A couple of people have asked about the process I use to create my leaf print silk scarves, so I thought I’d share that with you today. It’s interesting because it’s a natural method that extracts color from the leaves. No inks, dyes or paints are used — just the colors from the leaves themselves.
The first step is collecting leaves. I only use fallen leaves that the trees no longer need. Not all leaves print well, and it takes some experimentation to find out which leaves will work. Generally I find that trees with deciduous leaves print well, but other leaves can also be good. Shown below are Liquidambar and London Plane leaves.
I flatten the leaves under heavy books for a day or two, then I place them on top of a damp silk scarf. Underneath the scarf is a piece of parchment paper, and below that is a piece of pima cotton. This helps prevent bleed through between the rolled up layers.
I place a seond damp scarf on top of the leaves along with another piece of parchment paper, and roll the scarves onto a stainless steel rolling pin.
The bundle is secured tightly with string, and the scarves are steamed for two hours over boiling water in a commercial roasting pan with the lid on.
I let the bundles cool overnight, and unwrap them the next day. Here’s how they look coming out of the steamer.
Each scarf is then hand washed and ironed. Here are some of the scarves I have available on my website this year.
London Plane leaves
Iron Bark Eucalyptus leaves
Flowering Plum leaves
Are you ready to try it out yourself? It’s a lot of fun to see what the leaves will do, and each scarf is different. I never know quite what to expect.
Are you making holiday gifts this year? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,