Ecoprinting is an art form unto itself. I encourage everyone to learn more about it! My purpose here is just a fun experiment you can do with minimal supplies, while camping or after a gathering hike. Spring, summer and fall leaves will all ecoprint!
You can find silk and wool cheaply by looking at labels in the Goodwill or at garage sales. A particular style of grandpa shirts with buttons and short sleeves are often wool. Off whites and light yellows work fine. If you prefer to buy fabric. I like Dharma Trading Company. Any 100% cotton will work, including muslin, sheets and even t shirt fabric.
The key to campfire steaming is water, water, water. These can be boiled in a can or mess kit. If you make foil packets, be aware that they can dry out quickly! Keep adding water. I use a garage sale steamer clearly markered STUDIO USE ONLY.
These prints will darken as they are exposed to air, and again as they are ironed. I use them to cover journals, sew little gathering pouches, and roll into beads for my jewelry here.
Experiment with boiling leaves and papers between ceramic tiles tied of clamped together — rolling fabric around rusty pipe, or using a copper pipe which gives leaves a greener tint. You can soak leaves in alum, or rust-water, for different effects. My girl scouts were good as spotting wild roses because they are a sure print, and a reason to learn about bilateral symmetry in design. For orange, try onion skins, or ask your florist for eucalyptus trimmings. (They smell lovely while steaming, but take a full two hours to print.) Enjoy!
Questions? You can always send me a note: