It’s a fact — not all leaf prints turn out good. Some are gorgeous, and some not so much. It’s part of a process where you don’t have total control. There are always those prints where the balance isn’t quite right and it throws off the design, or maybe some of the leaves didn’t print well. So what to do with the reject prints?
Usually there are sections of the prints that are pretty, so I focus on using those parts. One of the easiest ways to use the prints is to cut out the interesting areas and put them into a collage frame.
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Here are three examples of my mediocre leaf prints. These prints are on the very lovely Italia Acquerello Portofino, 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper, which gives very clear prints and an amazing range of colors. I get beautiful yellows, oranges, browns and greens with this paper.
These prints aren’t bad, but they’re also not spectacular, and they’re definitely not my best. So I cut out 4″ x 6″ pieces that I liked, and put them into this simple collage frame. This frame is especially nice because of the black-core white mat that gives a nice thin beveled line around each print. It comes in four different sizes, denoted by the size of the three openings.
Or you could use a frame like this one with 4″ x 4″ and 4″ x 6″ openings.
Look at how much better the cropped leaf prints look arranged in the frame. By experimenting with the order and orientation of the prints, they coalesce into a more coherent and interesting design. And the colors of the prints really pop against the white mat.
It’s an easy and spectacular transformation! Now the prints are ready to hang or be displayed standing using the easel back.
Do you have other ideas for using “reject” leaf prints? Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite technique.
If you’re not familiar with the leaf print process, you might want to check out my Introduction to Leaf Prints on Paper tutorial. Printing with leaves is an amazing and addictive art form that anyone can do.