Tag Archives: eco printing

Ecoprinting throughout the year – April

It’s April and there’s lots of new foliage about now to print with. I have deliberately picked new leaves from my favourite plants which I know print well throughout the year. Also I had to try some of the flowers that are out this month.

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


Pot – Rusty roasting tin

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – Cartridge paper, mixed media paper, watercolour paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Flowering currant, rose, cranesbill geranium, elder, astilbe, herb Robert, grape hyacinth, dandelion, bluebells.

Cooking time – 40 minutes, turned, 40 minutes.

Blanket -none.


New rose leaves, the top 2 pictures show both sides of the leaf.
Flowering currant, the one on the left was printed this time last year in a different pot.
Cranesbill geraniums showing both sides of the leaf.
Herb Robert and astilbe.
Grape hyacinth, dandelions and bluebells.
Elder leaf.

Conclusion – As I already mentioned I chose leaves from plants I know print well, but a lot of plants are not so good at this time of year, the bluebells, grape hyacinth and dandelions didn’t print so well, but it really depends on what you want to use the prints for, sometimes a delicate print is what’s required.

I used a very rusty roasting tin for these prints which I believe has interacted with the leaf tannins to produce the dark prints. But there are so many variables, which for me makes ecoprinting exciting.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – March

March is here, it’s time for more ecoprinting / botanical printing experiments.

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

In the future there will be posts comparing plants for example, and a beginners step by step guide to printing on paper my way.


Pot – Rusty roasting tin

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – Windsor & Newton cartridge paper, watercolour paper

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water, the cranesbill leaves were soaked for about 5 minutes rather than just dipped in rust water.

Plants – dried acer leaves, dried wild cranesbill , aquilegia, new rose leaves, hellebore, gerbera from a bouquet of flowers.

Cooking time – 40 minutes, turned, 40 minutes.

Blanket – hellebore and gerbera being thick flowers benefit from a thick blanket like felt or old blanket.


The gerbera flower in this photo is just the stain coming through from the flower on the other side of the paper.

Conclusion – Aquilegia leaf printed rust , which was unexpected so was the print from the new rose leaf. The dried acer and cranesbill were as good as I expected. The cranesbill prints were dark due to the longer soak in iron water. The bright pink gerbera printed yellow.

As the leaf buds are starting to open next month I will be trying out ecoprinting on paper with new foliage.

Making rust water for ecoprinting.

If you would like to join in and ecoprint later in the year now would be a good time to think about making some rusty iron water.

You need a bucket preferably with a lid (not essential), I use an empty container that fat ball bird food came in. You need some rusty metal items, or just iron items will do. I have nails, a bicycle chain, and pieces of rusty iron that I have picked up on my walks. An old horseshoe, pipe, washers, iron rods or door hinges would be great.

To get my bucket of rust water going quickly I added some wire wool which rusts away quite quickly. Water is then added to the bucket, I think I half filled my bucket but it depends how much iron you have, it’s not an exact science, this is left to sit somewhere where to rust.

Tip – Adding vinegar with the wire wool helps speed up the rusting process.

It takes a while for the iron water to develop but eventually it will look like this. I have tried not to disturb the sludge on the bottom so you can see my bits of metal more easily.

The bucket gets topped up with water now and then so I always have rust water to hand, and I might add more bits of rusty metal when I find them.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – January, part 2.

This is the second post about my ecoprinting / botanical printing journey throughout the year. During my journey I will share photos of my prints in order for you to see what works best at what time of year. Even in the depths of winter we can still achieve good results.

I will try different papers and mordants, dye blankets etc along the way.

If you want to see the results for the rest of the year ( I will post each month) then sign up to my blog to get email notification of new posts or type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box. There will be other posts comparing plants at different times of the year for example, and a beginners step by step guide to ecoprinting on paper, my way.

January – Boil 1. The Control – no mordant or leaf dip.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin

Water – Tap with vinegar, about 2 tablespoons to 2 litres of water.

Paper – Seawhites and Windsor & Newton cartridge paper, printer paper.

Mordant – none

Leaf dip – none

Plants – cranesbill geranium, rose, strawberry, bramble, fern, herb robert, spleenwort.

Cooking time – submerged and boiled 45 minutes , turned and boiled 45 minutes.

Observations -This is my control reference with no mordant or leaf dip.


