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.

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I pressed the leaves under a pile of books overnight.

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

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The paper was soaked in water for about an hour.

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The leaves then layed between two pieces of paper.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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,

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

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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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