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Eco printing on fabric using cochineal

This is a blog post on eco printing on fabric using cochineal. It is my first few experiments on eco printing. My curiosity about this craft was after getting interested in natural dyeing. In the past, I have made experiments on eco-dyeing but it was all a mixture of blurry mixture of all colors. That was about 2 years ago. Now after more information on natural dyes, the results are much better. There is not much information around eco printing. Many crafters and designers are keeping a tight lip about their techniques. So don’t be a surprise if most of the information you get is very much skim of the surface information.

Eco printing on fabric using cochineal
Habotai silk fabric right after printing

Eco printing on fabric using cochineal.

A great blog that has got wealth information on eco printing it called Made by barb. It is worth look at. I choose cochineal as its a dye that is easy to manipulate or adjust. Indigo dye it’s not such a good dye to go for not unless you are reprinting process with another color. As it is my first experiment I decided to go best with what information is out there as well. I have dye cochineal with various types of fibers and the best and most vibrant result was silk.

After dyeing with cochineal. Here is a link on how to dye with cochineal. I lay fresh leaves which I found in the garden on top of it. As the leaves were not all fugitive (lasting dye) I am only using the leaves to make an imprint onto the fabric. Then tannin using gall nut powder paste was painted over the leaves. Then the painted tannin side leaves were laid on top of the cochineal dye silk. This was a sandwich in between a layer of plastic to prevent bleeding between layers. Then an iron soak blanket/cloth was put on top. As a result as the iron blanket acting as a mordant, there will colour changes to the fabric.

eco printing on fabric
Eco printing before and after

This is roll into a tight bundle with string and steam for about 1 hour. Here is the result of it on the first picture on top. It isn’t the most perfect eco print but it’s a start.

Fabric bundles for steaming
Using other types of fibres top is tencel and bottom is cotton

Update 08/2023. Now I currently using more cochineal and have created more amazing prints. It’s about the technique as they say.

Thank you for dropping by and reading. When you have time do have a look at my other post on natural dyeing like dyeing with onion skin and the use of mordants in natural dyeing.


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