Eco-printing with Handmade Paper

Recently, my friend gave me leaves she had collected on a recent trip to Florida.  I was anxious to discover whether or not they would produce botanical prints.  While I usually eco-print on cloth, I decided to experiment with handmade paper.  I have collected a small assortment of handmade paper–some purchased on Etsy and some gifted by a paper-making friend.  In addition, I had a few sheets of Fabriano paper leftover from another project.

I started by gathering the leaves from Florida, which I had frozen for preservation:  cape myrtle, bougainvillea, live oak and sumac.  Although I had never before printed with these particular leaves, I had read about the possibilities.  I also decided to do “leaf dips” with various modifiers:  vinegar, pickle juice, and iron water.  My kettle was filled with plain water and a small amount of diluted sandalwood powder for color.

I simmered the kettle for an hour and then removed the paper bundles immediately.  I have observed in my past paper experiments that additional time in the pot was not beneficial–the paper began to disintegrate in some cases.  I have preserved the leaves and will do further experimentation.  (Only the live oak leaf did not print!)  Below are the results:

Sumac leaves printed on handmade paper with sandalwood
Bougainvillea leaves eco-print
Handmade paper rolled with plants on a copper pipe
Sumac leaf print on handmade paper with deckled edges
Cape myrtle leaves on Fabriano paper with sandalwood

Author: luvswool and dyestuff

Natural dyer. Chemist. Chicagoan. Felter. Weaver. Embroiderer.

2 thoughts on “Eco-printing with Handmade Paper”

  1. Whenever a leaf does not print, I simply move on to the next leaf. I am saving the papers as testament to my experiments. A few of them will fly out my door as well wishes cards and/or thank-you notes. Thank you so much for your contributions to my printing projects!


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