Boil 2 – as boil 1 except:-

Leaf dip– copper sulphate 2%


Boil 3 – as boil 1 except :-

Mordant – Alum Acetate 2.5%

Leaf dip – copper sulphate 2%


Conclusion – Copper leaf dip gives brighter colours, more gold/ yellow/ brown prints. The fern that printed a light blue green and was totally unexpected. Spleenwort printed rust.

Comparison photo

Top left no mordant or leaf dip, top right no mordant and copper leaf dip. Bottom AA mordant and copper leaf dip.

Eco Printing – Autumn Colours From The Final Leaf Flourish

I am making a push to complete my leafy journey this year before the leaves are gone, I do enjoy working with the seasons.
I went out gathering leaves on Friday as the wind was getting up and they are starting to fall. There’s an acer tree in the village that has lovely small palmate leaves, it’s in a garden but near the wall, I’ve waited for them to start falling over the wall onto the path so I could gather some.

Whilst collecting leaves around my garden I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the trees, Sorbus Cashmiriana is colouring up nicely, and you can see the hosta leaves are golden now, soon they will turn to mush and be gone until next year so no more hosta ceramics until late spring.
UntitledI decided to try a new dye blanket as the iron blanket gave such great results, this one is myrobalan also known as harde powder. The other bundle at the back has the iron blanket. I could see colour forming around the leaves as I rolled my bundles so I couldn’t  wait to unroll them once they had been steamed and cooled.
Eco printed silk scarvesThe colours looked great as I started to unroll the bundles.
Eco printed silk scarvesThese scarves didn’t have a blanket, the leaves were dipped in iron water (for comparison).
Ecoprints on silk

The little acer leaves turned out nicely.

Ecoprints on silkI love the lovely rich amber colour from the myrobalan, in reality these scarves are much brighter than they are showing on my computer screen. The whole scarf is a warm amber colour, some areas deeper than others , the leaves left delicate but beautiful prints.

Ecoprints on silkHere are some closeups of the leaf prints.
Ecoprints on silkThese are the scarves with the iron blanket, these are my favourites.
Ecoprints on silkSome of the leaves were dipped in myrobalan, they are the ones that printed orange. The leaf prints are very detailed, I love the dark outlines on some of the blackberry leaves. The spleenwort printed orange from the myrobalan. I wish it wasn’t so dark today as the colours are richer than they are showing here.
Ecoprints on silk I will be boiling some bundles today, I will tell you how it went in my next post.

Enjoy your Sunday.


New eco printed silk scarves

As part of my plan to work with the seasons I have been eco printing silk scarves in plenty time to stock my shop for Christmas.

I normally steam all my scarves but I’ve bought a huge aluminium pot for fabric dyeing so I thought I’d boil some scarves to see how they would turn out. I love the effect of the twine  from tying the bundles. I got some beautiful and unusual asymmetrical scarves, that  also have a mirror image effect from the folding.

Eco Printed Scarves

This is all one scarf, it has sweet chestnut leaves and geranium.

Close up of a sweet chestnut leaf.Eco Printed Scarves

This shows a print from the other side of a leaf, with twine marks.

Eco Printed Scarves

I love the way the pattern is graded along the length of the scarf, almost like 2 scarves in one, the other end is much lighter. Eco Printed Scarves

I think this scarf is my favourite out of this batch, I love the asymmetrical ends, the rose leaves and the twine marks. Can you see the ‘butterflies’?

Eco Printed Scarves

Eco Printed Scarves

The folding with leaves and onion skins create symmetry. Eco Printed Scarves

Eco Printed Scarves

Eco Printed ScarvesI steamed some scarves as well, these two have been dyed with a food based dye before placing the leaves.
Eco Printed Scarves
Eco Printed Scarves

This one was left the natural silk colour, this scarf has some gorgeous leaf prints showing the detailing from the veins.

Eco Printed Scarves


Eco Printed Scarves

There are more photos and more silk scarves over in my Etsy shop if you would like a look.

I love the eco dying process so much, working with foliage connects me with nature, and sometimes a memorable walk, but also I love not being totally in control and working with serendipity, but of course I don’t always win them all. I printed a cotton T shirt and it looked like someone had washed the floor with it. Not a good look.

I have to prune my apple trees  soon, I hope to make a dye from the shoots and leaves, then make a Japanese cross over back apron top, more to follow.

Eco printing on silk

My fish kettle arrived so I was keen to try it out for eco printing . I bought some broom handles and cut them to the right length. I found plastic pipe would collapse when it was steamed.

