Make: Hammered Flower Prints – Nature Process Art for Kids

I’m currently slightly obsessed with finding interesting ways to experiment with natural pigments and the creation of art from nature.  Today was a picture-perfect spring day, so I wandered around the yard gathering colorful leaves, flower stems, and loose petals (the neighbors are starting to wonder) to try a bit of natural plant and flower art-making. 

I took my plant volunteers inside, made a beautiful little arrangement of them on paper, then proceeded to beat them absolutely chlorophyll-less with a hammer.  And let me tell you – it was GLORIOUSLY fun and also crazy interesting to see the results!

Our hammered flower and leaf nature process art project sitting on a white background next to leaves and dandelions

There are tons of details to notice (along with smells!) and because my foliage was so healthy and water-filled, there was cool color-mixing with many satisfying vibrant splats! If you’re looking for a fun and simple afternoon nature activity your kids will love, give this a go – your little ones are going to absolutely adore making hammered flower art!

A hammer, wax paper, dish towel, and fresh foliage to make our hammered nature process art sitting on a pink background

You can have fun simply hammering different types of plants to see what happens, or you can create some lovely, natural artwork by arranging plants in different compositions, repeating the process on the same piece of paper until you have several layers of colorful stamped foliage prints.

For more nature-inspired arts & crafts visit our collection of over 100 simple outdoor summer play ideas for kids.

To make your own hammered flower nature process art you’ll need:

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • Paper (cardstock or watercolor paper works the best)
  • A collection of flowers and leaves in a variety of colors
  • A towel
  • Wax paper or a paper towel
  • A hammer, rubber mallet or similar

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

  • Watercolors
  • Other mark-making tools
  • Salt
  • Glue (for collaging)

Safety Note: When choosing the foliage you’re going to use for your hammered flower art, be sure you’re familiar with the flowers or leaves you’re collecting and avoid using plants that can cause skin irritation and are toxic to children or pets.

Hammered Flower Prints – Nature Process Art DIY Instructions:

  1. Gather nature supplies

    Gather up a variety of leaves and flowers – a great excuse for a nature walk! The more colors you can find the better!
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!

  2. Arrange your collection of natural materials on a sheet of paper

    If you’re going to make a composition as we did, you can arrange your flowers and leaves on a piece of paper in a way you like. You can also experiment with leaves one by one or on small squares of paper.  Once you’re happy with your arrangement, gently flip the leaves over so they are face down.
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!

  3. Cover with wax paper

    Cover your arrangement, leaf, or flower with a piece of wax paper or a paper towel. Your foliage will be releasing vibrant pigments, so this will keep them from getting on the hammer and making hammer prints on the paper.
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!

  4. Hammer!

    Grab your hammer or rubber mallet and start pounding! It’s fun to experiment with light and hard hammering and different sizes of hammers if you have them. Our foliage was so healthy and water-filled that we found it was helpful to put a towel underneath the paper to keep it from sliding.
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!
    Toddler tip: Working with little ones? If you’re nervous about using a hammer, try a rubber mallet instead. It has a bit more bounce and softness, but will still do the trick when it comes to pounding!

  5. Gently pull the wax paper off the top of your paper

    Slowly pull back the wax paper. There were so many “oooohhhhs” and “ahhhhhhs” from our crowd! The variety of colors was actually better than we thought we would get – and some looked different than what we had expected. Some leaves left very detailed prints, while others only left an outline around the outside.
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!

  6. Optional: add watercolors and salt or collage

    Once you’ve finished, you can continue the experiment and art-making by painting your prints with watercolors and then sprinkling them with salt (this adds another layer of cool texture!). Or cut your prints into small pieces and collage them.
    This fun and easy printmaking project for kids uses hammered flowers and leaves to create naturally colorful process art!

This printmaking technique is one part science experiment and one-part process art. There are endless details to observe, creating a variety of open-ended learning opportunities that make this a fabulous kids nature art investigation. And my favorite part: no two flower hammerings will ever be alike.

Our hammered flower and leaf nature process art project sitting on a white background next to leaves and dandelions

Flowers that work well for pounded flower art

Half of the fun of this smash art project is experimenting with the foliage you have right in your own yard or neighborhood – we were so surprised by some of the colors that appeared after pounding! But if you prefer the guarantee of bold, bright colors, here are the flowers we tried that gave our hammered nature art the most colorful results.

  • Dandilions
  • Roses
  • Pansies
  • Violas
Our hammered flower and leaf nature process art project sitting on a white background next to leaves and dandelions

For more ambitious nature collectors, visit our tutorial on turning a shoebox into a DIY nature explorer’s kit. This little trunk made with upcycled supplies is brimming over with science-based opportunities for investigation and takes nature observation to the next level.

For another nature-inspired process art activity, try these melted crayon butterflies – or create a hoppy folk art-inspired bunny!

For more easy art projects little ones can help with, make our abstract melted crayon art, or make DIY sidewalk paint for an afternoon of (washable) art-making in the sun.

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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  1. I love how they turned out! I really enjoy the addition of watercolors- it adds a little something extra special! And the added bonus- the stress relief you get from pounding out all those leaves and flowers! LOL! These would be perfect framed and placed in my little’s room <3

    • Oooo thanks for the comment Kristin, because I hadn’t noticed I had reversed the directions! 😆 We actually did watercolor first, THEN a sprinkle of salt for a nice speckled texture. I’ll be sure to correct that!