Eco printing

Printing and dying with nature

Eco printing on washpapa - tutorial

Eco-printing is a technique thanks to which the shapes, structures and colors of leaves and flowers are reflected on fabrics and on washpapa.
Leaves, flower petals wrapped in fabric, are cooked to release their natural dyes hidden inside plants, creating a so-called shape impression on a piece of fabric, called the ‘ecological print’.

Each printed material created this way is unique and one of its kind. Placing every leaf by hand creates an individual pattern, which also creates an individual color palette.

The colors change with the changing seasons, and certain color combinations may not be available in subsequent growing seasons in subsequent years.

We conducted our first experiment in summer using fresh leaves of maple palm, plum, milli and kiwi.
White washpapa Aged was additionally dyed with turmeric, thanks to which we obtained a beautiful, yellow color.

And here is what our first experimental eco-print process looked like, inspired by videos we found on You Tube:

In a tall pot, mix water with ┬ż cup of vinegar, press washpapa in and simmer for about an hour. The vinegar mixture is to ensure better durability of the designs.

Pull the boiled washpapa out of the pot and rinse with cold water.

Next, place fresh leaves on washpapa in any pattern you like. Our leaves had earlier been placed in a freezer – this is an informative piece of advice we found on the Internet. Other sources suggested soaking the leaves in rusty water or a vinegar solution with water (50:50). Rusty water is supposed to add definition to our leaves.

Fold the decorated washpapa in half – covering the leaves and once in half and then roll it quite closely on a jar. To secure the material on the jar, wrap it with twine.

Now, it is time to boil washpapa again. We dip the jar covered with washpapa in the same vinegar water that we used to boil our washpapa sheet. We boiled it for about 4 hours. Unfortunately, at this stage, we added two rusty nails to cooking – they did not give a glow that we expected but just tinged washpapa outside in gray ;-( After removing the twine, our washpapa piece looked like a gray piece of ham ­čÖé

The next stage is drying combined with ironing. We sprayed washpapa heavily with water  and ironed it to straighten creases created during rolling on the jar.
And it is done! Finally, we can see what we created with natural printing on washpapa, which was a combination of many sources of information found on the web.

Was the experiment successful? YES. It turned out it is not that difficult.
Are we happy with the outcome? Not yet … It was the first attempt.
Next time, we will dye washpapa Aged sahara – we think that the shades of brown will be beautifully corresponded with the natural shapes and colors of the leaves. Katalpa also creates beutiful orange prints.

We wish you good luyck with your eco printing! Post your pictures on social media and share your experience with us.