A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ecoprint: poles and kettle

As a lot of people experience difficulty with the final results, I want to discuss all materials with you before we get started.
Today we're gonna check the poles and kettle needed for ecoprint.
First of all, any pole which can stand the heat will do ;-). The thicker, the better.
Remember, we are going to wind the fabric around the pole. If it is too thin, too many layers of fabric will prevent the ironsulfate and the heat to get to the innerside.

Wooden pools from a broom work fine, please let them soak for a few days to get them heavy. You might even soak them in iron sulfate (causing the black colour) so you have a inner source of iron to bring to your fabric when boiling.

Branches with or without bark also work fine, providing a more natural and rough result.
The tannin in the bark will also play a role in the process.

Square bars will also work but you will notice the side fold, especially if the bars keep floating in the kettle.

You can see the bar-stripes here clearly:

We really need to boil our leafs into the fabric for 2 to 3 hours, so, find a pot/kettle for this special purpose as you cannot use it afterwards for food-cooking!!!

I use a 'weckkettle' (don't know how it is called in english), which has a thermostat, useful when it has to cook for 1 or 2 hours.

Ofcourse a rice cooker will do as well but it is very small. And any other big pot on the fire will do, like this old copperpot:

 Actually any pot will do but it is hard to control the permanent cooking in a regular pot:
(A kitchen full of smoke made my husband decide to ban me permanently from the kitchen ;-). That's were the 'weckkettle' came in.

Friday we will discuss types of cotton. In the meantime let your poles get saturated by water.


  1. Nice to cover all the basics first. I'm getting anxious to get to the next level! :)

  2. Sorry Diane, I heard many people complain about their final results and that's all because they didn't understand the process well enough, so I'll take it step by step but I promise you it's worthwile waiting ;-). If you really can't wait, check the tutorial on my website: http://www.nienkesmit.nl/p/ecoprints-tutorial.html and see if that is helping you out.

  3. Weckkettle in English (I think) would be called a "crockpot" I'm really enjoying these posts... so inspiring!Thank you.

  4. Thank you Ann, might be crockpot or perhaps weck electric boiler, I found this one:

  5. Hi Nienke...gathering all my supplies....
    If I am going to use tree branches instead of broom handles do I still have to soak them before use?


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