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feature image of eco print unrolling

Are you trying to piece together enough information to make some amazing prints using botanicals? Making a tightly wrapped ‘bundle’ is key. Let me share my Bundling Tips for Eco Printing and make things a bit easier…

dowels and pipes

The Stuff:

Honestly, there are no precise exact rules to this ‘crazy’ amazing art form called Eco Printing but there are some common practices. Any method that makes a tight pressure between leaves and fabric can create a print.

I use old wood curtain rods cut into lengths that fit my processing (Lately mostly in the microwave). Some use metal pipes to add some of the metal/iron to the mix. Wrapping with string (or other strips of fabric) is economical and quite common. Butchers twine has enough strength and is made of cotton.

roll of string and dowel and scissors

A new idea:

When I taught my self how to tie-dye I needed to have really tight ties. To enable the hands to pull the string tight it is easier when holding it on a roll.

eco printing tools

I was tired of throwing away so much string so I wrapped it around an extra dowel… and an idea came to me!

illustration showing the bicycling of hands

The Innovative Concept:

This works best if both the ‘spool’ and the bundle are similar diameters. If not, you can adjust a bit while wrapping. Cross over the the first couple wraps to anchor the end piece. Start in the middle and ‘bicycle’ your hands round and round. Work out the wraps to the end as close as you prefer and then back to the middle, turn in your hands, and wrap to the other end, back to the middle and tie to the end piece.

If you’d rather watch a video:

How easy is that?! No cut fingers. There are no rules that state you need exact bundles, as India Flint bundles much more randomly and prints turn out differently.

basket of rolled bundles ready to steam

Before you know it you’ve wrapped a few bundles. Reusing is a good choice, so the plastic gets reused many times as well.

wrap in a wet blanket

Micro-steam:

To keep the bundles in a damp state while processing the the microwave they are wrapped in a wet piece of wool.

lifting leaf off eco print

You just never really know what amazing little reactions are happening inside those bundles… Red leaf prints a teal-like green!

bundled wool

Flat Tie Method:

Another problem can sometimes be the fact that the tying makes indents into the fabric especially of it is wool or thick. Since it is steamed it tends to be difficult to remove afterward.

bamboo mat bundle

Have you ever rolled a sushi roll? The mat that is used ensures a nice even roll. Using a simple bamboo placemat as a wrap before tying does the same job. It applies pressure quite evenly and also allows the moisture through if need be.

eco printed wool blanket

No lines visible from the string wrapping. Lovely isn’t it?! This became a great Wool jacket.

bundle, leaves and string

Don’t be afraid to try the Eco Printing bundling tips for some amazing art; silk, cotton, linen, or even paper. Just remember; mother nature does make some of this magic – embrace these kind gifts.

barbmaker

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Video was too fast for me to see how you tied the ends without cutting the string. Any way to slow it down? My poor old eyes just don’t work that fast! Thanks.

    1. Oh dear! I cut the string each time at the end and tie with the first ‘tail’, and then when I wind it back on the roll I just knot it again so it’s actually full of a lot of knots but it works well. You see the cross over at the beginning and that holds it in place until you tie at the end. Hope that helps!

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