Earthy ! using organic dye to give earthy tones to Eco-prints

Eco printing is my very favorite technique of all ! Creating beautiful marks on Upcycled paper and fabric with some leaves discarded by nature ! What better way is there to recycling while being creative ?

I am so eager to teach anyone who wants to hear me about it and I run a number of classes in Scotland to give “wannabe eco printers a head start !” All details on my post about Dyeing, Printing and Eco Printing ! or my FULL COURSE LIST But read below how I went even further in my quest for Upcycling nature this week by foraging in my composting bin to add colour to my prints 🙂 it’s a lovely past time and … you save the Earth !

You definitively should give this a try …

Recycling paper last week I noticed my box of onion peels was overflowing… Do you have this annoying habit of collecting onion peels when you are visiting the green grocer? I have been for weeks now collecting both yellow and red onions peels and this week was the right moment to for using them.

But then what to do with them? I decided to add them to my eco printing experiments and it turned out a wonderful pile of earthy coloured prints in shades of warm yellow, browns and cream mix of art board and simply glorified lining paper…

Each little pile of skins was transferred to a sauce pan and covered with hot water, I then steamed them for one hour before poring them through a colander to get rid of the discoloured skins. The coloured liquid transferred to a Tupperware type container. But I shared the yellow liquid in a second container and added a small quantity of ferrous sulphate to turn it into a deep brown colour.

I then diped small cuts of both watercolour paper and some glorified lining paper into each liquid for up to 30 mns to dye them. They were left to dry to be used the second day to eco print.

Using some autumn leaves rehydrated in lukewarm water I bundled them onto the paper before rolling the lot onto a bit of piping insulation and steaming them in my boiler for one hour.

And the result is amazing, the ferrous sulfate I used for mordanting the paper has modified the original died paper into lovely deep colours and in most cases transferred on the resist paper together with part of the leaf print…

I just have to decide to do with my lovely collection now. I think some of them would be lovely to just frame as a work of art… all very natural !

I am looking forward now to try on larger size paper… I will make a try this week using Soya milk for mordanting… Its a safer option I have heard about to keep the process safe to use with children.


Betty x

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