Get creative – Dye your own fabric

What is not to love about trying out creative fabric printing with nature? Our latest project involves gathering flower petals for printing on fabric. We only picked a few flowers, preferring to use ones that had fallen but still looked fresh. Have a read through to work out how you can try creative fabric printing!

How to Begin

To create this project you will need

  • natural fabric
  • a hammer
  • scissors
  • flower petals
  • leaves
  • a board
  • cardboard
  • ear defenders

I would strongly recommend using ear defenders as the hammering can be very loud. Remember damage you cause to your ears now will affect you in later life. Cardboard can dampen the sound a little.

We also suggest using cardboard to project any surfaces. In fact, we decided to hammer our fabric on the board on the lawn, projecting both the lawn and the board with cardboard. When you hammer make sure you hit the fabric with the flat edge of the hammer head. Take note, even slightly on the side can cause the fabric to get small tears.

Choose Your Blooms

Most of the flowers we chose to use had just fallen, because we love keeping our flowers in the garden for as long as possible. These petals still have their beautiful colour. Others like dandelions we confess to picking. Select flowers that are brighter in colour – purples and yellow seemed to work the best. For our final piece we also use the fallen petals of tulips. Although we love the reds, they are not as vibrant as we thought they would be.

Don’t Leave Them Out

Leaves were amazing for print – not just the colours but the shapes too. We loved the spiky Nigella leaves for their shape and the bright green that came through. Our parsley leaves also produced good shape and colour.

Keep the Fabric Natural

Natural fabrics seem to work best. We used a light weight cotton that we are planning to turn into home made shopping bags. The fabric really absorbed the colours.

Off You Go

One – Cut out two pieces of your fabric to the size and shape you require. Alternatively you can fold the one piece of fabric over the other.

Two – Place the fabric on a board on a firm surface with cardboard to protect beneath.

Three – Place your flowers and leaves onto a board to see what you have.

Four – Carefully select and place your flowers and leaves into the pattern you want on top of the bottom surface of the fabric.

Five – Cover the flowers with the second piece of fabric or fold over.

Six – Take the hammer and carefully, quite gently, tap the flower petals and leaves until you see the colours coming through the fabric.

Seven – Once you have finished open up the fabric and carefully peel off the petals and leaves.

Eight – Sit back and admire your masterpiece.

If you liked our fabric printing project, for more ideas on getting creative check out:

essentially local.co.uk/articles