Botanical Hammer Printing – A Fun Activity for Older Kids

If you’re looking for something a little bit different to try over the holidays or the kids simply fancy a change from the usual drawing and colouring then this is a great activity. Botanical hammer printing is a fun way to capture the colours of a season, it’s super easy, oh and did I mention noisy! It scores 10/10 with my kids though I doubt our neighbours rate it quite as highly.

You will need:

A hammer and sturdy chopping board. We used a standard household hammer but you can buy smaller children’s hammers if you are concerned about the weight.

Watercolour paper and cotton fabric. We used cut up scraps of an old white shirt and a pillowcase but if you don’t fancy sacrificing a piece of clothing you can use a few sheets of kitchen towel.

An assortment of leaves and petals from the garden, the more colourful the better. Try to avoid plants that have dried out or have a hard shiny coating. In order for the printing to work you need to break down the outer membrane so soft fleshy specimens work best.

To begin, arrange the petals and leaves onto a piece of watercolour paper. If you want to turn the finished print into a greetings card simply fold the paper in half first and then lay the leaves on the front.

Now for the noisy bit, gently lay a piece of fabric (slightly bigger than the paper) over the top of the leaves. Slowly but firmly, hammer the surface until the specimens begin to release their stain. Try to keep the paper underneath steady but be sure to keep little fingers well clear of the hammer. I’d advise some adult supervision for all ages but certainly for younger children, an extra helping hand to safely guide the hammer.

The aim is to create a clear print of the plants, not to completely obliterate them. We clearly had way too much fun on our first attempt because all we ended up with was a sludgy brown mess. Once you get the hang of it though you can create some really beautiful results. To finish, peel off any remains of the plants from the paper and fabric using a pair of tweezers.

We made lots of lovely cards from our hammer printing artworks and even turned one of the fabric pieces into a cushion cover. I’m sure there are many more things you could make, we’d love to hear how you get on.

For more fun craft ideas with leaves take a look at Esther’s cute leaf splash art and Lara’s solar prints.

Kate x


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