Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What the heck is "eco-dying"?

For starters, it's a lot of fun and full of mystery because you have little, or no, control.

Really, it is using natural materials to dye paper or fabric, but you knew that!  In my case, I dyed watercolor paper, today, using:  calendula, marigolds, roses, hardy geraniums, pansy, walnut leaves, maple leaves and seed pods, basil, hydrangea and a bunch more "stuff"!

These are some of the results......

I started by gathering my plant materials and then tore large sheets of 120# Arches watercolor paper into strips that I could fold into a 4 x 4 inch accordion book. 

The paper is then soaked for a couple hours, or up to overnight, in a solution of 1 teaspoon of alum to 4 cups of water, like this...

impressive, huh?  I cannot take credit for this process, I know what I know because of Wendy Feldberg at Threadborne.  She has a ton of info on her blog and an article in the July/Aug 2013 issue of  Somerset Studio.  So, check it out before you jump in!

Now, the fun make a paper, plant material sandwich AFTER you drain the paper and allow it to air dry for a few minutes.  On each piece of paper place your flowers, leaves, etc. in pleasing arrangements.  Just know, that you have little control over what color pigments actually stain the paper.


These are the fillings for your sandwiches, after you have covered all pages with plant material, clamp the pages between two pieces of cardboard and tie tightly with string.

Now, place you bundles in a large pot, I used an old canning pot with the wire rack in the bottom and my veggie steamer placed on top.   Put a few inches of water in the bottom, heat it up and steam your little guys for a couple hours.  Wait for the water to cool then remove, unwrap and open your lovelies!  You will be amazed! 
I'm planning on making accordion books of inspiring quotes with my beautiful new papers.
If, you are thinking of trying this process, read Wendy's blog first.  I've just skimmed over the directions, it isn't difficult but you will be much more prepared and I'm sure attain better results if you follow her directions. She has so much great info and you will be inspired to try this.....for sure!




elle said...

This is very interesting but I'm actually quite busy so I'm relieved that it isn't really 'turning my crank'. But I'll be checking on what you do with it all. ;)

Dianne said...

this sounds really interesting...I wonder what function the alum performs? the papers that resulted are lovely, and can't wait to see the accordion book that you make!

Jeanne said...

looks great!! i like the effects on watercolor paper but rice paper is my true love

Julie said...

oh my. your papers turned out beautifully! love the process!

Halle said...

Very neat process. The paper should make a very interesting background for your books.

Unknown said...

Oh my! What a process with gorgeous results! I'm sure your accordian book will be amazing.

P.S. I'm back blogging via Blogger and my new address is:

I've missed you and your art; it's so good to be back! xxoo

Dawn said...

Dumb as I am - I don't comprehend the 'alum' part of the process. What is 'alum' please?