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Flower crushing-mega-death-destruction art project

I don’t know what it is about little boys, but they delight in destruction. Weston builds elaborate, tall towers of blocks or legos just for the one second of BLISS that comes from knocking it down and watching it all crumble to the ground. In that second, he is so alive! The world is HIS!

If you have just a tiny smidge of destruction-joy hidden under the layers of responsible adulthood, you’ll enjoy this project as much as I did. It’s the most cathartic way to create art that I know.

Plus, it’s super cool and turns out an interesting, completely customizable result. Here’s the art we made for Jill’s living room:
How to make art with crushed flowers

Can you guess what that is? Pretend like you didn’t already see it in the title of the post. It’s crushed flowers, which turn into dye to make art. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING, YOU GUYS.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy paper, like watercolor paper or hobby paper
  • Flowers or berries (more on this in a sec)
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Graveyard of buried hopes and deep-seated frustrations which you’ll take out on the flowers as therapy. (Optional.)

Materials for DIY crushed flower art

1. Gather your flowers.

I just went around my yard picking anything with color. You totally don’t need to buy flowers to do this project. Just gather what you can find in your yard or growing wild on the side of the road, and test them all to see which produce the best color. The flowers that gave me the most color were lilies and clover. Chrysanthemum worked great too.

2. Lay out your pattern.

Use the painter’s tape to block off the portions of the paper that you want to leave white. We made two versions: one with a tribal pattern and one with a monogram for Jill’s family.
Using painters tape to make DIY art

3. Lay out your flowers

Take everything outside and lay your paper with the painter’s tape design on a piece of cardboard. Lay out all your flower petals on top of the design. You can lay them out randomly or create stripes of color like we did:
How to make flower dye art


This is so fun, I’m actually getting a little bit giddy just thinking about it. Lay an extra piece of paper on top of the flowers and just start smashing the flowers with a hammer. Just crush their delicate little faces. Here’s a little gif I took of Erin so you could see how she hit them. (You may need to click over if you’re reading this in email.)

5. Finish it out

Remember when you were a kid putting on a temporary tattoo of Care Bears on the back of your hand, how you’d peel the backing off carefully to make sure it was sticking to you before you rip it off? Same situation here.
Making DIY flower dye art
If there are still white/empty spots, just lay the top paper back down and get back to your smashing until it meets your stringent requirements. You can also take the paper off completely, and kind of smush the flowers into the paper to extract the flower dye juice (technical term).
How to use flowers as dye to make art
See all that purple and yellow gooey gunk? That is MONEY. The flower petals have smooshed into gunky dye that you can now spread around with your fingers if you want to.


(I’m also easily impressed, but I trust you will join me in this.)

6. Remove the painter’s tape and allow to dry

If you still have a ton of flower gunk left on the paper, you can scrape it off first. (We did.) If you love the gunky texture, you have Official Permission to leave it as-is.
DIY flower crush art!

The end.
Flower dye art

I think this would be a fabulous little project to do with your kids, and it’d make great handmade notecards too. Endless possibilities! Endless destruction!!
This is SO COOL! Make DIY art using flowers as dye!

Raise your hand if you kind of secretly love to destroy things. And if you don’t, I’ll think you’re lying.

Let's connect


  1. cassie says:

    awesome! love the look and the nature aspect! i am interested to hear how the color holds up over time.

  2. Amy says:

    Wow, who would have thought… I’m raising my hand really high on this one and getting my flowers today. I feel the same way you do when I’m baking with the egg shells… :O I don’t know why, but after I’ve used all the eggs, I have to smash the shells into smithereens LOL

  3. This is an awesome art project! I’m going to try this with my 6 year old!

  4. Lee says:

    Hands down, this is one of the best things I have seen!
    Wonderful directions, concise photos and I love the smashing hammer.

  5. This is actually quite beautiful! Nice job!

  6. That’s so cool!

  7. Debbie says:

    I love smashing flowers!!!!k You can do this on fabric too, for the coolest totes or aprons or whatever.

    I also love smushing flowers. If anyone has a Sizzix/Cuttlebug or similar diecutting machine, you can place your flowers on the paper, cover with a second sheet, and run them through the machine just like you would a die to smush them and get the “dye” from the flowers. Fast and easy and kids love to do this almost as much as I do.

    You will want to brush off any extra flowers/pulp/twiggy bits though, after either smashing or smushing. The “dye” retains its color for a very long time, but the extra bits turn brown or moldy.

  8. Bliss says:

    Now that is cool. And you said Bliss.

