Printing leaves on fabric

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I’ve been wanting to make leaf prints on fabric ever since reading Lotta Jansdotter’s printing book a couple years ago. Not sure why I didn’t do this before. The stars weren’t aligned or something I guess.

But yesterday Maia and I picked some leaves, got out the fabric paints, and printed a big piece of fabric.

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Beautiful, eh?

The idea was to involve Maia in making some of her own clothes. I told Maia I’d sew her a dress or skirt from the fabric that we decorated. It’s probably not the ideal fabric/print for a skirt, but she’s excited about it so we’ll try it.

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Here’s how we made the leaf prints. We rolled a mini paint roller in some fabric paint (on an acrylic box frame, but you could use a plate) then rolled the paint-soaked roller over a leaf.

Note: The mini paint roller is actually a paint trim roller and can be found with the house painting supplies in the hardware store.

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We then set the leaf paint-side down on our fabric, laid a sheet of newsprint over the leaf, and then rolled over the leaf a few times with the hard rubber brayer.

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The best part, of course, was lifting up the leaf to see the print.

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Some turned out better than others. But for the most part they were all beautiful. Maia did about half a dozen prints before moving on. I did the rest.

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The finished piece of fabric is probably half a yard—enough for a skirt I think.

I’m participating in the kids clothes week challenge this week and wanted to involve Maia. She also drew some pictures on fabric with fabric crayons which I’m planning to use as pockets on a dress (an idea one of you suggested for the zebra dress that I thought I’d save for a plain dress). And who knows, maybe we’ll do some glue batik this week, as well.

Update: Here are the new clothes I made with the leaf printed fabric.

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Comments

  1. says

    LOVELY! I especially love the intense look of total immersion in Maia’s face.
    Love,
    S

  2. says

    So cool! I like the fabric result! It reminds me of my FAVORITE craft project that my mom did with my brothers and me. We would go outside in the fall, pick up colored leaves, place them between two simple sheets of wax paper.
    Then, she would lightly iron over them with us watching. When cool, we would tape our own leaves (sandwiched in the paper which now was stuck together) in the big kitchen window.
    The light coming through was beautiful! It looked like we had just made totally natural, quick, stained glass windows!
    *note, as an adult it might not look awesome, but I can tell you that I remember being a thrilled 3-5 year old!
    Cheers,
    Jane & StickFiggy

  3. Michele de Jesus says

    Ooh, these prints turned out beautifully! Love the soft delicate detail and depth! Congratulations!

  4. says

    Fabulous project. By the way, where do you get your plain newsprint paper?
    I have put the book on my wishlist and will plan to do this project with my children this summer. yeah! Summer is almost here!

  5. says

    LOVE IT! Totally want to borrow your idea…I’m thinking about making reusable grocery bags with the fabric as end of the year gifts for our preschool teachers:) Thanks for never failing to inspire!

  6. says

    I have some that my mom left with me from her visit last summer (she was doing grave rubbings, of all things, as part of her genealogy research). But they sell it at the art supply stores, of course.

  7. Dawn says

    Are you using the newsprint so that it can also be a piece of art? Can I just use anything piece of paper to transfer the image onto fabric? We collected great leaves on our camping trip at the Davidson River and I am excited to try this. I can’t sew, but I could at least sew a square patch onto a shirt…