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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: bonus - let's sunprint first

This is the last of my ecoprint posts. Zo let's share a bonus find.

I made a sunprint with my fabric with a mixture of a cup of soymilk, and a teaspoon of procion mx and soda-ash.

That turned out rather pretty, but different as thought.

Now that it was mordanted with soy-milk, I might try ecoprinting on it as well:

That makes a nice combination as the sunprint is strong enough to stand the heat. This gives a whole new range of possibilities!! Let's save that for another year.

Thank you for joining me this month full of ecoprinting with cotton and please share your blogposts and results in the comments as we might all learn from you as well!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: like a painting

Sometimes, the randomly placed leafs turn out to be a little picture in itself. Because of the wrapping, the outer part of the fabric will be darker than the inner part. That makes a nice 'still life'!
You might even try to make your own little 'still life':

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: coloured fabric

As all dyers, I have a basket full of 'not so pretty' cloth, this is excellent stuff to overprint with ecoprints!

I prefer these autumn colours. And the turquoise makes a special impression too. Try whatever you think of as 'ugly fabric', it can't get worser and most of the time, it will give you a pleasant surprise!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: not just gray

At this point, you will have found that if you use a plain white fabric, it will turn out gray.

I also tried to get some background colours from natural dyes, like cochineal. Just add the natural dye stuff to the pot when boiling your wraps and it will colour your fabric as well!

This pink color is actually cochineal:

And this one too:

The result is subtle but noticeable!
Other colouring options you can try are avocadopits or skins (saumon orange), turmeric powder,  red wood or pokeweed.

This is not a very good print ;-) but you can perfectly see the redwood colour:

And these are avocado pits (without a print)

Actually, I got quite disappointed at this stage of dyeing, so I decided to overdye some of my procion MX stuff ;-), will show them on friday!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: not just black

We've seen many black prints on fabric now, all resulting from the iron (II) sulphate.

But there are some other possibilites as well. A few leaves are printing color on the surface during this boiling process. Especially when alum is used as a pre-mordant.

A specific type of garden geranium is printing green:

American indigo is printing a soft green (and such a lovely shape)

Blackberry sometimes turns out yellowgreen (like birch leafs too)

Eucalyptus is printing an orange red:

And recently I discovered Aquilegia is printing orange/red

So, what are your finds?

NB. This post from Threadborne is an excellent overview of colours obtainable by eco print:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: Let the boiling begin!

Now that discussed all aspects, let's start wrapping and boiling:

1. Put the mordanted and wrung cloth flat on a piece of plastic
2. Put a few leaves on the surface. Note: the back of the leaf gives the sharpest prints.

3. Put a second piece of fabric (or the other half) over the first piece.

4. Take a round wooden stick and roll the folded cloth tightly and evenly around it
5. Bind it all off with string - not too tightly and not too loosely.

6. Fill the kettle / pot with enough water to put the wrapped rolls under water and add 1 teaspoon of iron (II) sulphate.
7. Let the sticks slide into the pan and bring the water to boil slowly.

8. The color of the leaves is extracted by boiling vigorously for at least two hours.

9. Cool the pan and remove the rolls from the water letting them rest over night or even longer.

10 .Open up the wrapped poles and remove the leaves. Rinse well with cold water and wash them in warm water with a mild soap.

** Hint ** The dye pot has a long shelf life as well and is reusable until it is exhausted.

Next week, we will check possibilities with adding colour!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: the leaves

Now we're almost there, but we still have to discuss the most important part, which leaves to use!

Remember I said it's all about tannin boiling into the fabric which reacts with the iron (II) sulfate? So, we need leaves containing tannin. The most commonly known is oak leaf. Any type will do.

Another 'guaranteed to succeed' leaf is gardengeranium

Others are 'Alchemilla'


Rose, Spanish Maple and Blackberry:

Sweet chestnut leaf

Walnut leaf

So,  this list is just a shortlist of leaves that are succesfull in my dyepot. The leaves do not need to be dry or prepared in any way. Try the leaves from your own garden to see which will work for you! And don't forget to share your finds in the comments!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: (pre)mordanting the fabric

As Cotton is a difficult fabric to get your leafprints on , we need to (pre)mordant the fabric.

Because most commercial fabrics have been starched or coated, it is always best to scour the fabric using a hot water wash or by soaking it a few hours or even a day or two in a bucket of water with a tablespoon of kitchen soda or soda-ash .

“Scouring” is the deep cleaning of fabric or fiber. Scouring helps assure even color and good penetration of the dye. Cotton, in particular needs scouring, even if it is brand new from the fabric shop because most commercial fabrics are coated with waxes and oils

After the removal of starch, the cotton fibers have to be prepared to allow the dye to bind. This pre-treatment is known as "Mordanting". The mordanting process also improves the light and color fastness, which is an issue with natural dyes as compared with synthetic dyes like Dylon or Procion MX. Mordants come in many varieties but most are not good for people or the environment. In the interest of environmental sustainability and our own health, we will work with alum, and/or soymilk only.

There are different possibilities for mordanting, I will share the ones I've tried. Please remember, there are many ways and stuff to use, I just share my own experiments, and I am still experimenting with other mordants too! There is not one perfect road, it is just 'trial, error AND succeed' at the same time.

Cotton, linen and ramie are composed of cellulose fibers. These fibers need a protein rich or alkaline solution as a mordant. Good results are achieved with a mixture of one tablespoon of alum and one tablespoon of soda per 3 liters of hot water or a mixture of 100 ml. soy milk and one tablespoon of soda in 3 liters of water. This solution has a long shelf life and is reusable! The fabrics should be soaked in this mordant solution for a few hours or up to few days.

Mordanting with iron (II) sulfate
You can place your fabric in a basket full of water and one or two teaspoons of alum, or, a cup of soymilk and leave it for a day. Afterwards, you can have a second mordant bath, which I often use, the Iron (II) sulfate (again one teaspoon in a basket of water). Remember, if the iron (II) sulfate is already in the fibre, it can easier start its printing process.

Oak galls

Another way to prepare your fabric in a natural way, is to soak the fabric in a tea, drawn from oak galls, with or without a teaspoon of iron (II) sulphate added.

Some people premordant the fabric again with alum after this second bath, but I never tried it as I am happy with the current results ;-). No rinsing of the fabric in between, just let it rest in the bath.

Leave if there until you are ready to start wrapping, wednesday we'll discuss the leaves and friday we start boiling!!