting board or some other piece of wood sturdy enough to pound on , some tape to hold down those leaves and a hammer , that is it !
Take your leaves and arrange them on your fabric in a pleasing manner then take your tape , scotch tape can be used , I have used this painters tape before without issue but you will see in the photos to follow that the tape did transfer on some leaves . Please note the way the leaves are laying on the fabric , the leaves are placed face up so the veins are on the underside and when you pound they will transfer more  easily. If using flowers place them face down ,in some cases it is best to remove the petals and lay them one at a time onto the fabric then tape down. 
I think because we are at the end of our growing season the amount of pigment in the leaves , especially the maple leaf is not as great so I needed to pound much harder but here you can see how they are taped down , you do need to tape well to prevent them from moving , now you can do one leaf at a time if you so desire , I like to make it quick;-)

Here I am pounding , you can see the pigment coming through , no problem with those oval shaped leaves , they are from two different shrubs in my yard but that maple and oak leaf was not cooperating which was not the case when I did them a couple of weeks ago .
Finally here is the end result , as you can see the leaves from the shrubs are lovely but the tape does show on one of those as well , the maple leaf is not that clear , the oak leaf did pound out better than I thought. So there you have it , I think for those on the other side of the world or in warmer climates than I am and have loads of lovely flowers and leaves to choose from you can really have some fun with this , go ahead and experiment .
For those who may have missed my leaf projects here is a photo of one that I did a few weeks back when our leaves were abundant and full of life .
Thanks so much for stopping by, hope you find this tutorial helpful , I am no expert on flower pounding but will try to answer any questions you may have . To answer Flo's question on whether I did any stitching on the above finished project the answer is yes, I free motion stitched around each leaf and the veins to better emphasize the leaf , this is not totally necessary it is just something I wanted to do and since I am talking about this , you can see that extra stitching can really enhance the overall look in this flower project as I did some FM as well as some hand embroidery , this is more necessary with flowers as there is usually gaps .The other thing you might want to try is using crayons, yes plain old crayons , nothing fancy and fill in those flowers and add highlights in areas you think may need it , go ahead I know you probably love to color , I know I do.

hugs Sheila


  1. thanks for all the instructions! I have a quick question, though. At the end, do you press it or anything to set the colors?
    It looks like the leaves in the finished piece are that stitching or ink?
    thanks again!

  2. Wow - it looks so easy! Thanks for sharing this with us, it looks like it would be fun to try it.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful tut. I am going to give this a try. You have made it look easy and fun!

  4. What a great technique and worth a try. Thank you.

  5. Wonderful tutorial...and that hammer is so cute! Love your leaf block!

  6. These are so beautiful! I used to do leaf prints like this when I was teaching. We used muslin, and I didn't treat it, but I'm sure it would be better treated for a project like you have done here. Thanks for the tutorial! I'll give it a try in the spring when the spring flowers are blooming.

  7. Thanks for the tutorial Sheila. I'll have to see if i can track down some alum & give it a go. Hugs,

  8. Thank you for the tutorial! I'm bookmarking it for when the leaves and flowers return again in the spring.

  9. Oh wow...thanks for the tutorial!

  10. Great tutorial Sheila. Thanks. I will have to try this method.

  11. What a fun way to play with fabrics but I am not sure of we can get Alum in Aussie.

  12. Sheila, I would imagine that the treated fabric will not fade but hold the color. Thank you again for sharing your tutorial.

  13. Hi!!! Thank so much!!! The tutorial is very good and easy to follow!!!!