• Vicky Lesant

Experimenting with Eco Printing

So I have done a lot of plant dyeing before, but this is the first time I have tried eco- printing. I have researched some expert tips from MadebyBarb now lets see how it goes....

First I was off to scavenge some plants, my husband is embarrassed to come with me as thinks I am going to get arrested for cutting leaves from trees, I'm not am I?? So after my lovely stroll in the park I collected a few of the below, I have to say I am not much of a gardener, so I don't know what type of plants/flowers I had and If they are good for dyeing, but that's all part of the fun, experimenting with what can be found locally to you.

If you want to be a bit more specific with your plant collecting, this article from WendyFe gives a really clear guide to which plants give best results. Wow that Hybrid ‘Royalty’ crabapple leaves and blossoms is beautiful! but I didn't see this article until after my scavenge! :)

For my fabric I used pre washed 100% silk which is protein fiber, so the tannin's released from the leaves would adhere to the fabric better.

I followed directions I had read on MadeByBarb I first soaked my leaves in an iron solution and soaked my fabric in Vinegar. My Iron solution was quite weak, I think my picture looks more concentrated than what it was. I had about 15ml iron to 4 litres water for my soaking leaves and 50/50 vinegar/water for my fabric.

I laid my fabric out on a sheet of plastic, then laid my leaves out on half of my fabric all facing down and then folded my fabric on top of the leaves, so I could see the printing effect from both sides of the leaves. As this was more of a tester I wasn't worried about making a pretty pattern.

Then wrapped everything up tightly and secured it around my rolling pin, ready to be steamed....

After the waiting, it was finally ready for the big reveal, the moment of truth if it had worked or not.....

The results are fascinating, unfortunately some leaves did not work at all :( but others left really striking prints. Some leaves left very defined edges whilst other gave a more blurry outcome. You will also notice how the front and the back of some leaves produce a different outlook, either a block print or just an outline, as there may be more tannin's on one side of the leaf then the other. So when you are doing your eco printing remember to try both sides. I love the subtle autumnal colours which have come out.

Well I still have a long way to go before I can make a beautiful eo printed scarf, but I am happy with my first and attempt. Give it a go and experiment with different plants and flowers. Hope you have as much fun as I did! xx

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