  9. PINNED it. I’m so trying this.

  10. ten says:

    This is so neat! It’s like organic printmaking. I love it. I was curious – did you spray any sort of clear fix or fixative over the art after it dried, to help “seal” it?

  11. So awesome! I love how the colors mesh together and create a tie-dye effect.

  12. Whoa! Color me (with flower crushed juice) impressed! Coolest DIY art project ever.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for the great idea! Unfortunately I don’t have any flowers to speak of in my yard so my kids and I went or a walk and even went to our local garden centre. The lady working there kindly cut off some flowers for us when I told her it was for an art project for my kids. We went home and I did up the designs and then my 4 and 3 year old went to town on it. Ours didn’t turn out quite as good, but we still love them. :)

  14. Now THIS is a plant project I can handle. I don’t have to keep anything alive and it looks good too!

  15. laura says:

    Soo good! Would it work in those blank canvas, ready to hang?

  16. Sharon B. says:

    Oooh, so much prettiness from so much violence! :) Love that, I’ve got to find something to crush flowers on now.

  17. This is so smart! And cool! And pretty! And I pretty much love everything about it. BRAVO!

  18. Summer says:

    Such a fun project Kelly and so clever! I never would have thought to do this! They look great framed too!

  19. Dude, flowers?! This is so boss. And way more fun than pressing the dang things in a book.

  20. Jenna says:

    This is such a cool idea! I can’t wait to try it!

  21. This is totally rad. I may try this with Henry. He loves the hammer.

  22. Whoa–I’m really impressed with how much color winds up on the paper! I mean, who knew flowers were so….colorful? Not me, apparently. Very cool!

  23. Hammers and flowers. Sounds like my type of party!

  24. QwkDrw says:

    Kudos to the graphics department, the hamm… hammer… hammering was worth it — great effect for the post!

    Breakage and destruction: To make a solid, thick with veggies, omelette I like to break 3 or more eggs. And bubble-wrap — one after another, I like to squeeze those nearly irresistible little air blisters until they will burst… stop it


  25. this is really, really cool. :) thanks for sharing!

  26. Wow, this is so creative and beautiful, LOVE it!

  27. This is SO COOL! And it definitely sounds like a lot of fun to smash the flowers. I have to try that!!

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  28. These are so pretty and such a great idea! I could use some therapy like this! I love craft projects that are rough and messy! :)

  29. I clicked for the title alone!

    And also just because it’s you. :)

    This is actually really very cool! I have a little boy at home that I think might be interested in some mega-death-destruction…..

  30. how do you come up with these things? also, is it weird that it also looks delicious to me. like seriously, those petals look yummy. does this mean i’m deliriously hungry or just weird? maybe both.

  31. That is so neat! I had no idea you could do this!

  32. T Massey says:

    Fantastic idea and hilarious commentary! Thank you for the good laugh and therapist approved anger management idea 😉

  33. Heather says:

    This idea is so original and I HAVE to try it!

  34. Sarah says:

    I love your blog and have used your tutorial for lined curtains really successfully… So when I tried this project I was all “this is gonna be awesome because it came from VAW!” Well, it flopped. The colours barely bled through to the paper and it just became a big ol’ mess. Any suggestions if I were to attempt it again? I used pigment-strong flowers, too: dahlias, hostas, echinacea…??? I really wanted to use it as a way of “preserving” our first garden! Any ideas?

    • Kelly says:

      It was almost definitely the kind of flowers you used if they didn’t produce enough color. Even some very colorful flowers didn’t work well for this, and some other flowers that are not as colorful did work well. It’s just something to do with the moisture in the petals, I think, and not so much about how colorful the flowers are. I’d give it another try with some different kinds of flowers. Sorry to hear it flopped for you! We did a little experimenting with different kinds before we did the full project. :)

  35. Lisa says:

    Wow, I have never heard of flower crushing before. It looks so pretty.

  36. Kim waun says:

    cool ideas..

  37. Ally says:

    This is so neat. I ran to the backyard and immediately did a proof of concept project! I am also definitely interested to see how the colors hold up over time. Going on a nature walk tomorrow to procure more plant specimens!! I think this would also be a great project for our kid’s Spring camp at our Arboretum. Thank you for the excellent idea!

  38. OMG why have I yet to see this! I am in love right now and cant wait to try it out! I would love love love it if you hopped over and joined my party that starts monday at 10pm eastern! I am so excited to have stumbled (yes that is how i found you) onto your blog right now! I might be addicted to you haha.

    • one more thing…do you know if the color fades after a while? I am just curious because I teach craft classes at my craft store and I think this would make a great spring project for the ladies! They love using hammers on things lol

  39. Kimi says:

    Awesome! 😀

  40. This is really amazing!


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