Flower Print

Flower Pounding: Printing Fabric with Natural Elements

What better way to preserve the beauty of summer blooms than by pounding them with a rock onto fabric?

Flower Pounding

I know that’s the first thing I think of when looking at a gorgeous flower. “Hey, I think I’ll smash this with a rock.” OK, I may not have naturally come to this idea but when I had the chance to try it at a summer event, I was hooked. This project is a lot of fun to do with kids and it will help you bang out some old frustrations as well. 

flower pounding on fabric


  • A collection of flowers and leaves – experiment with what you find and collect
  • A rock or hammer
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Alum
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • A hard surface

Materials for flower pounding

Make it!

1. Prepare your fabric by dissolving 3 tablespoons of alum per litre (or quart) of hot water. Stir until dissolved and add fabric. Allow fabric to cool in the alum bath, then remove and dry in a dryer or by hanging.

2. Collect your flowers: head out to the garden and search for your dye. Small, multi-petaled flowers work best but gather a few large rose or poppy petals and give those a try as well (begonias also work great). Practice with all different kinds of natural elements until you find the look that you like.

Collecting garden flowers

3. Lay out a piece of parchment on the hard surface. Cut a piece of the treated fabric and set your petal design on one half of it. When you are happy with your design, fold the fabric over to sandwich the petals between the two halves of fabric. Cover with another piece of parchment and it’s time to start pounding.

How to Print with Flowers on Fabric

4. Hold the fabric firmly in place and start hitting the petals with the rock. You will quickly see the dying that is taking place. Continue until you have the amount of pigment transfer that you like.

Flower Pounding

5. Use different tools to get patterns to the dye. Try a hammer with a stippled head to make a polka dot pattern on the petals.

flower pounding

6. When you are happy with your finished creation, set the dye by ironing it on the highest setting for 5 minutes.

7. Use your new fabric art in sewing projects, quilting, or frame as a wall hanging. I think this would be a perfect project to dress up napkins and tea towels. It would make a wonderful gift in a set of two or four.

Flower Print

Thanks for visiting Weekend Project #44 – wow, almost a full year of projects. Check them all out and find even more DIYs that are right for you.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Kathi
    KathiJuly 27,12

    Lovely! What is the alum for–does it help preserve the colors?

  2. Stevie
    StevieJuly 27,12

    Kathi, yes, you need the alum for the pigment to stay permanently on the fabric. Thanks for visiting!

  3. zentMRS
    zentMRSJuly 30,12

    That’s just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tiffany Windsor
    Tiffany WindsorAugust 4,12

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I tried this technique a few weeks ago on my own and wasn’t really happy with the results. But after reading your tutorial, I can see where I went wrong! Can’t wait to try it again!

    • Stevie
      StevieAugust 9,12

      That’s great, Tiffany. So glad I could help.

  5. Rachel
    RachelAugust 10,12

    Wow. I LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to try it.

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  8. Monique
    MoniqueApril 9,16

    hi there, I am looking at making a wall hanging using this method. I have done some smaller projects and have hammered and thats it. No allum. I have not washed fabric, it has been used for wrapping gifts over and over. Unless you plan on washing fabric, is the allum step and ironing afterwards necessary?? Many thanks, Monique

    • Stephanie Rose
      Stephanie RoseApril 11,16

      Hi Monique, I can’t say what the results will be. I have only done the permanent method. I would think that if you are taking the time to make a wall hanging, it would be worth it to do the alum step. It could fade or change color overtime and that would be a shame. Ironing the design helps to set it and alum helps the pigments take to the fabric. Both help with the permanence.

  9. Nurul Asyiqin
    Nurul AsyiqinNovember 16,16

    Hi, I’m ekin. I am on research to make this method on cloth. But my results is not good. I boiled my fabric together with soda ash. then, after that I wash my fabric. I transferred flower’s colour on fabric using hammer, I had try using alum, vinegar, lime and salt to make the colour permanent on fabric (to use that cloth for making bag). its doesn’t work. Can I get the tips from you? Thank you.

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