Deciduous leaves eco-print

I’ve been busy testing a range of different leaves, using the eco-printing method described in my first ebook. Although that ebook focuses on eucalyptus leaves, which are still my favourite, the method works well for many other leaves. This is a sampler of mixed deciduous leaves: oak, blackberry, cotinus (smokebush) and two types of maple. I am going to be compiling all of my tests into a new mini-ebook, a guide to different leaves that print well. It will cover a mix of native Australian and foreign leaves, focussing on those that grow in temperate climates. I hope that this will help readers who don’t live surrounded by eucalyptus trees, or who just want to try new leaves.

Eco-printing with mixed leaves: maple, oak, blackberry, cotinus

7 thoughts on “Deciduous leaves eco-print”

  1. I’m interested in which Maple leaves you have used. I have a snake bark Maple that is just colouring up for Autumn. Should I use the leaves green or red to get best results?

    1. It is fine to use the leaves both red or green. It is only in early spring when the leaves mostly have chlorohyll that you won’t get good results. In summer and autumn there are higher tannin levels, among other pigment changes, so you will get better results then. I’m not good at IDing maple species, but I have gotten good eco-prints from every one I have tried so far.

    1. I think it looks a little more purple in the photo than in real life. Smokebush/ cotinus is good for purple prints on cotton.

  2. Jennifer Harrison

    Do you know what the secret to obtaining turquoise or blue on smokebush leaves when e printing on paper? What would be the suggested mordants to use?

    1. Hello, sorry for the slow reply. It’s been a while since I eco-printed with smokebush on paper. I know I sometimes got blue/turquoise printing onto plain watercolour paper. I suggest trying a few different varieties of both the green and purple leaves, and possibly trying a few different brands of paper too. I think I often got purple from it when I wrapped the paper around a rusty can.

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