How to choose leaves for natural fabric printing

This blog post is on how to choose leaves for natural fabric printing. I have previously written about fabric printing. In the beginning, there were some with great success and not so with some. Along the way, I found that leaves that make the patterns on natural printing play an important role in the process. It is not an easy choice as it can be limited due to the resources available.

For a beginner, it is not easy as one got to recognize what leaves to pick and what yields lasting printing. It is not a matter of picking any nice-looking leave as start printing. It doesn’t quite work that way. To start with simply use leaves that are high in tannin. It will make the print easily. Yes, one can use gall nut (high in tannin) powder but it doesn’t last long and it smudges as well.

Leaves laid of brazilwood fabric for printing

How to choose leaves for natural fabric printing

The leaves that give lasting prints I found are chestnut, oak, walnut, maple, oxalis, woad, rhubarb leavesJapanese indigo, and cotinus. I have recently written a post on Cotinus leaves as I found it particularly fascinating as it can yield a natural blueprint. They are among the ones I found yield color and print easily. There are more that I have yet to try like eucalyptus leaves. They are used in conjunction with mordants and protein fabrics. Yes, cellulose fabrics do yield print but it tends to be more subtle and less strong prints produce.

Cotinus leaves

Depending on where one lives to get hold of some of these leaves can be an issue to start. But it’s worth it. Over the years I try to grow my own leaves. eBay is a place to source for the young plants to grow for fabric printing and dyeing. The key is to try and try again. Or just do some courses that also will require leaves which is the main component of natural fabric printing.

Sumac leaves

Another option is to grow your own tree. Yes, it can take years but it’s worth it in the long run as you would have a guaranteed supply. Most natural printers grow their own. Some are easier to grow than some.

Thank you for reading and dropping by. Do have a look at my posts on Logwood and madder fabric printing.

Choosing leaves for natural printing on fabric

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