How to Natural Print
Natural printing is a fun and easy way to create wrapping paper, cards and even beautiful pictures to decorate your home. Printing on fabric can also enhance napkins, table cloths and other plain fabrics around your household, but make sure you use fabric paint!
As an added bonus, Natural printing is the perfect excuse to take a walk outside and collect leaves of all shapes and sizes. I hope you all enjoy this step by step guide of how I natural print at home.
Step 1: Choose leaves that are fresh and strong. They will hold their shape better when printing, producing a more defined and detailed print. Make sure that the leaves are dry before you use them. Sage, rosemary, Gunnera, Geranium, Cardoon and Rose leaves are just a few ideas of good leaves to use and don't forget that different seasons create completely different opportunities of what to print. For example, in September, I love printing with grasses.
Step 2: Mix your inks. I find that oil based inks such as etching inks work the best as they stick to the leaf in a way that creates a more accurate and delicate print than if you were to use water-based inks. You can choose to mix a colour, or just use a colour straight from a tube!
Tip: I use vaseline as a lubricant to make the ink easier to spread.
Step 3: Roll the ink onto a clean smooth sheet of plastic using a Lino roller or just a kitchen rolling pin. Spread the ink out so that it is smooth and equal.
Step 4: Place the leaf down into the ink (it doesn’t matter which side of the leaf you choose — you can even try both!). I then cover with a piece of tracing paper (to protect my hands) and press down hard making sure the whole leaf is covered with ink. Rub for approx 20 seconds and then remove the leaf from the ink.
Step 5: Place the leaf onto the paper. Remember, once the leaf is on the paper YOU CAN’T REARRANGE IT! So once it’s down, it’s down. Get a clean piece of paper and lay it over the leaf and press and rub again to make sure the whole leaf print is pressed onto the paper.
Step 6: Remove the leaf and marvel at the beautiful print! Then repeat until you have made a beautiful design. You can use multiple leaves, colours, papers, and even try overlaying, printing sticks or any other natural forms you find.