Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Hapa Zome, Japanese for 'Leaf Print' is the art of hammering flowers onto paper or fabric to transfer the colours to make patterns.
There is no knowledge of how long the people of the world have been taking part in this fun, satisfying process, but my guess is a very long time indeed. In need of a table cloth for my playroom, and with an old curtain to hand we set to work. If you want to have a try find somewhere you don't mind hammering, or support the surface, you don't want hammer marks in your nice dining table, believe me its so easy for yourself and any children to get a little carried away here!
How to Hapa Zome
First we gathered all the wild flowers we could from the garden, including some greenery. We picked the flowers in the morning when they had just opened and their petals contain most oils, hoping it would give us a more concentrated transfer of colour.
I cut the fabric to size and we arranged the flowers face down on the fabric, placing another piece gently over the top, then we set to work. We used a child size hammer, and gently pounded the flowers until we could see the cloth on top was saturated with the colour from the petals.
We then very carefully removed the top layer, and very carefully removed any flowers and petals, the results were fantastic!
I let it dry overnight and then ironed it in an attempt to fix the colour. It had a cool wash and another iron about a month later and its still looking great. If you want to attempt to fix colour further you could try a natural binder on your fabric.
What is a binder and how to apply it?
A binder is a treatment for fabric to aid in the dyeing process, it creates a layer to help colour bond to fibres, a but like the loops on velcro. A simple mordant is Soy Milk, mix a litre of soy milk into 5 litres of cold water. Wash your fabric in the washing machine and let it dry naturally, soak the fabric for 24 hours, spin off the milk in the washing machine and let dry naturally, place the fabric back into the milk and repeat this process around three times before waiting a few days and then trying hapa zome, to finish, fix with an iron, waiting as long as you can before washing.
This will definitely be a craft I will be re visiting time and time again! I hope you find some enjoyment yourself!