I am a big fan of eco printing but it takes so much set up that I have only tried it a couple times before. I did two separate batches this long weekend and I am so happy with the results! This isn’t all of the papers, but the ones I liked the best.
This first batch came out way more yellow than I would have liked. I used alum for the mordant and added black tea leaves to the pan while boiling. There is a mix of plant material including nasturtium, Japanese maple, hydrangea, eucalyptus, and purple leaf plum (plus an unknown flower I asked a neighbor to let me have when I noticed her dead heading):
This batch I used white vinegar as the mordant, and added instant coffee to the water. I weighed down the bundle with an iron bar, hence the yummy moodiness. I don’t know two of the plants I used as I grabbed them while on a nature walk, but the ones I do know are hydrangea, eucalyptus, and purple leaf plum, maple tree, and some sort of evergreen (maybe Grand Fir):
My favorite ones will become journal covers and the rest probably some pages. I like them so much I think I might scan them and throw them up on Etsy to see how they do as a printable but I am not sure. I have been so put out by Etsy’s pricing model that I closed my shop (I used to sell polymer clay items) like 3 years ago and haven’t bothered selling since.
I definitely have a '“too much” gene. But, having to drag all the supplies off the shelf and all the steps to take to get to the finished product, I figure I should do a bunch when the mood strikes. The worst part is I also have a craft supply hoard problem, so even the ones I don’t like I will probably not get rid of. Until it gets overwhelming and I throw everything out at once. I do that like once every 18 months or so. And then I build the hoard anew
Craft hoarding is a real thing! And many of us struggle with it. I also like to make in bulk for things that are a little mor involved or time consuming. Even when it’s not something like that, I think about how I would do it to get an economy of scale if I wanted to. I almost never want to.
The process I used (and there are different ways to do this, lots of YouTube tutorials with different methods) is:
Used a spray bottle with a mix of the mordant & water on each paper front and back (1 tbs alum, 1 c water in the yellow set; white vinegar 50/50 with water in the darker set)
layered the vegetation between each paper to make a lasagna
secured the lasagna together between two pieces of cardboard, and then wire racks on either side and tied it TIGHT with twine.
laid the bundle in a roasting pan with enough hot water to cover
added in my additives on top and gave it a swirl (alum, black tea leaves in yellow set; vinegar, instant coffee and the iron bar in the darker set) I did not measure but I guess it would have been 2 TB of alum in set 1, and 1.5 cups of vinegar in set 2. Total water … I don’t know but at least a gallon. the pan is big
covered and stuck in the oven at 425 for 2 hours - note you really need the roasting pan for this to work in the oven else it will be a mess.
Thank you so much for explaining the process, it’s very different from what I was imagining. I can definitely understand your desire to maximize your time and materials. It’s neat to see the variety of results. I keep going back and zooming in just to see all the different leafy and flowery textures you managed to capture.