Eco Printing Onto a Silk Chiffon Scarf by Terriea Kwong

Eco Printing Onto a Silk Chiffon Scarf by Terriea Kwong

Our guest writer today is Terriea Kwong who has very kindly written a tutorial for us about eco printing onto silk.


This is the basic and simple way to do prints on silk chiffon.

a1. Materials used : eucalyptus cinerea leaves (silver dollar), 100% silk chiffon, vinegar, paper core roll, string and rubber bands. Well wash the fabric before use. Can be used when it’s wet or after it’s dried.

b2. Before putting leaves over the chiffon, dip in vinegar water.

cc3. Put the leaves over chiffon, 2-3 folds diagonally, put a little more leaves over it.

dd4. Then half fold it.

ee5. Roll up with the paper core roll tightly.

ff6. Bundle with rubber band, then tie with string.

gg7. Boil with some eucalyptus barks and the same sort of euc leaves (silver dollar) with 1/4 cup of vinegar.

hh8. After 1.5-2 hours boiling, unbundle it. The dye pot can be re-used.

ii9. Dark when it’s still wet.

jj10. Remove all leaves.

kk11. Dry in shade, then rinse and dry in air.

ll12. A scarf is made.

mm Tie lines and shades of eucalyptus leaves prints:

nn Soft and airy scarf:

oo This is silk chiffon, so color is a bit soft:

ppI’m pleased to share with like-minded and workshops can be arranged individually. Contacts via below:

My blog :

My email :

My page :


Thanks a lot to Terriea for this excellent guide to eco-printing and dyeing 🙂 Terrie gets great results printing and dyeing, here is a gallery of some of her other work:

55 thoughts on “Eco Printing Onto a Silk Chiffon Scarf by Terriea Kwong

    1. Thank you Zed for the chance to share. Lisa, I thought most florists sell the eucalyptus cinerea (silver dollar) which are used for bonquets decoration.

  1. Beautiful work and clear tutorial, Terrie. Thanks for sharing. Do you have to use florist leaves or can you use use the leaves from the craft stores?

    1. Marilyn, for this sort of euc I bought from florist. Our local craft stores do not have fresh leaves. Sometimes I pick the windfalls. They work well for brown or green colors.

    2. Thanks Terrie. I’ll have to investigate local florists. I’m in the Midwest so this is not something I can pick fresh. I may have to tap my friends in other parts of the country when I try this.

  2. Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve been meaning to try this out and hopefully will get a chance this fall. Do you use a different mordant for cotton fabrics besides the vinegar? Do you know of other leaves that print well besides the eucalyptus?

    1. For cotton mordant used for better result. Some soak in soy milk, some soak in alum, some in iron water or others. Depends on what sorts of leaves. Many kinds of leaves can print well, rose leaves are easily got. You may try it.

  3. Thank you for posting your tutorial. I had just found your blog this past week and love your cat, Mogi and that you’ve used cat hair for some of your pieces. Are the leaves soaked in vinegar or just dipped? Is it straight vinegar or vinegar water? If it’s water and vinegar what is the ratio? Is the string the resist or the rubber band? I’m just learning so have many questions. Thank you again.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, cats’ hair or dogs’ hair are also good for felting when mixed with wool. The leaves are only dipped in diluted vinegar water, portion about 1/5. The tie marks on the scarf are both rubber band and strings. No prob for sharing my experience, not a prob for any problems if I know ~.~

  4. Oh Terrie It´s a lovely work you have done!! This is the best tutorial I see to learn eco prints. It´s fabulous. You are a great teacher.!!! Congratulations.

  5. Oh man this scarf is so pretty. Thanks for sharing. If I can’ get the bark is there something else that would work to give same color ways? Thank you again for sharing this.

    1. Thanks Sherry. Tea, onion skins or any other plants can be used. The same eucalyptus leaves and branches also give fantastic color.

  6. Thank you for this! When you say “biol with a quarter cup of vinegar” do you mean only a quarter cup total of liquid? Or should I also add water? In other words, should the bundle be covered iwth liquid, only partly covered, or steamed?

    1. Thanks Sylvia. Always dilute vinegar with water in the pot for this sort of printing and boil in water cover up the whole bundle in water. Steam is also OK but no need to mix vinegar in water.

  7. I also am wanting to learn this way of printing on scarves etc, but in the meantime I purchased one of Tierras scarves and a broach and they are awesome@ I love them so much and am proud to wear them. Very fast shipping and very reasonable. Thank you Tierra for the tutorial!

    1. Thank you Dawn for your support. Nice that you received the scarf and brooch. Hope you will make the scarf one day. Any queries I’m around.

