Saturday, 22 January 2011

painting on paper with plants

there's been a bit of chatter amongst the interpixies lately
on the subject of plant dyes and paper
and such things as the need for 'fixing'

not something you hear watercolourists musing about...
the beauty of putting colour on paper is that it doesn't need to be washfast
and unlike immersing a precious length of silk in a dyepot
paper is [often] cheaper and far less scary

the ice flower technique [outlined in Eco Colour]
can also be used to create coloured solutions for staining/painting paper
whether for making colourful journals
or painting with your children [avoiding poisonous plants of course]

freeze a handful of flowers overnight
drop into a small amount [half a cup] of water
muddle about a bit to release the colour

for stronger colour, increase ratio of flowers to water
paper can be dipped
or painted
or you can thicken the brew and print with it
[visit Lotta for ideas]

you can also grind up petals or leaves with a mortar and pestle
adding a little water to make a paintable mixture

depending on how much kaolin is in your paper
[they put it on the surface to make it smoother to write on]
you might see pH sensitive colour changes
while you paint...


  1. OMG - can't believe that I was sitting here by the banks of sams creek, dreaming dreams of how to paint on paper without all the problems of toxic (or even non- toxic but ethically questionable and ...


    the interweb pixies do their magic (I have been musing on this subject since first happening over your speccy book I must say... and now I've just had an 'ah-ha' moment)

    hope you can feel the big thanks and positive vibes heading back your way

  2. Now I see what you look like in all your grandeur..

    In fibre arts magazine...

  3. Thanks for sharing this little tip India!
    My next journal will be watercolour paper as well as my usual fabrics and I am going to try this method.

  4. Now here's some fun ideas. Looks like more fun experiments in the kitchen coming up!

  5. Interpixies... I love it! I'm going to have to adopt that term.
    Thanks so much for your tips. I think I'll have fun with it when i get back to Alaska this summer. We have some wonderful wildflowers to play with. I wonder how fireweed will turn out? and wild irises and calendula and roses. Wow, how exciting!

    xoxo Kim

  6. Tho' it's snowy winter here, you've reminded me that I froze some flowers last summer. Will have to see what happens with paper and silk.

  7. i ration out the ice flowers for when i'm feeling low, sounds good right about now. the word: jujsi. love it!

  8. thanks for the flower and water ratio, makes perfect sense!

  9. As kids we used to squish flowers and paint with them but we never tried iced flowers. Thanks for the tip.

  10. 'interpixies' lololol love that!

  11. I am still amazed over how nicely the eco-prints turned out on paper at the workshop in Shakerag. I have not tried much paper printing since then (or at least not successfully) but I will give it a go for the next dye pot. Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. The beauty of paper is that it can simply be painted on or dipped...much easier than boiling
    And less likely to fall apart

  13. I am absolutely going to try this!

  14. THANKYOU!!! Wonderful post:) I will no doubt be trying this out!