Category Archives: eco printing

An eco printing bonus – blankets for craft projects.

If you read my blog regularly you will know that each month this past year I’ve written a post about eco printing on paper. Sometimes I use a fabric blanket in my paper bundles for various reasons which you can read about here.

My favourite fabric to use for blankets are vintage cotton sheets but I have used other fabrics including silk, calico and both acrylic and wool felt. Cotton can be quite difficult to print on but I have found old cotton sheets print very well. Here are some examples with the eco prints on paper on the left and the cotton blanket on the right.

I hope to start using both my eco prints and cyanoprints on cloth and paper in some craft work next year.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as I have.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – December

I can’t believe I have been sharing my ecoprinting experiments with you each month for a year now.

Today I’m trying out ways of getting leaf prints when there’s not much fresh foliage around. I have some dried leaves and onion skins, frozen and fresh cotinus to compare, and some fresh leaves which can still be found in my garden.

If you want to see my ecoprinting posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

December.

Pot – New roasting tin.

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – watercolour paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium, fresh, dried and frozen cotinus, dried fern, onion skins, and fresh eucalyptus and geranium leaves.

Cooking time – 40minutes, turned, 40 minutes.

Blanket -Procion dye blanket used with fern.

Images

Conclusion – Cotinus prints from dried and frozen leaves have some blue from their undersides but the fresh leaves have no blue. Onion skins give good colour and some interesting effects. The geranium leaf and eucalyptus printed quite well but not as strong a print as other times in the year.

I can’t believe my year long eco printing project has come to an end. I will be continuing to eco print as I find the process fascinating and I will keep you informed if I get any great results.

I hope you have enjoyed my eco printing journey, I will make a page with links to all the ‘Ecoprinting throughout the year’ posts, you will see a link at the top of the screen or just use the search box on the right.

I have a bonus post coming soon.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – November

Today I’m trying out some different papers that I’ve not tried before, a dye blanket and Inktense blocks.

If you want to see my ecoprinting posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

November.

Pot – New roasting tin.

Water – Tap water with rust water and vinegar.

Paper – Watercolour, coloured pastel paper, card, daphne / lotka paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium,fern, tagetee, cotinus.

Cooking time – 45 minutes, turned, 45 minutes.

Blanket -the geranium had a logwood blanket made using kitchen towel .

Images

Conclusion – Good orange yellow from tagetee. The fern leaf had Inktense crayon rubbed over the damp leaf picking up the veins, this worked quite well. The kitchen towel blanket left a texture on the eco print. Daphne paper seems to have darker prints and the paper is wrinkled a bit. Notice the colour of the tagetee print is olive green on this paper but it was orange on the other papers.

What’s In Store?

I will keep this post short as I’m still having problems with my hands but they are getting better gradually. I haven’t been making anything as I’m resting them but I have finished some pieces and got them in my shop. Because I’m having a break from making my stock is quite low this year so when it’s gone it’s gone.

I did have lots of raku leaves but most of them have gone already. Also there are just a few ecoprinted silk scarves left.

I’ve just taken the large snowdrop plaque out of the kiln, it’s larger than the plant tiles and has a frame on the back so it looks like it’s floating off the wall. It’s a reminder that before we know it spring will be here.

There are some coloured bottle spoon rests with a bit of sparkle to brighten the days.

Only one ecoprinted paper craft pack left. Next year I plan to add more craft packs including ecoprinted and cyanotype fabrics for crafters.

Only one ikebana bowl left, I think I may retire these next year so it could be the last one I make.

I will be retiring soap dishes too. I think it’s time for me to do less clay work.

I will be making a few changes next year, as well as more craft bundles there will be mixed media work involving collage and stitch, also I will be getting back into watercolours which I love but never seem to have the time for.

I am looking forward to the change in direction, I’ve never been one to do just one craft, I’m sure my hands will thank me for it too.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – October

If you want to see my ecoprinting posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

October.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin.

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – Watercolour and cartridge paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium, dogwood, spleenwort, cotinus, tagetee.

Cooking time – 45 minutes, turned, 45 minutes.

Blanket -none.

Images

Conclusion – Good veins in the dogwood prints, cotinus didn’t have any blue, golden yellow geranium leaf, tagetee looks interesting, I like the shape and colour of the leaves.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – September

September.

I haven’t had much time to eco print just now but I have a few samples to show you, these are on Tex craft paper, which can be sewn. A lighter coloured paper would have been better. Also one side of the paper seemed to print better than the other side.

The next example shows blackberry leaves, just look at the vein detail in this print.

The final print was made with rose leaves and procion dye blanket, I love the colours in this print and the textures in the background. Rose leaves always give great prints.

You can learn more about eco printing in my past posts, type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

Eco printing meets cyanotype printing.

