Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Eco Printing on Paper

Eco Printing has fascinated me to no end. I finally watched some Youtube videos last week and Friday decided it's now or never! And in the last four days I have made four batches!
 I had inherited a perfect pan from my mother in law which held my 11x14 papers nicely. I used 90lb. watercolor paper then added a couple sheets of Bristol to see how it did. It performed great also.
I decided to be more organized while assembling my second batch and took photos of each layer. I also wanted to know what plants were making which colors and what not to bother repeating. It was also interesting to see the difference in the top and bottom of the prints.
Layer 1, oak leaves, cotteneaster, (don't know the burgundy plants name.) I loved the round impressions the Cotteneaster leaves made. This is one of my favorites.

Layer 2, dried pressed maples from my fall trip, honey locust and tiny seed thingies from the neighbors tree that is also unfamiliar. The seed things grow into helicopter like seeds similar to a maple and left great tiny black specs in the paper. (I've pressed a ton of these for later use.)

Layer 3, decided to try more of my saved pressed leaves from our trip out east plus a couple rusty washers and nails and three chrysanthemum leaves. (The dried things proved to work just fine.)

Layer 4, more dried leaves. The ginkos turned out a lot paler but gave off a bit of yellow color. I sprinkled seed buds from just finished blooming Victoria Blue Salvia. It left some wonderful blue marks.

Layer 5, more honey locust, purple pansy petals, Victoria Blue Salvia stems with seed buds sprinkled.  These added a little purple and blue to the mix. Note the rusty area that bled through from the leaf underneath the paper.

Layer 6, honeysuckle (very subtle), crepe myrtle leaves (the darkest), rose leaves (impressed with those), pink salvia and more seed things from the neighbors.

My top layer, for weight and just to see what it would do. I love what it did!

This is a view of all the back sides except the first layer.
I placed an 8x11 sheet of index paper 90lb on the very bottom of the pan and it left this great border.

And because the pan was dark and blotchy look how cool this paper turned out! Even though it was 90lb, it was so fragile I had to be extra careful while rinsing it. I did this on each batch and everyone turned out different.

 I topped off all my layers with a piece of 2x12 wood and a brick. Added water I had already brought to a boil in a kettle and added about 1/2 C of vinegar.  Brought it to a boil again and simmered for 2 hrs. My third batch was only simmered 30 minutes and did just as good. Let it set to cool and then rinsed. (I've read of people only cooking for 10 minutes or so too. Or even baking in the oven.)
These are the papers I used.

One batch I sprinkled a few coffee grounds on some of the papers. It didn't leave speckles like I had hoped but it did give a warmer tone to the papers.
Today's batch I added a pinch of turmeric and some ground cloves to one sheet. (Half pinch would have been enough enough, but three layers down looked great.)

 Chinaberry blossoms make great prints, as do the leaves.

Flowers that left interesting marks. Pink peony petals, red rose petals, daisy petals, red poppy petals and their black stamens, Chinaberry blossoms.
Other things. Strips of purple fountain grass and miniature monkey grass cut up in half inch lengths. (Reminded me of chopped chives.)

Even the papers that were so-so, will be great for journaling. I know I will be cutting some up and making little books. I recently found someone on Instagram who is a dyeing maniac.  It would be so awesome to take a class from her. I just drooled over her whole Instagram feed for a couple hours last night. You can find her at @orlyavineri

And if you want to watch "The Big Reveal", my neighbor came over and I filmed us rinsing the papers. (Ignore the part about 140 lb. paper, it was 90lb.) on Vimeo.


  1. Fascinating project and beautiful results. I will be reading more about it!

  2. I have never heard of this until now. I always love the things you explore. You keep life interesting.

  3. These are gorgeous! Great step by step. Have to get out the box of rusty things & go gather some leaves soon. Love the grey tones.
    Pulp Paper & Pigment-My Fiber Art Blog


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