Wild Wonders: Hapa Zome Eco-Printing

Hapa Zome is a Japanese word meaning ‘leaf dye’ and is given to the process of transferring the natural pigments from leaves and flowers onto fabric or paper to create a beautiful botanical image.

Materials:

  • Square of white or light colored cotton fabric 
  • Hammer or a fist sized rock that you can hold comfortably.
  • Collection of flowers and leaves (use a bouquet from the grocery store in the winter!)
  • Sheet of paper towel or an old piece of material you don’t mind dying
  • Kitchen cutting board, sturdy table, or board that is ok to hammer on.
  • Masking tape (optional)

Start creating!

  • Start by heading out into your garden, local field, or backyard to collect a variety of flowers and leaves, bright colors are best. If you are doing this activity in the colder months, head to the local grocery store and pick up a bouquet of brightly colored flowers.
  • Place the piece of cotton fabric on your board.
  • On top of the fabric place your flowers in the design of your choice.
  • Next you can either tape the flowers down with masking tape (so that they don’t move) or simply cover with a sheet of paper towel.
  • Once covered grab your hammer!
  • Hammer away on your flowers, making sure to hammer any stems and all around the edges of each flower and leaf.
  • Peal up the paper towel, and remove any masking tape you used.
  • Discard the squished flowers and hold up your cloth to see what you created!

Now that you know how to Hapa Zome:

  • Write the names of each flower or its parts on your cloth.
  • Turn your cloth into a flag for your room or outdoor space!
  • Create a bookmark for your teacher, friend or family member (use thick white paper instead of cloth).