Learn how to print a botanical mandala on fabric using floral drawing / stitching techniques. Follow my steps and create your own printed mandala … and learn from my experiences. It’s so much fun and the possibilities are endless!
I have been dreaming of trying a flower hammer for years, but I never knew how to do it … So I was happy. Samorn Sanixay Plants Magic has agreed to contribute to Volume 3. Samorn is located in Australia, which is too far away for me to go to one of his workshops, so it felt very special to meet him in the magazine. This new way to dye and pattern the fabric is incredible.
Plants Are Magic is my completely independent magazine on plant creation (without ads!). About this third volume of the magazine Time: protect plants, create memories through plants, slow down nature and survive.
Over the past few weeks, I have had several experiments with the Samorn method using plants on my balcony. The results are quite surprising, and in many cases the print of the plant looks the same as the real plant. It is charming! Some test prints (unwashed) with viola flowers and dyed knotted leaves (Japanese indigo). Do you notice that the leaf marks turn a little blue as the paint oxidizes?
* Soy milk is a binder, not a mordant, but still helps plant dyes to adhere to the fibers. Technically, soy milk is a binder and its chemistry is different from traditional mordants, such as slag. The result is the same – you have longer-lasting dyes in the fibers.
Prepare the mandala
I gathered my equipment (wooden board and hammer) and collected flowers and leaves from the balcony. You do not need many plants to create a beautiful pattern. This is the benefit of this hammer technique. With a small handful of plants you can achieve incredible results.
Here I collected the violin, the knot of the painter (Persinaria tinctoria/ Japanese indigo), lemon balm, core, sage and oregano. You can try any plant as long as it is not poisonous.
Then I put the chopping board inside the bag – one piece at a time.
I made the plants in a mandala – I work my way from the center.
I carefully placed the second piece on the plants as carefully as possible so as not to break the sequence.
I picked up my hammer and began to beat the plants – slowly and accurately. In the photo below, you can see that the print is starting to come out of the top layer of fabric. I drew the contour carefully to get a clear print, then worked towards the middle of the leaves to complete the entire print of each leaf. As I straightened each leaf, I followed the marks on the fabric and did so systematically. You get two pieces – one on each piece.
I continued until the whole mandala showed the top layer of fabric.
I decided to add more yellow core petals to the edge of the mandala, so I carefully lifted the edges of the fabric and inserted the petals before pulling again.
After finishing my work, I peeled off the top layer of fabric to expose the two raids.
Some leaves are easily peeled off immediately, but in fact it is better to wait until the traces dry, and then the plants will turn into paper and easily pollinated. If you peel them too quickly, you run the risk of staining your print with wet plants. My cellos were very juicy and could not be peeled until they were dry.
Later that evening, I peeled all the dry plants and shook the blanks, then ironed the fabric (using another cloth to cover the print).
Then I waited a few days to finally wash the fabric. I used Bio-D detergent, a natural detergent in the UK.
Here is the result on the top layer of cotton …
The print on the bag was very pale and a little disappointing, but I learned something from this result. It is a beautiful bag that I will still enjoy using.
How did the prints get different types of fabrics?
Of course, the fabric was clearer than the bag on the fabric. The linen bag has a rougher texture, so I feel the reason for this. There are more gaps in the print than in the down-woven fabric of the fabric. The fabric could also benefit from washing to remove more oil from the fibers. I did a long wash at medium temperature, as I did with the whole fabric, but I don’t think it was clean enough and the fabric wasn’t as absorbent as it could be.
My original plan was to print a mandala bag, but I did not take into account the effect of the fabric on the fabric. It’s still a nice effect, but I was expecting something more vibrant. It’s not a disaster, because it’s still a kind of print, but it’s not what I expected. The fabric I used to cover the bag turned out as I had hoped, and now I have a mandala to hang on the wall (I think I’ll cut the fabric and sew a channel on top. Insert the rod). I was hoping for a bag and ended up hanging a wall, so I’m happy!
Thoughts on making a mandala
The act of arranging the plants in a mandala is really soothing. Over the past year, I have arranged a few and found it a great way to celebrate the seasons by collecting the plants and making a beautiful arrangement. Then I take a photo of my mandala and return the leaves to the ground from time to time, or sometimes I squeeze the flowering plants.
In fact, mandalas are a recurring theme in Plants Are Magic magazine. Volume 2 contains a wonderful article on the history of mandalas and how they can help us.
The irony of drawing a mandala is that it is not as noisy and quiet as making an ordinary mandala. But the results are amazing and worth the noise! I would like to use a rubber mallet to find out if it is quieter.
What I saw while smoking was a truly aromatic experience. The scent from the plants comes true as it breaks down and is spectacular! I especially enjoyed the scents of lemon balm and oregano.
How does the color stay on the fabric?
As you can see, the patterns on both fabrics stood out quite well after only one wash. The purple has faded the most and now remains a little blue. I would wait longer before rinsing next time … I was a little too eager here! Waiting a few weeks will probably give more permanent scars than flowers.
The yellow from the nucleus turned darker orange with a change in the pH of the tap water. The leaves did not fade much after washing – they are incredibly alive! Next time, I’ll just shoot with the leaves because I love the effect.
I am very happy with the result in a smoother piece than the bag, so I will always use a smoother fabric when I repeat this. It’s a little embarrassing about the bag, but we won’t be able to find out what works and what doesn’t work without trying them out.
Thoughts on transient colors on fabric
If you are creating a mandala to hang, keep in mind that the colors will most likely fade over time. The pallor doesn’t bother me, because botanical mandalas are generally temporary works of art where we return the plants to the ground. So these mandalas are incredible if they last a few years, aren’t they?
If you’re worried about the color not being permanent, I like to think this way: the colors on the leaves and flowers don’t last forever. They wither and the plants eventually collapse. It is a blessing that it is possible to cut plants into pieces in order to capture some of this temporary beauty from nature. In my opinion, any print is beautiful and worth it no matter how long it takes.
In fact, to hang a wall, even the fabric is generally washed? The violas were beautiful before being partially washed. The paint may not be completely light resistant, but it is still beautiful as it lasts.
You can make a new mandala on the fabric to hang in your home every season, or you can reprint the same dress when the print finally washes off. In a world full of plastics and other synthetics that will never fall apart, it’s easy to deal with colors that will last “forever.” Do we want something to last forever? Do we need things that will last a lifetime? Create a work of art or piece to enjoy right now – no matter how long it lasts.