October 6, 2010


The cold weather is fast approaching here in New England and we decided to do our *creative hammering* before all the flowers and ferns are gone for the season. 

The children were delighted they had to bring a hammer to Earth School yet not really knowing exactly what they were going to do with it.

We collected ferns and flowers and arranged them on strips of 100% cotton which was washed, dried and ironed.
Even colorful autumn leaves work well! 

We learned from experience that it is better to take petals off the flowers and arrange them how we like. In the past, when we have done the entire flower it immediately turns brown, because as in painting, three or more colors mixed together turns brown. And most flowers have different colors in the center.

Once they are arranged to our liking, we tape over them completely, using masking tape or painters tape, to keep them in place.

Let the hammering begin!
We turned over sketch pads so the back cardboard faced upwards and laid the fabric on top of it. Under the sketchpad, a thick phone book was placed to help muffle the noise. (Eight to ten children banging with hammers at the same time at the kitchen table gets pretty loud!)

It was much better to hammer in the open air.

Some of the children liked to turn the fabric over and hammer the other side to watch the colors come through.

Once completed, we took the tape off and let it dry from any plant"juice". 
Next, we brushed off any plant residue left behind and ironed it on the wrong side to set in the colors.

In the meantime, someone found a good spot for a nap!

We made a casing at the top by ironing over 1/4 inch of the fabric

and then used Stitch Witchery ( a fusible bonding web) to hold permanently in place.

Some children sewed their casing with embroidery floss.
They put a stick through the casing and tied yarn to each end to hang and enJOY.

 The Gallery  ( so far)

This is a great nature craft for all ages. One can make curtains and tote bags and even writing paper!  See what the three-five year olds made here and here !

happy day!


Cheryl said...

I love that you used fabric and leaves. I tried this earlier in the year, with paper and flowers, with mixed results. I like the tip about separating out the different colours. You've inspired me to try it again. Thanks for sharing.

Lise said...

Hey-nice to see your "Nestlings" blog; hadn't seen that before. The kids tramping through water a few posts down had me smiling--that's exactly what we did today.

I'm glad you explained about the brown flowers--hadn't figured that one out on my own.

Debbie said...

I love this project Marcia...
It looks like the children enjoyed it as well! We have fun one planned with paint,leaves and left over wallpaper scraps coming up on DandelionHouseHomeschool blog next week!
I love the gallery!


Beth said...

I think I would like to do some hammering. How fun, and how pretty the results! love, Beth

Luisa said...

That is awesome. Very inspiring for all ages. I'm rereading this right now with 2 of my kids maybe once the rain stops we can do this.

Unknown said...

Wonderful craft. And I noticed the cat participating. Our cats do the same thing!
I'm pleased to feature this in the Hands-on Carnival.

Phyllis said...

Wow, they are beautiful. I have never seen anything like this before. Thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

Remarkable - I must try this; thanks for explaining how it is done.

Valarie said...

What a fantastic idea. They look so beautiful and it looks like a great time was had by all. Thanks for sharing the gallery so we could see all the talented artists you have as friends. Be Well.

Unknown said...

Isn't that a fun thing to do - amazing what wonderful creations you can make. I haven't done that in years but may have to take a few fall leaves and try it out again.

oldgreymare said...

Brilliant and Beautiful!
Just because I haven't been commenting much lately does not mean I have not been reading! I just think those kids are so very fortunate to have you in their lives.



Nadene said...

What a wonderful activity - and a great "stress-reliever" (all that hammering!)
Great hangings! Do the colours fade? Is there any need to 'fix' the imprints?

Unknown said...

How beautiful these came out. Thank you for sharing - this will make a lovely Christmas gift!

Lynne said...

What a great idea. I haven't seen that before.

Martianne said...

Thank you for posting this. I happened to see it before a recent trip to western PA and remembered it when paper airplanes, mama may I, crayons and paper and lots more were no longer doing it for the kids during a visit with Nana at the nursing home. So, I had the kids find some fall leaves and big rocks, slid them between two pieces or paper and bang-bang-bang went my happy kids. the results were not as pretty as those in your post, but the process sure was fun and the kids were amazed to see the color transfer. Thx@