UntitledThere aren’t many leaves about now but a lovely lady sent me some vine leaves to experiment with so I was keen to try them, especially the purple ones, I know cotinus gives a lovely purple print so I was hoping these would do the same.  Also I had picked up a bag full of leaves on the way to the shops the other day, I might be getting a reputation as the village mad woman. The mix included oak, beech and sycamore leaves, and fortunately my garden is full of geraniums so plenty of those leaves which print very well.

Here’s some closeups of my new silk scarves which are now in my Etsy shop

Eco printsilk scarvesI love the element of serendipity involved with eco printing, opening the bundle is like Christmas morning. Look at the detail and colour on this vine leaf, I love the way the colour has bled, just like a watercolour.

silk scarf with leavesGeraniums, (that’s cranesbill, not pelargonium) are my favourite leaves to print with, you never know what the colour will be, look at the chartreuse one above and the mottled one below.

silk scarf hand printed

Eco prints on silkThese geraniums are different again, and do you see those seed heads they are burnets. I used to gather those with my Grandpa, he made a wine with them that was a deep purple red like port. I hoped to see that colour but maybe they were picked at the wrong time so I will try again next year.

eco gifts for womenI found some beautiful papers that were in my flower press which I’d forgotten about. I would love to have framed them up but in the end I listed them as craft packs, or folks can frame them themselves.

Eco printed paper for scrap booking bookmaking journaling card making

Eco printed paper packs for paper craftsI’m still waiting for the arrival of the eucalyptus leaves which I ordered ages ago, I have given up on them so if anyone has some I’d happily pay the postage for them.

Enjoy your day 🙂

Eco Printed Silk And Cotton Scarves

I’ve had such a lot of fun eco printing scarves this week. I could happily keep them all, as I  look at them oohing and ahhing,  but as there is so much I want to explore with this technique, and there are only so many scarves a woman needs I have decided that I need to sell some in order to delve deeper into the mysteries of eco printing.

So in order to put them up for sale I needed some good photos, this was easier said than done, I don’t have a mannequin and my neck is a bit too old to show the scarves off to their best.

So I tried laying them out on the floor, as they are eco printed there are some incidental areas and I feel any potential buyer should see the whole scarf.  I didn’t like the look of them on the carpet.

Eco Printed ScarvesI tried taking a video along the length of the scarf.

Then I folded them on a white background, this was better but I want to show the whole scarf and all the delicious details ( more about that later).

Eco Printed ScarvesAfter taking some photos of the details I thought the closeup pictures don’t show that it’s a scarf.

My Mum used to say “Where there’s a will there’s a way” so I got thinking of what I could use as an alternative neck, so I tried the newel post on the stairs, which worked but it was too distracting.

I used a coat hanger, which I hooked over the cupboard door, the scarf is not opened out enough to show the detail.
Eco Printed Scarves

I hung the scarf over the cupboard door which was good in the fact you can see all the pattern detail of the whole scarf in 2 photos.

Eco Printed Scarves

Eco Printed Scarves

If I’m ever going to add  eco printed textiles to my Etsy shop I will have to work on my photos, and get the iron out 🙂 It’s not the best time of year to take great photos, it’s just too dull and dark.

Now back to the detail photos, there are some amazingly detailed and beautiful areas that I want to share.

I mentioned in my last post cotinus leaves are some of my favourites to print with, and how at this time of year they give a purple print and a beige print dependant on how Autumnal the leaf is on the bush. Not sure if that’s the best description, but the ones that are turning give a different colour.
Eco Printed ScarvesYou can also see a rose leaf in the photo above, I love the ghost outline, but others, as you can see below print as a dark leaf, maybe it depends which way up you put the leaf.
Eco Printed Scarves
This photo also shows another lovely printing leaf, geranium (not pelargoniums), here it’s a lovely textured olive green but below it’s not so textured

Eco Printed ScarvesSome have a halo effect
Eco Printed Scarves
Some were a bright yellow green colour


I also got great results with ferns, oak leaves and wild strawberry leaves. I used natural dyes made from logwood, fustic and madder roots for the backgrounds. These gave a lovely rich purple, pale yellow and a soft shell pink respectively.

I find the whole process totally fascinating, and I’m hooked. I want to play around with mordants and pH values to see what happens, and I’m feeling the need to buy a fish kettle so I can work larger.

These scarves are available on my Facebook page.

It’s all about leaves – eco printing and ikebana bowls.

