Natural Eco Printing dyeing process using wattle.
This blog post is dedicated to the process of eco printing, which is a natural dyeing method. The wattle have been blooming lately, in gorgeous yellow tones, so I have been picking some and experimenting with fantastic results! But first, what is Eco Printing. Let me walk you through the method here. First step is to make a mordant, this helps the tannins and colours from the plants that you are using stick to your fabric so they are permanent. I make my own Rust Water Mordant, which is just water and vinegar that you have allowed rusty objects to soak in. You can see more about that here. But it tends to leave blackish coloured prints, and I wanted more colour.
I had also been making another mordant, with Copper bits of pipe etc sitting in the water and vinegar solution, and that solution went a beautiful blue colour! So I decided to use a bit of both, I love to experiment. So this is what I did. I wet the Linen fabric I was using, and then sprinkled the combined mordants onto the fabric, because the fabric is wet, it travelled through the fabric easily.
I laid the linen down and put the wattle flowers and leaves arranged on one half, then folded over the other half and rolled the fabric up around a stick or bit of bark. Making a nice tight parcel like these above, I used some jute twine to wrap around each parcel and tied them nice and tight. I purchased from the local charity shop a saucepan with a series of steamers that would site on top of each other. Water goes into the bottom saucepan, and then the steam raises through the different levels and does its magic on the bundles. They are ready, about an hour later, when the colour is showing through onto the fabric from the foilage.
The last stage is they are allowed to cool, then you unwrap each bundle, Put the fabric into a sink with water and a little salt. Give them a good rinse and hang out to dry. This is what you end up with, absolutely beautifully unique pieces of fabric.
If you would like to see this in action you can check out the video link below for my YouTube Video on the process. Thanks for watching!