Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.


Flower Pounding

Create a beautiful bookmark by imprinting colors from flower petals or leaves, using just hammers and tape. Ages 5+ ~30 min

What could be more fun than creating colorful flower images by pounding with a hammer? Using tape to temporarily hold flowers onto heavy paper (like water color paper or reuse a manilla folder), you’ll force the pigments out of the flowers and onto the paper, and then remove the tape and flowers to see the result. An old beige file folder can be cut into bookmark shapes and is the perfect type of paper for this activity. Cut more bookmarks than you need, so that each person can make multiple bookmarks, because part of the fun of this activity is the trial and error of finding flowers that work well, and pounding techniques that result in the best images.

Tear a piece of masking tape or painters tape about the length of a bookmark for each child, and first ask them to make the tape less sticky by sticking it to their clothing and pulling it off a couple times (so that it doesn’t stick too strongly to the paper while you pound). This destickifying process is part of the fun! Then, each child can place colorful flower petals or small flowers on their tape, and then stick the tape onto their bookmark. Place the bookmark, tape side up, on a magazine or phone book and show the kids how to gently pound all over the flowers with the hammer (two hands on the hammer at all times keeps fingers safe; keep a close eye on this process of course). Another option is to use the backside of big spoon to vigorously press and rub the tape. When you think you have pressed enough, remove the tape to reveal your art! You can use the first bookmark as a learning tool: Did we pound too much? Too little? Which flowers worked best? Challenge the kids to make each bookmark unique and to create masterpieces for anyone they know who might enjoy a bookmark in the mail!

 Download this lesson and some others from The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Activities to Get Outside, Dirty and Having Fun!

View more activities in our easy garden activity video playlist.

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Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
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