Botanical Printing

What is botanical printing? Also called eco printing, it is a direct contact print technique which coaxes the natural pigments and tannins from plants with heat. I use mostly leaves, but prints can also be made from bark, flowers, berries, and other plant parts. The dye from some plants and trees, like the black walnut tree, are strong dyes that don’t easily wash out or fade in the sun. Those are called substantive dyes. Other plants produce color that doesn’t last on the fabric and are called fugitive dyes. Most berries and flowers fall into the fugitive dye category. Most natural dyes are considered “mordant dyes” because they require a mordant, usually before dyeing, to be colorfast. The key (and the fun!) is in experimenting with local plants and leaves.

Scarf Before eco printing
Before: Sumac, Eucalyptus, Rose + other leaves laid out on silk
eco print close-up
After steaming 1.5 hours: prints on iron mordanted silk

Thanks for visiting!

View botanical prints in my ETSY SHOP

A Few Resources on Botanical Printing and Natural Dye

MAIWA Guide to Natural Dyes

India Flint‘s book, Eco Colour, got me started.
Wild Colour by Jenny Dean – my manual for natural dyes and mordants.
Mordanting instructions for natural dyes on the website.

Thanks to my many excellent instructors over the years, from around the world:

  • Jeanne Manrique, Minnesota USA
  • Caroline Nixon, England
  • Irit Dulman, Israel
  • Robbin Firth, Minnesota USA
  • Nicola Brown, Ireland
  • Linda Illumanardi, California USA
  • Pia Best, Germany


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