Exploring Eco Prints with Eucalyptus Leaves on various surfaces: Silk, Felted Wool and Paper
Eco Printing with Eucalyptus leaves has become super popular in the last few years and with good reason. This natural dyeing method is unique in its unpredictability. Meaning, you never know what you are going to get!
If you have tried your hand at eco printing (also called eco dyeing or leaf printing), then you know that each print is completely unique and virtually impossible to recreate exactly.
One of the main variables is the material you are printing on, so I wanted to share with you the different prints that I have achieved when eco printing with Eucalyptus leaves.
Since, I have already thoroughly covered the actual process of eco printing, I won’t go into that here. But, I wanted to show you how vastly different Eucalyptus prints, depending on material and other factors.
There are soooo many different plants, trees, leaves and flowers that make wonderful eco prints but Eucalyptus is special because this grayish – green leaf can give you ORANGE prints. Yes, BRIGHT ORANGE! How fun is that?
The trick to getting orange, however, is the material … namely protein fibers such as 100% Silk or Wool. When printing these leaves on those fabrics, you can get orange.
Note: some dyers have had success getting different colors on non-protein fabrics depending on the mordant they used. Personally, I have not so I can’t give you any info on that yet.
Eco Printing with Eucalyptus on Silk
This was a Habotai Silk Scarf that I printed with Eucalyptus.
Notice the faint imprint of the large leaf on the left? That was the front of the leaf. The bright orange print came from the back of a leaf. In general, the backs of leaves give you a stronger print than the fronts.
I’m not sure why the leaves in the center did not leave a stronger print.
I am pretty sure, though, that Eucalyptus takes a higher temperature and perhaps longer processing time to fully extract the dye. (By all means, confirm or correct me if I’m wrong, please!)
This photo shows the same Habotai Silk Scarf eco printed with the unopened flower buds. In this particular case, the leaves printed green.
Honestly, I am not sure why that is. I did not mordant either the fabric or use a modifier with the leaves.
Eco Printing with Eucalyptus on Felted Wool
This piece shows the back of a leaf and flower buds printed on felted wool and silk sliver (the shiny fibers). The other colors are from dyed wool that was felted on the other side.
Here you can see the fainter eco print of the front of a leaf and some more unopened flower buds.
As before, this is also the felted wool and silk fabric.
Eco Printed Eucalyptus on Paper
Here, you can see the various leaves and flowers laid out on watercolor paper, ready to the eco printed. The Eucalyptus is at the top and left.
And, here you can see the paper after it was steamed. All of these leaves and flowers were dipped in a Copper modifier before printing. The Eucalyptus leaves printed brown.
See here how to make a Copper or Iron Modifier
And here, you can see the way the leaves printed when dipped in an Iron modifier. The Eucalyptus prints are at the top left and right. They came out olive green.
Next, I plan on playing around with different mordants to see how they affect the color of the prints.
As I continue my experimentation with Eco Printing Eucalyptus, I will update this post with new photos. So, make sure and bookmark this page for later updates!
Have you tried Eco Printing? I would love to see your results!
How Do You Make Eco Prints on Paper or Fabric?
Basically, eco printing involves firmly pressing the leaves and flowers to the paper or fabric. This is then tied into a bundle and steamed or boiled for a time.
Here are the full step by step instructions for Eco Printing on Fabric and Eco Printing on Paper.
How Do You Make Iron Water for Eco Printing?
More about Eucalyptus
According to Wikipedia, there are over 700 Eucalyptus trees and shrubs, most of them native to Australia. Not only is eucalyptus useful for natural dyeing and eco printing, but it is known to have powerful health benefits as a decongestant and disinfectant. See the full article here.
Eco Printing Book
If you are new to Eco Printing, check out this Ebook which contains TWO COMPLETE TUTORIALS. One shows you step by step How to Eco Print on Paper and the second one covers Eco Printing on Fabric.