A Try at Eco Leaf Printing

I have had one previous try at eco printing which didn’t turn out very well. But after Terriea’s recent post, I thought I would give it another go. You can see the process I followed on this post on my personal blog. I did some prints on paper as well, which you can see here. We used a variety of leaves. We did not have the correct kind of eucalyptus so the kind we used is the dried kind that must be artificially dyed. Where you see the bright blue green color on the fabric, it is from that kind of eucalyptus.

bundlesHere are the bundles that I rolled up with the leaves and cooked in the dye pot. I did one piece of silk, two felted scarves and one scarf that is a wool and silk blend. I also dyed several pieces of cotton too.

just opened fabricThese are the scarves after I opened them up and pulled off the leaves. So I did get some color but the leaf prints were still very vague. I was disappointed that you couldn’t see a leaf impression. The paper did much better than the fabric.

leaf impressionHere is a print that almost looks like a leaf. This is silk habotai.

The gallery above shows different portions of the silk. The silk seemed to work best with the leaf prints and took in the most color. I am planning on using this piece of silk for a nuno scarf.

These are photos of the cotton pieces. I didn’t do any leaf prints with these, just threw them into the different dye baths. I have to say that Zed made a comment a while back about some of the natural dye processes just leaving the fabric looking dirty and I agree that some of these fabrics look like dirty dish rags. But perhaps I will find that they will be the perfect background for a project.

And these last photos are of the wool items. The wool did get some color but again, I wasn’t really happy with the “prints”. My plan now is to add free motion machine stitching to the felted scarves in patterns of leaves with fall colored thread. Hopefully, that will make them a bit more attractive. πŸ™‚

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10 Responses to A Try at Eco Leaf Printing

  1. Lyn says:

    The colours are good and I’m sure that free motion stitching with fall coloured thread will look great – looking forward to seeing it.

  2. Marilyn Nelson says:

    Ruth there is no doubt in my mind you will make jewels out of the experiments! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see. I’ve never tried the Eco dying either, but it’s definitely worth trying even if the results aren’t perfect. The turquoise on the cotton looks nice. I’m surprised the cotton took so much color.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Marilyn – the turquoise color is on the wool scarf so it wasn’t cotton. I really liked the results on paper and I’m sure if I kept working at it that the results would be better. I’m not sure how much more I’ll try though.

  3. I am afraid I am with Zed on this one. It does nothing for me. even the ones I see with district leaf patterns still look dirty to me. I think it must be the brown and orange shades you get. Once you get them stitch I am sure they will look wonderful. I would be discouraged and toss them in a box.

    • ruthlane says:

      Several of the ones that I dyed twice were in a box for the longest time. The stitching is the last ditch effort at this point. If that doesn’t work, I’m not sure what I will do with them.

  4. zedster66 says:

    Well, if anyone can make something good out of a dirty dish rag Ruth, you can πŸ™‚ I like the photo of when you opened them up, it reminds me of rhubarb leaves as they start to change colour. Some of the patterns on the silk are nice, they look more like indistinct aboriginal cave paintings, probably because of the colour.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Zed – I’m not so sure but we’ll see. I did like the silk and the wool I dyed at the same time will be perfect for nuno felting.

  5. kwinter12 says:

    I haven’t had much luck with this technique either – but you did get some interesting prints on the silk. You could try some overdyeing with indigo using itajime (clamping) shibori on the brown/orange natural dyed fabric – the dark blue sets off those bronzey colours really well. πŸ™‚

    • ruthlane says:

      Good idea on the indigo. The only problem is that I don’t have any more right now. But I definitely could overdye and use the clamping technique.

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