DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Print Flowers with Flowers

comments (19) June 27th, 2014     

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Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
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A beautiful flower made from a beautiful flower! (Mother Nature does the work and you get the credit.) 
This image gives new meaning to the term botanical print and is a perfect way to send someone flowers through the post.
What better way to thank someone for sending you flowers than to thank them with a note made from the very substance of their gift?
A beautiful flower made from a beautiful flower! (Mother Nature does the work and you get the credit.) 

A beautiful flower made from a beautiful flower! (Mother Nature does the work and you get the credit.) 

Photo: Jeff Rudell
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While attending the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show in Anaheim, I happened to walk past a rather nondescript booth set up by a Japanese firm named Oshibana Art Co., Ltd. There, a very deferential man handed me a pink plastic bag, which he accompanied with a deferential and very polite bow. Trade shows abound with this sort of behavior, with each vendor keen to get their name, catalog, business card, or take-away into the hands of the passing attendees. I added this item to the myriad other shopping bags I was already lugging around and passed on my way.

A short while later, I again found myself passing that same booth (clearly I was walking in circles without realizing it) and, since there happened to be a few comfortable-looking chairs there, I inquired, "What is it, exactly, that you do?"-pausing only a moment before helping myself to a seat and taking advantage of the opportunity to rest my weary feet.

I am glad that I did.

According to the literature they provided, the company is a leader in "flower craft." Whether or not this is, in fact, the case, I cannot say because their website is only available in Japanese. What I do know, however, is that the technique I was shown at the CHA event was marvelously simple and yielded charming results. I share it with you here despite the fact that I have no sure way to put you in contact with the company that makes the materials I am demonstrating (though, I suspect, substitute materials might work just as well).

The concept is simple. Use vividly colored flower petals to print vividly colored flower petals. The procedure for doing so is nearly as easy:

  • A sheet of plastic (or craft mat) to protect your work surface.
  • A sheet of paper upon which you wish to print your image.
  • A sheet of fine polyester mesh.
  • Flower petals arranged in a pleasing shape.
  • A sheet of clear plastic to cover the petals and hold them in place.
  • A craft stick, ballpoint pen, or bone creaser to burnish the petals and release their pigments.

The process worked flawlessly and took only a few minutes to complete. The results were surprisingly beautiful-soft-edged yet richly colored-and the materials (the polyester and the plastic sheets) are easily washed and reused.

For people who liked my Impressing Prints but would rather avoid harsh chemicals (or for those crafting with children), this seems like a wonderful alternative.

Please feel free to post any suggestions on what material might substitute for the polyester fabric that came in the kit I was given. As well, if any of my readers happen to read Japanese, please let us know if there is any additional information available on the nature-print.com site. (Thanks.)

  Two eyes and a tiny nose transform this otherwise nondescript plastic bag into a sweet Pokemon-type silhouette.

 

  The contents of the bag looked more like a bunch of business forms than a craft kit. Contents: five preprinted backgrounds, opaque and clear plastic sheets, two sheets of polyester fabric, a wooden stick, and a label that read: Nature Print.

 

  I supplied flower petals from a miniature rosebush, though most any blossom will probably suffice.

 

  The opaque plastic goes on the bottom to protect your work surface, then the sheet of paper on which you plan to print your image. Add the sheet of polyester fabric and arrange flower petals atop it. Cover the petals with clear plastic.

 

  The petals I used had a lovely yellow color at the tips. Place the petals face-down on the fabric to help keep them from moving.

 

  Gently cover the petals with the sheet of clear plastic, being careful to check the position of the petals before proceeding.

 

  With the clear plastic in place, burnish the flower petals using a small strip of wood or bone creaser. The moisture of the petals will be extruded into the fabric and onto the sheet of paper below it.

 

  Carefully lift both the clear plastic and the fabric to reveal your print. Notice how vivid the color is. The company claims this intensity should last for years.

 

  For my design, I created three images-being careful to allow each to dry completely before attempting the next.

 

  The addition of some stems, leaves, and a short message completed my card. Total time, 15 minutes.

