A Crafty Mix


Eco Prints – When Mother Nature Makes Art

Well hello there. How’s your week been? We’ve just got back from a two week holiday and that always seems to make my creative juices go into overdrive. I just want to paint or draw or make something 😀 So the timing of this month’s Int’l Bloggers Club challenge was just perfect. It’s all about paper. And when you’re a wanna be artist like me, then a paper challenge is just so cool. There were so many things I thought of doing but at the end of the day I decided to let Mother Nature be my muse and guide me in creating some unique art. So without too much further ado let me introduce you to the wonderful world of eco prints.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Can you believe that those beautiful, random patterns in the background were all created by Mother Nature? I just sketched the safety pin in ink and now we have an original work of art to add to our gallery wall.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Well actually we have quite a few new pieces to add the our gallery wall, since there were loads of eco prints I could use. But more about that later 😉 Let me first tell you a little bit about the Int’l Bloggers Club (IBC). Every month a group of bloggers from around the world get together to create something using a common theme. Our previous challenge was pebbles, and it always fascinates me how we can all take the same thing and end up making so many different things.

Int'l Bloggers Club Challenge where bloggers from all over the world get together to take up a common challenge and share their crafts #IBC #Intlbloggersclub #bloggerchellenge

This month is extra special one since we have a few new club members. So if you give me a moment I’d like to introduce them to you before we jump into the “how to” of making eco prints and turning them into art.

I’m real happy that another South African has taken up the challenge. So first up we have Ella from just Just Ella Bella. She hails from Nelson Mandela Bay and her blog will make you laugh and cry in equal doses. She shares heart warming stories about being a mom and isn’t shy to tell it like it is.

Then we have Leanna from Faeries and Fauna  who lives in Edmonton, Canada. If you’re looking for ways to make your home beautiful with very little money, you’ll love the ideas she shares. From RV makeovers to quick and easy slip covers, she does it all on a very tight budget.

Just 20 minutes down the road from Leanna, in Sherwood Park, is Marie who blogs over at The Interior Frugalista.  She’s the Queen of gunky, junky furniture makeovers. Seriously this lady can turn the most boring piece of furniture into something WOW and she shares the step by step instructions so you can do it too.

And then you have us old timers 😀 Katrin from Kreative K; an uber talented German lady who now lives in the South of Spain. Mary from The Boondocks Blog  who recently moved from Greece to New York and Pili, a free spirit from Sweet Things in Mallorca. And then there’s little ole me from Centurion, South Africa 😉

Okay back to the challenge and how I made eco print wall art with the help of Mother Nature.

So What’s An Eco Print?

An eco print is kinda magical. It involves taking leaves, flowers, stalks or whatever bounty Mother Nature has to offer and placing them between layers of paper or fabric. Everything is wrapped up tightly and steamed or boiled to release the naturals dyes found inside the plants. The resulting prints are astonishingly beautiful and always a surprise.  Apparently the earliest surviving print dates back to AD 1228 and even Leonardo experimented with eco printing.

What You Need to Make Eco Prints

This must be one of the most inexpensive things to do. All you need is a whole bunch of leaves from the garden and some artist’s watercolor paper. Look for at least a 200 g/m2 in the craft shop. It holds up better. If you can’t find watercolor paper, normal printer paper will also work. You just have to be careful so it doesn’t tear. You can even eco print on fabric if you prefer. Cotton, silk, drop cloth. It all works as long as it’s a light color.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

I used ferns, rose leaves, lavender, some salvia, our beautiful indigenous Crassula pellucida, seed pods and old rusty bits to make the eco prints. You’ll also need something heavy to weigh your eco prints down, plus a big pot (not one you use for cooking) and a stove. Since one of our national sports here in South Africa is braaing (it’s like a BBQ but soooo much better 😉  ) I just got the hubby to make a big fire and used that instead of our stove top.

How to Make Eco Prints

Take your watercolor paper and fold it in half length wise. Place your leaves, stalks, flowers etc. between the fold to create an envelope, without the back flap.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Create as many as you want and don’t be scared to mix different leaves to create interesting patterns.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Place all the “leaf envelopes” one on top of the other.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Wrap them up tightly between two pieces of wood.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

If you don’t have any wood off cuts you could use tiles or even chicken wire . Basically anything that helps keep the “leaf envelopes” together will work. Place your tightly bound bundle together with those rusty bits inside a pot and fill with boiling water. You may need to top up the water every now and again.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Let the mixture simmer on a hot fire or stove for at least 2 hours, before carefully removing the bundle.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Wait for it cool down for a little bit before opening it up.

