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