Style-Centric: Nature's Shadow

I love the Spring. I love the new growth, the beauty of nature. For me few things can compare. If only we could capture this beauty to enjoy all year round.

I hope to show you how you may capture nature's shadows to use in your crafting, whether it be stamping, stitching or any other medium.

Acer or maple leaves are ideal. Not only are they perfectly formed, wonderfully indented shapes, but they are also small and delicate, which seems to add to their beauty. The dark red ones are perfect for this process. Fresh leaves work best.

You will need:
  • Solid surface
  • Kitchen roll
  • Cotton
  • Smooth watercolour paper (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Leaf or flower

Make a sandwich of 4 pieces of kitchen roll, layered and folded in half, a layer of cotton, leaf, layer of cotton and finished with another 4 pieces of kitchen roll folded in half.

First half of sandwich: Kitchen roll, cotton, leaf.

Second half of sandwich: Cotton followed by kitchen roll.
Once the sandwich is complete you can start to hammer it. You need good, firm blows but not too aggressive. After a while you should get the feel of it. You can carefully peel back the layers to see how you are getting on, but be careful not to move the leaf.

The finished leaf print, shadow.

Two sides of the print.

Close up

It is also possible to do the same with watercolour paper. I have used smooth.

Leaf sandwiched between watercolour paper.
It would always be possible to fill in the print carefully with soft crayons if needed.

One layer watercolour paper, top layer cotton

I must admit I particularly like the prints onto the cotton.

The leaves are paper thin and almost dry after they have been through the process. So delicate. I like to place them between pages and press them as they are so fragile, half way to being a skeleton leaf.

How about trying to capture the cheeky faces of pansies or violas? Such characterful and cheery flowers.

Hammered onto watercolour paper
Now for blue.

Onto cotton.
On reflection, I began to think that the pansies were too large to get the best results. Usually I have Violas popping up in the garden, but not this year, so I went out and bought some.

I rather like this purple and orange combination, one I have not had before.

Waiting to be hammered

Onto cotton

Onto smooth watercolour paper

This time the print seemed to work better onto the smooth watercolour paper. The paper obviously soaked up the colour and moisture better. This could be because the violas are such young, vigorous plants in their prime? The finished items in this article, top photo and the one below, were done with autumn leaves, whereas these have come from vigorous spring growth. The pansies were originally winter pansies, but these violas are young. Could all these factors make a difference?

So if this interests you it really is worth a go. Very little equipment is needed and you can get some beautiful results.

This treasure is actually hanging in an exhibition at the moment.

Quilted with free machine stitching onto the leaf. For further quilting little hand
 stitches are added around the leaf. It is then stretched and stitched 
onto a handmade twig frame and weighted with a shell.

There are so many flowers and leaves that you could try to use to create your own nature's shadows to enjoy all year round, which are so beautiful and a great asset to your crafting. A great way to preserve your favourite leaves and flowers.

11 unruly observations:

  1. These are amazing. I've never seen this technique before. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this!!! Thank you for showing the different effects!!!

  3. These are so lovely, the red Acer and young viola are my favourites. The images are so clear. Thanks so much for your clear explanation and great photographs, Judith x

  4. thanks for the introduction to this great technique!

  5. oh wow, what a cool technique, thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh wow, I have to have a go at this Laura, amazing.
    hugs {brenda} xox

  7. These are absolutely AMAZING!!! I am going to start foraging my neighbors flower!!! FABULOIUS!!!

  8. Fabulous pretty ;)
    xoxo Sioux

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I love this technique, especially on fabric. Do you need to heat the image or treat it in some way to preserve the color?

  11. These prints are all so lovely and that leaf hanging....awesome!


All Unruly comments are appreciated!



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