Leaf Print Season

Hi Friends,

Fall is in the air. Can you feel it? It’s still warm, but the days are growing shorter and the air feels crisp. The spiders are back, and the light is more gold than the strong bright overhead light of summer.

The trees can feel it. Mid-August is the start of leaf print season in Southern California as the trees begin to shed their leaves.

I created some leaf print silk scarves this week, and came up with a couple of surprises. I started with an old favorite, Fernleaf Ironwood, a California Island native, and one of the first trees to shed leaves in the fall. The leaves give lovely deep rust colors on silk.

Cassandra Tondro leaf prints

Cassandra Tondro leaf prints

Next I tried two California natives I hadn’t printed with before, using cuttings from my yard. Catalina Cherry was a big surprise! The leaves gave beautiful bright greens and rust. It also smells wonderful while the rolled bundles are steaming — like almond extract.

Cassandra Tondro leaf prints

Toyon produced some interesting colors. Pale rust from the leaves with a soft khaki green background.

Cassandra Tondro leaf prints

Next I’m going to try Loquat, Grape, and Dyer’s Coreopsis, all from my backyard. I also want to experiment with some leaf prints on paper — Mustard, Redbud, Buckwheat, Violet, White Sage, Black Sage, Lemonade Bush and Pink Yarrow.

I hope you’re enjoying these last days of summer and getting ready to head into the bittersweet season of fall.

What are your rituals for honoring the end of summer? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. So funny! I was just looking at the instructions you gave for leaf prints in paper I bought a few years ago–I will try it with my grandkids one day soon! These fabric prints are very lovely and it sounds like a great surprise when you smelled almond!

  2. What mordant do you use for the silk scarves. Vinegar?? I want to try some leaves in my yard. Your prints are so lovely. Fall brings more knitting and wool spinning for me. Although I will likely do more dyeing as my garage cools off a bit. I’m excited for fall.

    1. Hi Susan. There are only two mordants that I use — a splash of white vineghar in water, or a splash of copper vinegar. Copper vinegar is a jug of white vinegar with several small pieces of copper pipe in it that have oxidized over time. The vinegar turns blue from the copper.

      Yes, I’ve also been trying different leaves from my backyard, just to see what prints. Redbud, the sages, the grape leaves and the silver sheen leaves all look great. Others not so much! Have fun with it!

Leave a Reply