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 wannabe 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 to 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.

Okay, before we get to the eco-print tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

Right, enough of my yapping; back to making some eco prints 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 budget-friendly 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

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 listening Click 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 Pearce Click 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 Distinct Fine Line Sketch Drawing Pens, Black Ink, Assorted Sizes, Pack of 8
Strathmore (298-103 400 Series Watercolor Pad, 5.5'x8.5', 12 Sheets , White
Sale 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