After an outdoor adventure this summer, you might find yourself with a large pocket of rocks and plant materials that now need a home! Use your precious finds and make some summer crafts to have as keepsakes!

Gelatin Sun Catchers

Skip buying plastic gel clings or contact paper and make your own sun catchers with gelatin and flowers!

Supplies

  • 1 envelope Knox (unflavored) Gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Collected nature treasures – flower petals, leaves, etc.
  • 2-4 Small shallow flat containers to dry suncatchers in, think 4×6 index card size – large jar lids, mini bread pans, etc.

Directions

  • Take 2 cups boiling water and 1 packet of plain gelatin and mix completely to dissolve. -Pour a thin layer of gelatin mixture, about 0.25 inches into each container.
  • Arrange your flowers and leaves on top of the gelatin
  • Gently pour the remaining gelatin over the flowers, everything must be covered in order to be preserved.
  • Allow to dry for 24+ hours depending on humidity. When the suncatcher begins to shrink and pull away from the sides it is ready.
  • Use a hole punch or pencil to make a small hole near the top to hang with ribbon or twine!

 

Flower Pounding Art (Hapa Zome)

Put your new rocks to good use pounding flowers and leaves on to paper or fabric and create a lovely piece of art inspired by Japanese Hapa Zome techniques!

Supplies

  • Colorful plant materials
  • rocks (or hammers – try crab mallets!)
  • white paper (watercolor or cardstock works best) or fabric (natural fibers work best!)
  • paper towels
  • hard surface to work on (cutting board, scrap wood, etc.)

Directions

  • Place your canvas (paper or fabric) on a hard surface and arrange flower petals and leaves. If a flower is thick with a heavy center remove petals and arrange in a flower shape to get better color transfer.
  • If you really want a specific arrangement use a small piece of tape to hold flowers and leaves in place’
  • Cover flowers with a paper towel or second piece of paper
  • Use rocks or hammers to pound the plants transferring color to the canvas. You can check periodically how the transfer is going by pulling back the paper towel, some flowers will transfer better than others so experiment!
  • Once done pounding, remove paper towel and plant materials and allow to dry.

If you would like to pound flowers on fabric and have the dye set permanently you need to prepare the fabric to accept the dye. This works great for table runners or tea towels!

  • Start with a cotton, linen, wool or silk fabric, natural fibers work best!
  • First wash in cold water without detergents or fabric softeners to remove any residues that might prevent the dye from absorbing.
  • Then soak the fabric in an Alum bath. Alum is a mordant that is used to help dye absorb into fabric. To make an alum bath mix alum powder with water at a ratio of 16 parts water to 1 part alum. Let the fabric soak for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
  • Air dry or dry without any fabric softener or dryer sheets.
  • You are now ready to arrange your flowers and pound them to transfer color!
  • Steam iron the fabric after it dries to set the dyes.