Here’s an old experiment that I haven’t shared on here yet. Waratahs are native Australian plants with luscious, bright red flower heads.
I had a beautiful waratah that was looking a bit old. It had turned purple and the individual flowers were starting to fall off. So I gathered them up and decided to try eco-printing on paper with them.
First I sprinkled them over a small piece of watercolour paper.
Then I wrapped and tied this around a rusty metal tin.
I cooked the tin in simmering water in a dye pot for about half an hour then let it cool before unwrapping it to see what colours and patterns had emerged.
The shapes of each flower showed up clearly, outlined in dark black where the natural dyes have interacted with the rusty tin. The rust also created lovely orange speckles across the background.
Using a rusty tin is one of my favourite methods for eco-printing on paper. It helps you get striking results even if your plant materials don’t contain much dye. This simple technique can be adapted to any leaf or flower that you want to try (as long as they are not toxic, of course!)
I have also experimented with using waratah leaves for eco-printing on cotton. I was able to coax out a small amount of colour, but I probably wouldn’t try it again as there are many other types of leaves that give stronger results.