Ecoprinting involves making a bundle of leaves in fabric and steaming or simmering in water or dye. In these conditions, certain plants leave their imprint on the fabric. Different effects can be produced by using different plants, dyes and mordants (substances that help the dye attach to the fabric).
The marks left by leaves and flowers depends on many things, including the time of year, the conditions the plant was grown in, and the pH and hardness of the local water. This makes the results rather unpredictable and often difficult to repeat - so enjoy the uniqueness of your ecoprinted items!
How I upcycle with ecoprinting
Silk and wool, which are protein fibres, work particularly well with ecoprinting, while cotton and linen, which are plant-based fibres, usually require extra help from mordants.
I lay the garment flat and place the leaves or other plant material on top, usually with a cloth soaked in iron water or tannin, which acts as a mordant. Then I roll the garment up around a wooden stick, tie it tightly, and steam it for a couple of hours. When it is cool I unbundle the garment, wash with baby shampoo, and rinse well.