Let’s see What Mother Nature Has Cooked Up For Us

This is probably the best part. The big reveal and seeing what Mother Nature has cooked up.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

A fern leaf, seeds and a rusty nail or two

Slowly peel the paper layers apart and rinse them off in cold water to get rid of the plant material. Would you look at all those amazing patterns. So random and so unique.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

I swear I was like a little kid going “Wow babes, look at this one” and “Oh my, I love how that turned out”. There were just so many surprises. It was really hard trying to pick a favorite……… but maybe it’s this one.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Can you see the little elf face in the bottom left corner? Maybe if I turn it around?

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

He looks a little cross though. I hope it’s not because I picked the leaves from his lavender bush. I’ll have to make it up to him and build him a swing or give him some vampire wings 😀

Using Eco Prints to Make Art

Those lovely patterns can be framed as is, or your can let your creative soul take over.

I make art to show my soul I am still listeningClick to Tweet

One of my biggest problems as a wannabe artist is that I tend to over analyze e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. So instead of trying to think about what to draw, I let the patterns guide me and drew around them. One of the prints looked like it needed to be pinned together, hence the safety pin.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Another print resembled a hoodie, so that one became this mysterious man.

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

And I still have a loads more to play with. I can’t wait to see what little secrets they reveal. That’s the wonderful thing about drawing around eco prints. There’s no right or wrong, there just is 😉

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong – Joseph Tilton PearceClick to Tweet

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

And if you’d like to try something similar and explore your creative side, don’t forget to pin it for later 😉

Eco prints are a really fun way to explore your creativity with the help of Mother Nature. #creative #creativecrafts #ecoprints #ecoprinting #paper

Okay I think I need to stop now. The post ended up way longer than I intended and I would love you to see what the other ladies from the IBC have done with their paper challenge. Their links should be down there at the bottom.

Oh and before I forget. If you’re looking for some of the things I used to make the eco prints, I’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a very small commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more unique DIY and  craft ideas for you 😉

Thornton's Art Supply Premium Fine Line Marker Pens Black Ink Assorted Sizes Pack of 8 for Sketch Drawing Crafting Drafting Comic Designing Fine Arts Supplies Gives Precision Work
Sale Strathmore 298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad, 5.5'x8.5' Tape Bound, 12 Sheets
Foreside Home & Garden FFRD06193 4X6 Rustic Wood Box Frame White

Until next time, hope you have a beautiful, creative week. Love as always

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts, Int'l Bloggers Club, Painting, Party Time, Quick & Easy Crafts


  • Posted: October 7, 2018 07:18

    Sam - Raggedy Bits

    Wowzers!!! What a fabulous way to create prints! Love mother nature!!
    • Posted: October 7, 2018 07:20


      She's the best 😃
  • Posted: September 27, 2018 16:14

    Christina Makri

    OMG! I could never imagine that you can make art from flower prints. Brilliant idea my friend and it turned out gorgeous!
    • Posted: September 27, 2018 16:25


      Thanks so much Christina. Isn't Mother Nature just brilliant 🙂
  • Posted: September 25, 2018 15:54

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    Those are really cool Michelle! I believe this is the first I've heard or seen eco prints. Can't wait to see what you come up for the rest of them.
    • Posted: September 26, 2018 07:33


      You will have a blast with eco prints Linda. You're so talented when it comes to painting and with all the new plants you guys have been adding to garden, you'll have so many different prints to play with
  • Posted: September 23, 2018 12:17

    Jas - All that's Jas

    This is incredible, Michelle! However, forget the Nature prints - the face of that mysterious man is the real art and the vision that you are blessed with. You always leave me in awe. xx
    • Posted: September 24, 2018 05:00


      😍 Thank you Jas 😍
  • Posted: September 22, 2018 10:39


    Wow Michelle; these are stunning! You're an incredible artist. Doing these must be like waking up on Christmas morning; it's so exciting to unveil these gifts from nature :)
    • Posted: September 23, 2018 05:12


      😊 Not so sure about the incredible bit, but I sure appreciate it very much Sara. Thank you and you're so right, it does feel like I'm unwrapping a present every time I open one up.
  • Posted: September 22, 2018 08:33


    I didn’t even know what eco prints were!!! They are so beautiful and each one is so unique. I love your how to guides.
    • Posted: September 23, 2018 08:49


      Thank you so much Olivia 🙂
  • Posted: September 21, 2018 20:07

    Liza Perry

    Eco print is so amazing! My twins always collect leafs everywhere I would love to try this! Also your Mother Nature portrait is truly amazing! A very refreshing post thank you!
    • Posted: September 23, 2018 08:50


      It's a huge pleasure Liza, and I'm sure your twins will really enjoy seeing how their leaf collection gets turned into art 🙂
  • Posted: September 21, 2018 18:01

