How to create cannabis arts and crafts with fan leaves

Cannabis fan leaf art: photo of painters setup

Harvest season is nigh. Soon growers will be wading through bags of cannabis flower ready to trim, and the fan leaves will pile up. But not all of the byproducts of cannabis farming need to go in the compost bin.

Cannabis fan leaves can be used in a bunch of unique art projects. They can be made into a dye or make for memorable decoration. Read on for some cannabis fan leaf art ideas, most of which can be done with things found around the house.

Create a pigment

Plants, seeds, and other natural plants can be made into lake pigments, which can be used to dye clothes, temporarily color hair, and create watercolors. Cannabis fan leaves are no different, though they don’t make a green dye like most would imagine. The compounds in cannabis make a rich, earthen yellow lake pigment.

Creating pigment takes a little preparation. The fan leaves steep in water, and then a dye solution is mixed in. Over time and with some straining a pigment is left behind. This mixture can be stored in a glass jar and used as a watercolor or made into a dye bath for textiles.

Liz Spence, or the Dogwood Dyer, is one creator who shares the natural dye experience and the possibilities of fan leaves.


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A post shared by Liz Spencer • Natural Dyes & Growing Color (@thedogwooddyer)

She also hosts workshops on making pigments. Those who want something fast and easy can try Flower Pounding or Tatakizome. This is the process of hammering a plant into fabric, leaving the remnants of the leaf dyed into the textile.

Cannabis fan leaves can leave an impression, literally. Don’t just throw them out. Try pounding them into clothes or in a vat of dye for a change.

Fan leaf cyanotypes

Before photocopiers, engineers and architects made copies of their plans with cyanotypes. Now, it’s a low-cost, versatile photography technique artists employ to assemble monochromatic prints starring none other than the blue tone of cyan.

Cyanotypes are created using potassium ferricyanide, ferric ammonium citrate, time, and the sun. The chemical solution is painted onto paper or natural fiber textiles and then layered with items to create a pattern or design. Fan leaves can be easily incorporated into a cyanotype design for a 420-friendly print. Once the design is laid, let the print set in the sun and voila.
This is not only a high-reward way to dive into creating art, but it’s also a stunning way to use fan leaves before tossing them.

Floral arrangements

Another gorgeous place to include cannabis fan leaves is a floral bouquet. Greenery and filler flowers are a mainstay in floral arrangements, and there’s no reason weed leaves can’t make the list. As long as the stems are long enough for the design, the unmistakable foliage can be the perfect wink that says, “I’m a fan of the plant.”

Whether the arrangement is for a wedding bouquet or to dress up the kitchen table, fan leaves are a worthy adornment to consider.

Cannabis cake decorations

Cake decorating trends change as fast as fashion. Geode cakes had a moment in the sun, and now the world is loving comic book cakes. Whether it’s a weed cake or not, a fan leaf could add a show-stopping accent.

Writer and creator Christina Wong of Fruit + Flower Co. has designed gorgeous cake decorations that center the cannabis fan leaf.

Creating cannabis fan leaf art

Creating art looks different for almost every person. Some use found objects, and others work exclusively in paint. No matter what the medium is, fan leaves could make a contribution. Next time there’s an abundance of cannabis leaves, maybe they should skip the compost pile.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.