Leaf Print made from Sunflower Dye

Way back at the beginning of April a tiny packet of sunflower seeds landed on our doorstep. We’d signed up to the Sunflower Challenge set by NurtureStore, supporting Compton Hospice. (More info about the challenge & a free copy of NurtureStore’s Sunflower Activity ebook can be found here)

As you know my gal loves gardening, & she couldn’t wait to get her hands on the seeds! She planted them in her old wellie boots & we set them on a windowsill so we could watch their progress daily. The wellie boots proved to be quite a talking point with visitors! 

 Soon the sunflower seedlings were growing fast, & once the risk of frost had past we transferred them to Minnie’s garden. The tallest now measures 198cm & the others are catching up fast!

I’m hoping we'll be able to do some activities with the sunflowers once they are in full bloom, but for this activity Minnie & I thought we'd use some old sunflower seeds gathered from last years sunflowers.

We added the seeds to a pan of simmering water. Minnie enjoyed watching the colour of the water change as the seeds swirled around the pan. Once it was cooled & we'd removed the seeds, the remaining liquid was a 'dirty' green colour. This is what we needed to make our Sunflower dye.

I'd bought a 'Dylon Easy Batik Kit' a while ago & thought we’d try it out with this sunflower dye. I love the effect batik art produces, & this easy batik kit was a great alternative to using the traditional method. 

For our fabric we cut up an old babygrow.

Minnie chose a couple of sunflower leaves from her plants & painted the back of each leaf with the batik paint. She pressed these firmly down on our fabric, & then gently lifted them to reveal her leaf prints.

We set them aside to dry for an hour or so. Once dry, I ironed over the fabric to set the paint. Minnie then dipped the material into our sunflower dye & the instantaneous result was magical!

We left the fabric to soak over night, & then left to drip-dry outside.
Minnie’s love of collecting sticks & twigs gave me the idea for the frame. She set off on a stick hunt & chose four sticks of a similar length. She then nailed these together (with a little help) to create her frame.

I trimmed the fabric around the sticks & added a ribbon to hang the frame. Using drawing pins we attached the fabric to the back of the frame, & our sunflower leaf print was ready to display!

Nature is such a beautiful & colourful resource, something my little girl is just experiencing. :-) Nothing was wasted with this activity, the seeds that we used to create the dye we gave to the birds, & the remaining sections of babygrow have been turned into dusters!


  1. Love this idea. Had never thought of making dye from sunflower seeds.

  2. I really like this one...what is the batik paint? I used to do batik with a special wax. If I can find the paint I could do this with my preschool class.

  3. SarahElisabeth - thank you, was so much fun & a great discovery! :)

    Mimisandy - This is the Dylon Easy Batik we used, hope this helps http://www.knitandsew.co.uk/knitting/0_caad004_CAHA024/PRPA665

  4. Oooh I love the whole post - but have to say.. we were in the middle of making some stick frame too... aaargh. Well, you shall see ours when we get round to posting them ;-)

    Love your posts. Beautiful!

    Thanks for linking to Kids Get Crafty!


  5. ADORE this post! Sharing on fb and twitter now.

    Thanks for linking up again to Outdoor Play! Hope to see you again this Friday!

  6. I love the idea of the boots. I did this with my little ones first rain boots- I could NOT part with them since I bought them when she was still in the womb. They now hold heirloom marigolds under our peach tree.

  7. How gorgeous! I really love your rustic wooden frame that you made too!