Printing leaves on fabric

nature printing, leaf printing, fabric painting, fabric design, nature, textile desing inspired by nature
Design your own patterned fabric with plant materials, found in nature. In this project, you'll trasfer the pattern of assorted leaves onto a piece of fabric.

Materials & tools:
  • Newspaper sheets to protect the working surface. 
  • A sponge or a quite large brush.
  • Fabric paints:  There are various types and brands available. I use pebeo setacolor. 
  • Fabric: White or colored cotton. 
  • Assorted leaves.
  • Brayer.
1. The first thing you have to do, is it to pick several leaves from nature. Some types of leaves will produce better images that others, for example platanus leaves will give interesting outlines. Generally, you should prefer those leaves with strong and clear vein pattern. Use the leaves while they are fresh and avoid pressing them inside a book, because their vein pattern will be depressed.
leaves, printing with leaves

2. Add a spoonful on faint onto a small plate. You can use more than one colors to make the printed leaves more vivid and realistic. It is better not to add extra water to the paint, because we want the printed image do be sharp and not blurred.
fabric paints,

3. Pick up a little paint with a sponge (or a brush).
sponge painting, paint with a sponge

4. Take a leave and place it on a newspaper vein-side up. The back of the leaf offers a more detailed and sharp image. Dab the surface of the leaf with the sponge. It is not necessary to put much paint on the leaf.
nature printing, leaf printing, leaf painting, printing leaves in fabric, fabric painting, fabric printing

5. Place the fabric right side down over the leaf. Don't wait too long because the paint on the leaf will dry.
nature printing, art from natural objects, painti using natural material.

6. Roll the brayer over the fabric to transfer the paint to the fabric. 
brayer, brayer painting, brayer printing

7. Lift the fabric and remove the leaf. The image of the leaf was printed on the fabric.
fabric painting,

8. Let the fabric dry for a few minutes and repeat the process to print more leaves. Each leaf can be used for numerous prints. You can make an overall pattern of overlapping leaves, a row of leaves, or arrange them in a more organized pattern. When finished fix the paint with the iron. Most paints are set by heat. 
nature prinitng, leaf printing, fabric printing, fabric design,

9. You can further accent the leaves with stitching. 
painting and stitching, painting and embroidery

A similar printing tachnique
Instead of placing the fabric over the leaf, you can place the leaf over the fabric. In this case you can place a piece of paper above the leaf and then press down with the brayer.


  1. This was a reaally wonderful idea...Luved it!!!

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