Hapa Zome Printing

This month, we’ve been really enjoying getting back to nature by participating in 30 Days Wild. One of the activities we’ve enjoyed is to make a Hapa Zome print. Hapa Zome is the Japanese art of print making by hammering plants in to fabric. I first came across it when a class of mine did it on a school trip. It’s pretty simple, but can be really effective! Here’s how to make your own…

Choose Your Plants

I explained to T that we were going to be using some plants to make prints, so on our way to the library one day, we collected a range of plants and flowers – mostly weeds which no one would mind us picking. I encouraged her to try and collect a variety of things so that we didn’t just end up with a basket full of daisies! Once home, we also grabbed a few things from our garden, including a rose and some herbs.
With this being just the second time I’d done this, I wasn’t sure which plants would be the most successful. I aimed for mostly green plants, or ones with strong or bright colours. I also tended towards softer, thicker leaves and stems which would release dye on to the fabric.

Arrange Your Plants

Once we were ready, T chose which plants she wanted to begin with and placed them on her fabric, folding it over so that they were enclosed. Since this were her first time, I didn’t worry too much about how she placed the plants as I just wanted her to explore the process of making Hapa Zome. If we did it again, I might encourage her to think more about whether she wants to achieve a particular outcome, for example by arranging them in a particular pattern.

Stop! Hammer time!

She used a rubber mallet to hammer the plants, and I helped her to ensure she had hammered all over them! Somewhere we have a larger mallet which I think might have helped us to produce a better result, but since I couldn’t find it (I haven’t Kon Mari’d our tools yet!) we used this smaller one instead. Make sure that your fabric is on a smooth surface before your hammer, or the texture of the surface will show through.

Set the Print

I haven’t done this with our prints yet, but I’ve read that you can set the print using a steam iron. I expect that there will be some fading, and that this would probably be increased should you wants to wash the prints for any reason.

What she is learning

Science: plants contain natural dyes
Creativity: creating prints using natural objects
Fine motor skills: hammering, strengthening hand muscles, aiming precisely
For more ideas for 30 Days Wild, check out my recent post, 41 ideas for #30DaysWild.You can also follow along on Instagram to see what we get up to each day!

Leave a Reply