Here is a blog post that took me a while to get right. This is how to print red with eucalyptus. It is not easy as it seems to get a red printout of the eucalyptus I found. If you are ever a natural / eco printer like I am now seeing these wonderful prints on social media and it says it’s easy well it’s not. Not quite. Trust me on this. First, you have to know your eucalyptus leaves. Only certain ones will give red most will be either yellow or brown even if you bought and grew the right type of eucalyptus plant with all the information you got.
in order, to obtain red print first of all it needs the right fibre and right mordant. It will print very well on protein fibers like wool or silk not so much on cellulose cotton. It also takes a much longer steam time with the right mordant and fabric. Eco-printing normally takes about 60 -90 minutes. At around that time, I got orange-red if it’s steamed longer for another 30 minutes I would probably get red colour.
How to print red with eucalyptus
Of course, one will need to get hold of some eucalyptus leaves. If it is not possible to grow it at home at all then just get some from the florist as many love eucalyptus for flower decoration or as an ornamental decoration. Eucalyptus leaves also have a lovely scent. The varieties to go for are eucalyptus gunni silver dollar round sliver blue leaves. Another common type is nicholii which has long distinctive leaves. I have so far got myself a young plant. I have recently found a supplier from a Facebook group that sells great red eucalyptus printers from a grower based somewhere in Devon.
The most likely printer would be the one with red bark. There are lots of other varieties besides those mentioned here that print red like Nitens, Cordata, Cinerea and Parviola. Here is a link to a database of eucalyptus that will dye different colours. She is Sally Blake and she is based in Australia.
Eucalyptus leaves are one of those plants that don’t require mordant to get a print as it has high levels of tannin. In the UK it is not that easy to find eucalyptus plants that print red. As it’s not Australia, a lot of eucalyptus plants are not frost-hardy. I won’t go into about how much I spent on eucalyptus plants in the past only to have them die over winter and also them not printing red. Many reasons that they are too young, and not a frost-hardy variety.
To print red one needs a touch of iron not too much other it becomes brown. None of it is most likely to print orange. Natural printing takes a bit of skill and technique to get it right. But in a nutshell, a bit of iron mordant, protein fibre and right leaves is what you need to print red from eucalyptus.