Eco Print on Kraft-Tex Paper Fabric – Vegan Leather alternative

In the realm of eco-conscious crafting, few techniques capture the essence of nature’s beauty quite like eco printing. Among the diverse array of materials available for Eco printing, Kraft-Tex paper is a unique contender. In this guide, we’ll explore the fascinating world of eco printing on Kraft-Tex paper, unlocking the secrets to creating beautiful permanent botanical masterpieces.

What is Kraft-Tex Paper?

Before delving into the eco printing process, let’s take a moment to acquaint ourselves with Kraft-Tex paper. Often referred to as “paper fabric,” Kraft-Tex is a durable, washable, and tear-resistant material ( C&T Publishing) that mimics the look and feel of leather. Made from a combination of natural fibers and resin. Kraft-Tex paper offers the perfect canvas for eco printing, allowing plant pigments to adhere beautifully to its surface.

As a surface for artists it seems almost perfect. It is recyclable, lightweight, abrasion resistant, tensile strength and dimensionally stable (does not stretch or shrink). Kraft Tex is made from natural cellulose fibres that are produced from waste wood, so the entire production process is environmentally friendly.

When it is new and unwashed Kraft-tex is stiff but can be wetted, wrinkled and wrung out to soften and create a softer suede-like finish.

Kraft-Tex, the beloved vegan leather alternative, takes on a whole new level of artistry with eco-printing. This eco-friendly technique allows you to transform leaves, flowers, and other natural elements (dyes & pigments) into stunning imprints on your Kraft-Tex projects. It’s a captivating process that celebrates nature’s beauty while creating unique and sustainable crafts.

Yes, this media can take on acrylic paints, inkjet prints, markers, get pens/metallic ink, rubber stamping but it doesn’t stop there. It is also a wonderful canvas for decorative stitching (machine embroidery with a sewing machine). Imagine, being able to scrunch it and throw it in the dryer!

What is Eco Printing?

Eco-printing, also known as botanical printing, harnesses the magic of natural pigments. This innovative process involves using plant materials to create stunning, one-of-a-kind prints on various surfaces. Leaves, flowers, and other botanical elements are pressed onto fabric or paper using a mordant (a binding agent) and heat. The natural dyes and tannins within the plants are transferred, to this versatile and eco-friendly substrate leaving behind beautiful and organic patterns. Kraft-tex there fore lends itself perfectly to this artistic endeavour. I have been printing for a few years now and enjoy some of the unpredictability; often seems like magic!

Materials Needed:

  1. Kraft-Tex paper fabric (white or light colour)
  2. Assorted plant materials (leaves, especially ones high in tannin levels)
  3. Fabric mordant (such as aluminum acetate or iron sulphate)
  4. Buckets, Water,
  5. Pot for steaming or Microwave (alternative method)
  6. Twine or string
  7. Scissors
  8. Dowel or pipe to roll on.
  9. Cotton or Flannel sheet (use as a carrier blanket)
  10. Barrier (paper, plastic or other)


  • Prepare the Plant Materials: Gather an assortment of plant materials, such as leaves, (not all leaves print well) Maples, rose, eucalyptus, Cotinus, sumac & walnut are some good printers. Experiment on scrap fabric with different types of leaves to determine what types of print and texture you choose.
  • Prep the Kraft-Tex Paper: Cut the Kraft-Tex paper into strips a similar size to be able to be rolled on the dowel. If you prefer a softer texture, you can pre-wash the Kraft-Tex paper to remove some of the stiffness.
  • Mordant the Paper: Prepare a mordant solution by dissolving alum, aluminum acetate or iron sulphate in water according to desired effect. Soak the Kraft-Tex paper in the mordant solution. Since it isn’t a quick absorber I left for a few hours. Wring out and rinse after mordanting.
  • For my desired effect I am using a ‘tannin blanket’ ( the myrobalan will react with the iron to create the dark background)

Design & Place the leaves:

  • Arrange the Plant Materials: Lay the prepared Kraft-Tex paper flat on a work surface. Arrange the plant materials (fresh, rehydrated dried leaves) on top of the paper in your desired design, experimenting with different patterns and compositions. (be aware that the underside of the leaves release more of the colour)
  • Bundle and Steam: Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, place a piece of flannel fabric soaked in a strong Myrobalan tea. To prevent bleed-through carefully add a barrier like plastic sheets. Roll tightly and secure the bundle with twine or string to keep everything in place. Place the bundle in a large pot for steaming, or use my favourite microwave alternative method. Steam the bundle for at least one hour or small bursts in the microwave. (watch carefully & use insulation to save on energy, see post tutorial)
  • Unwrap and Reveal: After steaming, you can open immediately or wait. Carefully unwrap the bundle and gently remove the plant materials from the Kraft-Tex paper. You’ll be amazed as the vibrant colors and intricate patterns emerge before your eyes, created by the natural pigments of the plants. Don’t be afraid to wash well.
  • Finishing Touches: Once the paper has dried completely, admire your botanical masterpiece! You can further enhance the prints by embellishing them with hand-stitching, embroidery, or additional layers of colour.

Tips for Success:

  • Experiment with different plant materials and mordants to achieve unique effects and colour variations. Just as printing on cotton, varying the application of iron and adding the use of natural dyes yields many different effects.
  • Practice patience and allow the prints to develop fully before unwrapping the bundles. (insulating holds heat and saves energy)
  • Keep a journal to record your experiments and document the plants used, mordant concentrations, and printing techniques for future reference.


Eco printing Kraft-Tex paper fabric offers a captivating journey into the intersection of art and nature, allowing you to create exquisite botanical prints that capture the essence of the natural world. Whether you’re a seasoned eco printer or embarking on this creative adventure for the first time, the process is sure to inspire wonder and delight as you witness the magic of plant pigments transforming this unique paper into works of art. So gather your materials, embrace the beauty of imperfection, and let nature be your guide as you explore the art of eco printing on Kraft-Tex paper.

Make something with printed Kraft-tex:

Once you have some great prints, what are you going to make with it?! Since I have loved how strong and resilient this material is I made it into a Guitar-strap purse handle. The lovely black and grey tones compliment some simple black bags.

As a cruelty-free leather alternative it can also be used to sew wallets, pouches, totes, book covers. It is strong and will take tough wear; perfect also for bookmaking and other craft-sewing projects (use clips instead of pins though).

The strength, sumptuous surface would also lend itself to make papery leather-like tags, as your own DIY product labels. Utilize your hand-dyed one-of-a-kind exciting new texture to make whatever you desire…

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  1. How delightful and innovative. Thank you for being a consistent source of creativity and encouragement.

  2. Olá, sou mais uma grande admiradora sua. Gosto muito do seu trabalho. Também ecoprint há alguns anos.
    Desta vez não estou a conseguir imprimir no Tecido de Papel.
    Talvez não esteja a mordentar corretamente…. Gostaria muito que me desse uma explicação mais detalhada. Quantas horas deve estar de molho, qual a quantidade de mordente, se faço uma pré lavagem primeiro…
    Fico a aguardar informação fresca…!

    1. There are many variable with eco printing. The choice of leaves, what time of year, how much sun they had, the substrate to printed on, the amount of iron of other mordant, length of heat process, amount of wetness. For those reason and the expectation of exact results I do not such detailed instructions. When I started I would do small tests with what I had on hand and then repeat as I would observe results. If you want exact results you may want to go to a class, but they may be expensive. See here for printing on paper.