Leaf prints with rust water

I have continued my experiments with Rebecca Burgess‘ ‘fall dye starter’ from Harvesting Color. I admit, it is barely autumn here and I’ve actually been trying this out through our summer… but this is a mere detail, I hope! I tried these three lobed leaves which someone told me were from a maple (I know little about maples), and birch leaves–why not?

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I like the results a lot, but I won’t bother with birch again. I also collected oak leaves and wrapped them.


Finally, I made a special trip to what I was confident was a maple to collect these exquisite five-lobed leaves.    I tried these on fabric cooked with tannin-bearing eucalyptus bark, which is not what Burgess recommends at all.


This produced hardly a smudge.  So, I may have to review my ideas about tannin.  Or on the other hand, I may have to reconsider my naive ideas about maples!


Filed under Dye Plants, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

4 responses to “Leaf prints with rust water

  1. Pia

    Otoh I have good results with birch leaves on paper, no iron. Shining bright yellow! I really like the first print, placement of the leaves and all.


  2. I get really nice prints from most maples. I usually dip them in a solution of rust water combined with egg (the same as I do for the eucalyptus leaves that I print).
    Could the first leaf that you used (top photo) be a ficus? Nice prints from it!
    And with birch, the only nice prints I’ve gotten from them, is when there is iron present…… say the bundle has been wrapped around an iron pipe, or I have old rusty metal in the bundle and let it rest a week or so before opening,
    I’m so excited that it’s finally Spring here! Leaves are coming out, and I’m in the mood to play!


    • Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with leaves in your spring! The three lobed leaves aren’t any ficus that I know. But perhaps I’ll ask the woman whose garden they came from and see if she can help me out. This printing method involves a cold iron bath–I thought birch was a good prospect. I haven’t tried it in a hot bath, which is I thnk you’re referring to. I have birches at my house so perhaps I’ll try them hot too. Thanks for your thoughts.


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