Right outside our kitchen is a little green patio area we call the Kitchen Garden. Among numerous fragrant herb species is a beautiful clematis plant with sprawling tendrils and an abundance of flowers.
Last summer I discovered the wonders of flower pounding. Through some experimenting I found that clematis flowers work exceptionally well and retain their colorfastness on fabric. I have a tank top that I pounded with clematis flowers and although the flowers turned brown, their imprint has remained vibrant through it's many washing machine cycles.
So here's how to flower pound:
Step 1: Pick some beautiful flowers.
Step 2: Lay a flower on a piece of cloth.
Step 3: Fold the fabric over top (or lay another piece on top), place it on something hard and smooth, then pound the entirety of the flower. If you don't have a hard, smooth surface, try placing a towel on the sidewalk and hammering into the towel.
I made the mistake of pounding flowers on a brand new linen shirt I just finished sewing on a sidewalk without a towel underneath and the roughness of the cement put holes in the fabric!
Step 4: Unfold and peel off the remains of the flower.
Step 5: Hold up your cloth and stare at it for a few minutes. Then make another one! After waiting a few days, it should be safe to machine wash if you're putting it on a piece of clothing.
I've found that it works for lots of other leaves and flowers, too! But I can't vouch for how they will all hold up in the wash.
Here's a shirt I flower pounded with Clematis flowers from our Kitchen Garden.