Following on from my cyanotype printing post I also tried cyanotype printing over eco prints. The results were interesting, I found the ecoprint changed colour, becoming more of a sepia tint, the yellows and greens were lost. I tried leaving areas without the cyanoprint chemicals on the paper, these remained golden coloured but there is a harsh line on the edge of the cyanoprint ‘border’ that I don’t like, you will see an example of this in my photos. I will have to work on this further as I might be able to soften the edge. I do like the sepia print with the blue cyanoprint, they are less fussy and more photographic looking. Also I like the leaf ‘window’ effect.

Here’s some examples of my cyanotype / eco prints on paper.

Eco printing throughout the year – August

Today I’m comparing prints from my rusty roasting tin with prints made in a new roasting tin.

If you want to see my eco printing posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

August.

Pot – Boil 1 – Rusty roasting tin, boil 2 – new roasting tin.

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – watercolour and cartridge papers

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium, coeopsis, eucalyptus, fern, cotinus.

Cooking time – 45 minutes, turned, 45 minutes.

Blanket -none.

Images

Boil 1. – Images are dark due to the pan being very rusty.

Boil 2. – Images are lighter as the only iron present was the liquid used to dip the flowers and foliage.

Comparison.

Left print rusty pan, right print new pan.

Conclusion – Prints using the rusty roasting tin are much darker than the ones in the new roasting tin. Also I think the tiles that I use are so impregnated with iron they are making the prints darker. I need to use new tiles for very light prints. I like the stronger tonal values, the cotinus leaves came out out very dark and the eucalyptus printed well, you can even see the stoma on the leaf prints.

Ecoprinting with blankets and barriers.

There are several reasons why you would use blankets and barriers when ecoprinting.

  • A blanket provides good contact between paper and plant material.
  • When using thick plant material that could damage the paper a felt or wool blanket acts like a cushion levelling things up and allowing good contact with the paper.
  • A blanket can be dipped in a solution such as iron water to change/ enhance the print. There are other solutions that you can use too but I want to keep things simple as I hope to encourage beginners to try ecoprinting.
  • A blanket can be used as a carrier for dye to impart colour to the ecoprint. This can be a natural plant based dye or it can be a manmade dye, I use Procion dyes or natural dyes.
  • Fabric, paper or plastic can be used as a barrier to prevent the colour from one plant bleeding through onto the other prints.
  • Textured material like lace , hessian or log bags can give texture or pattern to the print.

How to ecoprint with dye blankets or plastic barriers

The method for ecoprinting with dye blankets or barrier is basically the same as my usual ecoprinting method only the blanket/ barrier is layered in between the papers when making the bundle.

Dye blankets.

I like to use acrylic or wool felt, or old wool blanket, old cotton sheets or even kitchen paper. These are not treated with any mordant as you want the dye to transfer to the paper. I find that often the foliage does leave a print on the blanket, especially on old cotton sheets, I like the added bonus of being able to use these in other projects. The poor ones get used again as blankets.

I soak the blankets in dye solution while I pick my plants, it’s then wrung out and ready to use.

Plastic barriers.

A lot of ecoprinters don’t use plastic but if I have some plastic bags that something came in I use those cut to size.

Texture barriers.

I also use the bags that logs come in, or lace fabric or trim which leave an interesting texture or pattern on the print.

In these photos the turquoise dye is Procion dye and the pink is Lac, a natural dye. I made two bundles, one with each colour and boiled them separately so the colours didn’t mix.

A reused felt blanket and a cotton sheet blanket
A plastic barrier

A couple of layers of kitchen paper.
Log bag and a cotton blanket, then leaves and paper were laid on top.

The bundles were tied and boiled in the usual way.

Here’s a video of me opening the bundles, it’s a bit shaky with only one hand.

The prints.

Left print has some fabric texture if you look closely where the leaves meet. Right print has log bag texture.

Procion dye leaf prints
ecoprinting with dye blankets
Lac prints

Here are the blankets washed and ironed, I will use these in some textile art.

Old cotton sheet
Old cotton sheet on the left, acrylic felt on the right.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – July

July.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin.

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – cartridge, watercolour, mixed media paper

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium, coreopsis, corn marigold, crocosmia, clematis, tagetees, cotinus, rose leaves.

Cooking time – 45 minutes, turned, 45 minutes.

Blanket – none.

Images

Conclusion – .

Coreopsis gave a good orange/ rust print. The purple clematis was disappointing, as were corn marigold and crocosmia lucifer which only gave a ghost print. The tagetee leaves printed well.

One of the papers ( top photo, middle bottom) looked as though the papers hadn’t been stacked properly, but I know they were. So I believe this was caused when soaking the papers in the bath of mordant where they don’t sit directly on top of each other.

I also made some prints using dye blankets, I will tell you about this process in my next post but here’s some of the prints I made using a dye blanket.

If you want to see more ecoprinting posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.