Saturday, September 7, 2013


Oh my....there's a nip in the air already......our overnight temperatures are going down into the 50's already.  Boo hoo.....  Yet, it still warms up nicely to the high 70's in the daytime, plus the constant rain we've experienced all summer is now absent.

I've been spying the roadside foliage as I trudge along the mountain roads on our 'daily forced march'.  It won't be long before it dies today I gathered some for a little botanical printing.
 This isn't a difficult task....messy, yes....but quite easy with minimal equipment needs. That's good for me because I have no space for wet work.

Using acrylic fabric paint, several sizes of brushes....lots of paper towels and other barriers....I mixed some paints to obtain several shades of green.  From almost black to shamrock green (which never printed bright!)  

A larger brush works well for bigger leaves....just paint the wrong sides of the leaves/stem with as much paint as it will hold, carefully place it wrong side down where you want the design to appear on your fabric.  Cover with a piece of paper towel or fabric (I use something that will absorb the excess paint....rather than wax paper.)  Press down firmly to transfer the paint, then carefully remove the leaves.  Try to lift straight up to avoid excess paint smearing onto the fabric.

I was printing onto some of my very heavily felted wool that I had sun printed earlier this summer.  That meant I wouldn't get a very detailed, crisp print.  In some areas I had to go back with a tiny but stiff brush and fill in where dips in the felt didn't allow the paint to penetrate. 

Usually one print per leaf/fern works best...though if it's still quite firm you can do two.  After that, the foliage becomes flimsy, making it too difficult to control.
This was about a two hour process. Gathering the supplies, indecision about placement/design, plus picking over the foliage I gathered, probably took more time than the actually printing.  Some of the specimens I picked simply weren't suitable....too delicate to control once the paint was applied.  

The painted felt will now need to dry....and then heat set.  What will I do with them???  Hummm....I don't know, but I'll post the results as I have time to tackle each. answer to Margaret's question:  I transfer the wet foliage directly to the fabric without any drying period.  I don't do much textile painting, therefore the little bit of paint I own is old and probably thicker than a new product might be.  If the paint one is using is super thin....there are such things as 'extenders' that thicken the paint which might help to avoid drips.  The thing is....the paint seems to be absorbed pretty quickly by the leaf anyway, so it really hasn't caused problems for me.  I suggest practicing on a scrap to test before printing to check your products.


Robbie said...

These two turned out great...the placement is perfect! You'll do something great with them for sure.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Ooo, I've tried this with maple and birch leaves on regular fabric but never thought to do ferns. Gotta find me some ferns...

margaret said...

your leaves look lovely, will have to have a go, wondering especially with the fern type how it transfers without splodging, do you let the paint start to dry or is it done as soon as the leaves are painted?