This pretty flower poster is its own reward, but the hammering technique — pounding flowers onto paper — can be irresistible to kids. Experiment with a variety of flowers. Primroses, pansies, and irises passed along their colors brilliantly; roses and daisies didn't print as well for us.
Cut flowers from your yard or pick a few common and abundant wildflowers and weeds, such as dandelions. Place stems in the jar of water as soon as they're cut.
On the board or worktable, set a sheet of watercolor paper on the newspaper.
Place a flower on the paper and cover it with a paper towel. Use the hammer to tap it gently and repeatedly, making sure you tap the entire flower and the stem, if desired. Peel back the paper towel to see how well the color is transferring. If the paper towel looks saturated, the watercolor paper will be too. When you're satisfied with the color, remove the paper towel and the smashed flower, using tweezers if necessary.
Repeat step 3 with the other flowers.
To protect the colors, spray the paper with the clear acrylic coating and let dry, then write the flowers' names in pencil.
Fun Flower Facts
About 187 million roses were grown for Valentine's Day in 2009.
Studies have shown that hospital patients need less pain medication, show fewer signs of stress, and feel greater optimism when flowers are in view.
According to Guinness World Records, a single sunflower plant from Michigan had 837 heads.