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:
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)
- 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.)
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.
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:
4. CRUSH THEM!!!!
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.
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).
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 THINK THIS IS THE COOLEST THING.
(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.
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!!
Raise your hand if you kind of secretly love to destroy things. And if you don’t, I’ll think you’re lying.