Eco Printing – what’s it all about?

I’ve been reading about and seeing many images of eco printed textiles and papers so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not taken with the technique when used for clothing  but like the idea for paperwork.

Everything I’ve read says that fallen leaves and flowers should be used – I’m unsure if this is for ethical reasons or if the resultant colour is better but as it’s the start of summer I went with what I had from my garden. A selection of what I found along with a few rusty nails and keys.


I pressed the leaves under a pile of books overnight.


The only paper I had to hand was 200grms watercolour – torn into small test-sized squares


The paper was soaked in water for about an hour.


The leaves then layed between two pieces of paper.


Each sandwich was numbered and a note of which leaf  it contained.


I also soaked some paper in soya milk as I’d read it was a good mordant. I  repeated the layering then placed   cardboard at the top and bottom, bound them together tightly with rubber bands.


Not following H&S rules I used my steamer. I placed the bundle in it and weighed it down with a kilo weight from my kitchen scales.


It was left to simmer for about an hour and a half.


Oh yes, one leaf I dipped into rust water (a jar containing iron nails etc) and it was the first one I looked at.


The rest I left overnight.

The nails and keys were disappointing – I’ll keep to my tried method of rust printing – steaming does nothing for the process.


The next ones for the reveal were those on the soya paper. The plant material stuck to the paper, the card suck to the paper…….not a success. It looks as if the process has worked but the colouration is from the residue leaves,


The water soaked paper was easier to clean up but the thin geranium leaf still stuck.


Conclusion: Very disappointed with the results. The rose and bramble leaves worked the best. I’d hoped to be able to make pieces for greetings cards but none were clear enough – looked more like the results of a spilled cup of coffee over paper which had then been cut up. However I’ll keep the pieces ……..never know when they may come in useful!


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