    Maya Kuzman

    Oh my Gosh! This is the second time eco printing has left me speechless! What an incredible idea and I must definitely try this myself! The first time I got mesmerized by eco printing is when I watched an Italian lady designer "print" the brides' flowers (from the bouquets) onto their wedding dresses! That was mind blowing! The designs were ethereal and otherworldly!
    • Posted: September 22, 2018 03:51


      Oh wow, just imagine doing something like that Maya. What a beautiful way to "save" your wedding bouquet. I would love to see that
  • Posted: September 21, 2018 09:31


    This is fun! I have tried something sort of like this before. I would gather lots of leaves that I found in our backyard and would put it on the center page of my notebook. I just love the prints they make on the paper. :) Thank you for sharing! Now I'm reminiscing about my childhood days.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 11:24


      Yes, I remember doing that too. Most of the time I'd forget which book I put the leaves into though 😀 Thanks so much Karla
  • Posted: September 21, 2018 09:21


    Your sketch of Mother Nature is fantastic, the eyes are so alive and nurturing. The print with pin sketch is wonderful too, love how you connect the pin somehow with the pattern. Nature is surely the greatest inspiration.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 10:51


      😊Thank you so very much Mel, I really appreciate that
  • Posted: September 21, 2018 03:56

    Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place

    Wow, Eco Print is truly a beautiful and very interesting art form. I love that it's influenced by Mother Nature! Now I have to check out the fab artsy blogs you mentioned here. I do have a creative side of me, you know (jk) ;)
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 11:26


      😀 Glad you liked them Jocelyn and you're really going to love what the other ladies did with their paper challenge. So many interesting things
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 22:20


    I have never heard of this before, but it's just so cool!
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 11:27


      THanks so much Corina, glad you liked them
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 21:44


    Great ideas for arts and crafts. Super fun and eco friendly. Love it.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 04:17


      Thank you so much 😀
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 18:31

    Deborah Salko

    That is crazy amazing! I've never seen art like that. I definitely want to give it a try to make one for my friend. She absolutely loves things like that.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 04:12


      So glad you liked it Deborah and thank you for your lovely comment too. I'm sure your friend will love her eco prints 😀
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 18:30


    Oh how interesting! Looks like a fun project I could do with my kids!
    • Posted: September 28, 2018 14:15


      You totally can Megan. The kids will love seeing how the prints come out
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 15:00

    Monidipa Dutta

    I paint and I must say this is lovely. So beautiful. And for me I am touched by this. Dont know why.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 04:14


      Wow Moni, thank you 😍 It's always so special to hear that art has touched someone.
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 14:05

    Evelyn Hernandez

    I really love this as every art piece is so original and unique. I would love to do it with the my son, we have so many trees in our property that would be perfect.
    • Posted: September 21, 2018 04:16


      Oh you and your son are going to have so much fun together Evelyn, thanks so much for stopping by
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 12:10


    This is the coolest, I've never heard of this before! What beautiful textures it creates. x
    • Posted: September 20, 2018 13:05


      Aren't they just so awesome and so totally unexpected. I love unwrapping the paper after it's cooled down it WOWs me everytime
  • Posted: September 20, 2018 09:58


    These prints look absolutely stunning! Definitely would like some in my house!
    • Posted: September 20, 2018 13:07


      Dank je wel Maartjie 😍
  • Posted: September 19, 2018 18:58

    Cia Black

    I am loving this. With the vast amount of hiking we do we could easily track our trek by making our own eco prints using what we find on the trails.
    • Posted: September 20, 2018 05:01


      Wouldn't that be just lovely. It's almost like keeping an artistic map of where you've hiked.
  • Posted: September 19, 2018 17:09

    GiGi Eats

    Honestly, I think mother nature is the best artist out there! :)
    • Posted: September 19, 2018 17:26


      Without a doubt that she is 🙂
  • Posted: September 19, 2018 15:36

    [email protected]

    Michelle! This is so fantastically amazing!! Love -love!! It would be so fun to do with items I collect in the woods on my walks. Pinned for later!!
    • Posted: September 19, 2018 15:51


      Oh yes!!! Those foraged finds are the best for something like this. I just have to be so careful everytime and try and remember the name of the plant or at least take of a note of where I found it, so if it produces something unusual I can go back and experiment some more 😀
  • Posted: September 19, 2018 15:25

    Emily Marie Miller

    I have never heard of this before but I think I might be hooked! I want to try this so bad! Mother Nature is the most beautiful artist there is for sure! Thank you for sharing this with us!
    • Posted: September 19, 2018 15:30


      Isn't she just amazing and her works of art are all f