 

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Comments (19)

UdyRegan writes: I don't quite get it. Are there any special chemicals involved? It looks like something I could do if I grabbed some art supplies out from storage. Let me know if there's anything particularly special about the kit. It could really be an art project I foresee some of my neices or sisters doing so I'd love to introduce it to them.
Posted: 10:06 pm on July 16th
judygreeneyes writes: You can right-click on the Japanese webpage and select "translate to English". The entire page will be translated for you. If you follow a link to a different page you will have to re-translate.
Posted: 6:55 pm on June 28th
Corrales writes: Forgot to say you need to heat set after completion.
Posted: 11:46 am on June 28th
Corrales writes: Have done this as well with a hammer on cotton fabric. Used plastic sheet over fabric and pounded away. So I could see as I went along. Fun to do even for kids.Made some beautiful pillow cases. Love the technique.
Posted: 11:45 am on June 28th
fiberann writes: Sorry, the link I posted previously for Judi Carlson doesn't seem to be right. Try this one: http://www.artinbayfrontpark.com/ArtClassesDuluth.htm

Judi's business is called "Nature and Judi Carlson" ("Flower Pounded Originals and Forest Art")
Posted: 3:39 pm on June 27th
fiberann writes: You need to mordant your fabric for the colors to hold. Artist Judi Carlson, who is from Minnesota, has been doing this for a very long time. She teaches classes, has kits, and also sells her creations. She's very knowledgeable about the whole process and her art looks like beautiful watercolors. She does many of her flowers petal by petal. She will be at the Duluth art show this August where she will teach a class. Anyone interested could probably contact her through the show. http://www.artinbayfrontpark.com/canvas.htmhttp://www.artinbayfrontpark.com/canvas.htm.
Posted: 3:32 pm on June 27th
dlipsky writes: Beautiful, I really have to try this!

Posted: 11:08 pm on July 16th
Criativa writes: hi. This is beautiful.
Posted: 4:46 am on July 15th
mamagatorstock writes: This is beautiful! Can't wait to try it. I'd like to share this idea on Pinterest, but am not having any luck creating a pin. Any thoughts as to why? Thanks!
Posted: 1:57 pm on July 14th
random_charm writes: I would think any fine sheer fabric would work. Nylon or polyester or silk. I assume the purpose is to keep bits of plant material from adhering to the paper underneath while allowing the color to seep through evenly? I have done a similar technique using a regular hammer. I've just used a paper towel on top, nothing in between the plant material and the paper; I've not had any problem removing petals from the paper. It would be nice to be able to see what I'm doing better, although once you start pounding away you can see the image through the paper towel as that gets stained as well.
Posted: 8:28 pm on July 13th
clemsonorange writes: I have done this before but on linen. This is an easier way than I learned. I learned to use a small hammer.
Posted: 4:51 pm on July 13th
HelenV writes: Love it !!! This is so beautiful . Will try it myself...

HelenV.
Posted: 5:30 pm on April 22nd
FaveCrafts writes: Wow. Love this idea. And it came out so beautifully. I would love to learn more about the company.
Posted: 3:37 pm on February 10th
horsewoman writes: For Japanese translation, you can copy and paste the information from the website, onto babelfish.com and it will translate it for you.

For example, the sentence on the nature-print website just below the word Botanic Art translates from this:

花と植物で楽しむボタニックアート、ネイチャープリントのサイトへようこそ

to this:

Welcome to the sight of [botanitsukuato] and the nature print which are enjoyed with the flower and the plant
Posted: 4:02 pm on February 9th
wildenfunky writes: Jeffery, my apologies for spelling your name incorrectly!! Adrien
Posted: 9:15 am on February 9th
RocketCity writes: This technique is something that I learned about a while ago and it was called "Cherokee leaf printing". It doesn't require a kit to do it. Just a hammer, masking tape, and some cotton/muslin. I wrote about it on my blog: http://awaytome.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/cherokee-leaf-printing/

If you put a piece of scrapbooking paper underneath the muslin when you are hammering the flowers/leaves, you will get a pattern on the fabric and the paper. It looks really beautiful quilted and would be a good way to preserve the memory of the Valentine's Day flowers that you receive.
Posted: 8:21 am on February 9th
wildenfunky writes: Jerrery! I have a book called Nature Printing by the Ogden Nature Centre and they show this technique. They used pansies. In their materials list they mention a "tote bag, T-shirt, or other fabric item such as a visor, hat or shorts". You can also use the flower more than once if it stays in tact. My book also suggests a mix of 1/2 cup of salt to two gallons of water and the item to be soaked for about 10 minuts. And then dry it in the 'outdoors' or in a dryer. You can also do this on heavy cardstock for gift cards. Would you like any other info of the book? If you have any other questions, you can contact them at chapelle@chapelleltd.com their website is chapelleltd.com and the phone is 801 621 2777. Good luck! Cheers, Adrien PS it's a terrific book!!
Posted: 3:56 am on February 9th
ErinR writes: This falls into the "Why didn't I think of that?" category. That is just too cool.
Posted: 2:05 am on February 9th
Jen_W writes: Gorg. Thanks for posting this. I've been too lazy to experiment with the bag o' goodies from the Japanese vendor.
Posted: 1:31 am on February 9th
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