First of all, let’s find out a little more about Hapa Zome.
What Is Hapa Zome?
Hapa Zome is a Japanese method of printing consisting of hammering the natural pigment of plants onto a cloth. As hammering is something that most children take great pleasure in, you’ll find that this is a hit with the kids!
How to create a banner
Creating a Hapa Zome banner is actually really easy. We chose to do the printing outdoors, but it’s completely up to you where you want to print. The only important thing to mention is that you use a piece of scrap wood to hammer on top of. I would hate you to ruin your floor or table without realising!
First you will need to gather your items. A piece of light-coloured cotton (white works best) cut to whichever size you want the banner (we used plain tea towels). A hammer and scrap wood for hammering onto. Then scour the outdoors for pretty flowers, leaves or even small wild berries. The best plant materials are those that still have moisture, so not dried flowers or autumn leaves.
We chose to do this in winter, so our selection of plants was limited! We took a couple of flowers from indoor arrangements and found several green leaves in the forest. Fern leaves seem to work particularly well, as did the Blackthorn berries.
Lay out the cloth on the scrap wood, covering half the cloth with plant materials. Fold over the cloth to cover the plants and then bash away with the hammer!
This is an incredibly therapeutic craft and even I had to ask the kids for a go. Just to ‘check’ they had managed to crush all the leaves of course.
Once you are sure that all the hammering is completed, open up the cloth and shake off the plant remains. If they are a little stuck onto the cloth let it dry out before picking the pieces off.
You’ll be amazed at just how beautiful it looks!
To ‘set’ the printing you will need to iron the cloth, it also helps to flatten it out ready for hanging. My children (aged 9 and 7) both sewed a channel (around 1 inch in height) at the top of their banners using a sewing machine. This was enough to push through a stick from their collection in the garden (we have a LOT of sticks) into the channel and then attach string to hang on their walls. You could also use a bamboo pole instead of a stick.
Educational benefits of Hapa Zome
There are lots of educational benefits involved in Hapa Zome printing. From the time outdoors identifying and picking leaves and flowers, to looking at how different coloured pigments are soaked up by the cloth. The process is also great for both fine motor skill use in picking plants and placing them on the cloth to gross motor skills of using a hammer!
My favourite part of this particular craft is that there is no specific ‘look’ they need to create. Each print will be different and can be however the child wants it to be. This is especially important for children who struggle to draw or create traditional crafts to specified end points.
Both of my kids were definitely very proud of their creations!
Do you need more nature activities? Then these forest school activities are perfect!
There are even more from other sites, so have a look.
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