It’s been all about leaves this week, partly because it’s the time of year when you better hurry and pick some before they are gone, and secondly I got the hosta leaf ikebana bowls glazed. You might have seen them on social media but here they are if you missed them.
ikebana vase from Kiln Fired Art

ikebana bowlsI had to go out and pick some plant material to get my photos done, there wasn’t much about but it only shows you can make a beautiful ikebana arrangement with a few twigs and sprigs.

ceramic leaf ikebana containerWhile I was out picking I realised if I wanted to do some eco printing then I would have to do it now, my cotinus had very few leaves left on it.

I wanted to explore printing on wool, the fabric I have was fairly expensive so I’ve been saving it, but I’m not going to progress if I don’t jump in and have a go, so I did.

My fabric was soaked in alum mordant, then the cotinus and dried Acer leaves laid on half the fabric, the other half was folded over smoothed flat then rolled on a plastic pipe and tied with string. Then put in my tin with vinegar , water and a bit of rusty water and boiled for 45 min, turned and boiled again. When I say boiled it was a very very gentle simmer.

After cooling I opened up the bundle and picked off the leaves and washed and dried the fabric. You have to leave it until it’s dry before you can really see how the leaves printed.

I like the way the design looks graded from the outside of the roll to the inside of the roll.

Eco dyeing on wool

The right side was the outside, it takes on more colour and you can see the string marks, which look quite interesting.

UntitledThe background is cleaner in the inside of the roll. What I noticed was the cotinus leaves have printed differently.Untitled

The fresher looking red purple ones printed purple, as they did in summer.


The more Autumnal ones printed an ochre colour


I decided to have another go with some geranium leaves, this time I put some turmeric powder in the water bath.


This is how it looked after 2 hours.


This one doesn’t really grab me, but there’s another challenge. I intend making 2 cushion covers with these. I’m thinking of having the string design on the bottom edge on one side and the lighter fabric to the top and on the reverse.

I think I’m going to have to do some more work on the fabric, maybe some stitching, leaf outlines possibly, or just running stitch, or stitched mark making. Or maybe something else, only I don’t know what, so if you have any ideas please shout up 🙂

UntitledThe other side of the cloth is an even darker mustard from the turmeric, I was surprised how deep the colour turned out. I will certainly use it again.

The postman has brought me some wood chips and roots for dyeing so I think I better grab more leaves before they are gone. Lots to do.

Getting to grips with Instagram, and my frame has arrived

I’ve been trying to up my game on social media, I must admit it’s not really in my nature to do all this social media stuff, but I thought I could manage a daily photo or two on Instagram.

I have been doing this for 2 weeks now, I’ve gained a lot of followers but soon found following everyone back just caused chaos in my feed as I can’t find the people who I like to see whilst having my coffee.

I have shared my Instagram posts onto my Facebook page, ( which I thought was a good thing as FB no longer allow you to post on your personal page from places like WordPress). My insights tell me my reach is up and so is engagement so maybe sharing is a good thing, so long as I’m not boring people and looking spammy.

Twitter doesn’t share your photo, only the Instagram link, do people really click on links?

Getting back to Instagram, in one week I was invited to 2 online galleries, one of which wanted me to pay for the privilege, the other seemed a bit iffy too. That old saying about if it seems to good to be true then it is, came to mind. I was also asked by 2 instagrammies if I wanted to buy followers, why?

All this social media stuff is just not me, it’s wearing and it eats away at my precious time, so you may see a daily post from me but if you really want to know what I’m up to then my blog is the place to be. Having said that I like the immediacy of Instagram, maybe you only see an odd post, like a snapshot of my day, but later you would see the whole story on my blog. I think they work well together.

So what have I been doing this week? Glazing and more glazing, waiting for a break in the weather to do a raku firing. Edited to say this happened yesterday  but  you  will  have to wait a while for my post. 😊 Or look on my Instagram  😀

Working on the Art Elements theme challenge, will show you at the end of the month.

Also my frame arrived for ‘The Thread That Binds Us‘ mixed media artwork, I’m so pleased with this third or is it fourth frame, the colour is just perfect for the artwork, don’t you think? It’s not the best photo, it’s a dark brownish grey which really picks up the darks in the prints.
Sticking down all those squares is a nightmare to get them lined up as the binding thread is not the same length everywhere, maybe that’s a metaphor on life.

I have put a key on the back of the picture with an explanation for each square, plant type, where I found it, memories of the day etc. I love this piece very much but then it is full of memories, I think it’s become one of my most treasured possessions.

You might have read about my struggle to find the right frame, let me know what you think, did I make the right choice?