Monday, July 31, 2017

Eco-Dyeing on Paper Play Day

I recently had a play day in my studio with eco-dyeing on paper.  I'd just returned home from running weekend workshops in Bundaberg (4 hours north of Brisbane), and had some left over red cabbage, so I decided not to waste it and have some brewing fun.

Using the red cabbage / alum / copper sulphate mix, I achieved some lovely results.  I collected some eucalypt leaves from my local park, but also tried a few plants from my garden.

I'll use the resulting eco-prints to make notebooks to sell at markets later this year.  I also intend to make a concertina artist book with the large pieces.

Eucalypt leaves
My stash of rusty metal bits

The brew - I cut up the red cabbage and put it into a laundry
bag to get the colour started. I removed the bag before dyeing
to make space for my bundles.
And it looks purple, but dyes blue/green/grey.
Making a bundle.
My technique is usually stuff in as much as you can,
but I decided to be a bit more conservative!

My bundles ready to go into the pot.
  I use large 'paddle-pop' sticks (also known as tongue depressers I think?)
and rubber bands.  I sometimes use tiles and clips but
that takes up too much room in the pot.
After 45 minutes simmering and maybe a bit of 'sitting' time,
I remove my bundles from the brew to cool before I unwrap them.
Patience is the key!
Unbundling - the best part of the process!

I love the dark marks that the rusty bottletop has made.
It contrasts really well with the brew colour (greeny/blue/grey)
and the leaf print.

The prints lighten as they darken -this one is still wet.
The purples lightened somewhat but still a beautiful print.

Wonderful marks and moody darks.

A clear leaf print.  The advantage of the cabbage brew
is that the brew colour doesn't dominate
like an iron brew (my favourite).

Lots of prints for notebooks.
Might be hard to part with them though!


  1. Wonderful results and thanks for the process photos!

  2. Fabulous! What weight paper are you using???

    1. Hi Gill. I was using offcuts from printmaking papers as well as Micador Raines. The weight varied, from 250gsm upwards. I like using thicker papers with more rag content.