  8. HI Terriea,

    Just to say I found your blog the other night and totally loved it, especially as it features your beautiful cats too! LIke you I have found that hair from long haired cats felts very well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s delightful!

    May I ask a couple of questions – one is do you find that boiling damages the lustre of the silk at all? I had understood that it could do so, but perhaps it depends on the type of silk? It’s not a material I’ve worked with at all so don’t know much about it but would like to start now to use it with eco printing.

    Also I have come across several people on line using vinegar in this process but am puzzled, as to the best of my knowledge vinegar alone does not act as a mordant, only as an assistant when mordanting with copper sulphate to help ensure uptake of the copper. I would love to use just vinegar as it is much more eco friendly but need to be confidant the prints will stay fast to light and washing. Or does it serve another purpose in the process? Do you use it on wool as well?

    Many thanks and please tell your cats they have a worldwide fanclub – although I think they may already know…!

    1. Thank you Eve. In my experiments the bundling boiling of silk does shrink a bit (depends on type of silk fabric) but not affect lustre. I use vinegar sometimes just to fix the color firm. Also I only soak or dip the leaves in vinegar instead of soaking the whole piece of fabric in vinegar that is too much and a waste. For wool dyeing or imprints are the same for me.
      Enjoy natural printing!

  9. Hi Terrie i love your work it is beautiful.i noticed you mentioned you can use( iron) with eco painting were do i get it is it a powder or just things a round the house or a pellet

    1. Thank you Diana. Yes I tried the black and white painting with iron. That is the mixture of iron water and cochineal to make the “ink” . Iron water is just made with any household rusty objects like nail, can, pipe…. Pour 1:1 glass of water and vinegar together with rusty object, let sit for someday to develope iron water. Crush cochineal crystal and put little hot water to make the purple water, very concentrated water. If you want darker ink, mix more iron water. If you want less or gray, you mix less iron. You can mix and brush like Chinese painting. Hope this explains well.

    1. Diana, I’m going to list a pdf tutorial file on my ETSY you’ll follow the clear steps. If you like I can send you link in early Dec once finalised.
      Thanks for your interest.

  10. How much water in the pot with the 1/4 cup of water? Will this same technique work on cotton & linen? I’m so hoping my material comes out just as beautiful.

  11. After you put the bark and leaves in the pot is there standard amount of time to boil the water before you put the material in the water? I was just wondering how long to boil the pieces before dropping in the silk bundle.

    1. You can put bundle in water and start the boiling but count the time when it is at boiling point for 1.5 hours is fine. Bigger piece needs a bit longer time.

  12. Your tutorial is very nicely put together and definitely worth the price. You are very kind to answer so many question when you could easily direct them to your Etsy shop!

  13. Hi
    This is very cool and very inspiring!!!!
    I was just wondering if it’s necessary to steam the silk scarves after dying to ‘set’ the colors when dying them naturally?

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, my practice is after cool dyeing I’d like to steam a while, say 15 min, not to hot to fix color. Alternative is heat the dyeing pot with the scarf in. Leave it cool to have strong color.

    1. If you soak the dried euc in water it may still print, depends on species. It will not have the same effect as fresh ones.

  14. Hi Terry thank you, l admire your carefully and pricisly done prints. What wander me recently lightfastness and washfastness of ecoprinted scarves. After l dry my evoprinted scarves l iton thrm and leave them for 10 days and then l doak them in vineger water(1 part vineger 5 parts water) for 1 hour. Some people suggest skimming it. What is your process for fixing the color on your ptotein fabric. By the way at the days we were shaving the mainly dogs but somethimes cats in my vet. Practice l was not happy throwing this nice and soft hair away. I was always making a joke about making them a pillow but using thrm in felt is a wise idea 😊

    1. Hi Solmaz, with regard to color fast on animal protein fabric such as silk, wool. My practice do not need to soak in vinegar as I personally find some leaves are very impressive and bold such as eucalyptus, iron mordant pine needle and rose laves those have much tannin are quite good. Cats and dogs soft hair are good for felting. I sometimes do with my cat’s hair for vessel, container of pictures. You can make use of it too.

  15. Great… thanks for the tips you share especially followed with clear explanations . I bet I would try to make one then.

  16. Thank you, thank you Terriea! An easy and clear tutorial with beautiful results. I’ve been researching this sort of botanical printing for the last couple of days and was feeling rather bummed that I would have to wait to order a mordant like Alum, or to develop one with vinegar and rusty metal. But this is something I can do without waiting for those items. Yay!

    1. Glad that you find it simple and easy. For more further printing techniques alum is good to apply. Enjoy and explore bounty from nature.

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