How to make eco prints or boiled pages

I had seen a video on youtube about making a “boiled book”: paper with plants, flowers and grasses in between, boiled in water. The result is unpredictable and super nice. This is really an autumn project.

Step-by-step plan for making eco prints

Step 1: collect leaves, berries and flowers. Which leaves and plants do well? Onion peel (the outer dry membrane) works well to get a brown dye. For sure the following plants do well, we tried them: Rudbeckia Gloriosa (yellow flower with dark heart), elderberry, tulip tree (it is autumn so the yellow leaves in the shape of a tulip), oak leaves, also the brown autumn ones, amber tree. These are the plants that we have tested, but some research in plant books and internet shows that the following plants probably also do well: dandelion, leaves and blossom of the apple tree, leaves of the blackberry, borage, catnip (leaf and flower) , leaves of the alder.

Step 2: take an oven dish that is slightly larger than your paper, and put a sheet of metal or chicken wire in it. There you place a paper of the same size, and on it the leaves and flowers, on top of that another sheet of paper. Do you want to print on one side only? Then always put 2 papers between the plants (and even then the colour might seep through). Continue until you have a big pile. Then again a piece of chicken wire. Then bricks or something heavy to weigh it down. We took a piece of Plexiglas in stead of chicken wire, but that was warped by the heat.

Step 3: pour in water and about a cup of vinegar. If you want additional brown color (see photo below) you can also put onion peels in the water.

Step 4: put in the oven and cook for about an hour. Wait until it has cooled down a bit and then remove the paper from the water. If you have used thick paper, you can let each paper dry on a laundry rack with pegs. Paper that threatens to fall apart you lay to dry on a newspaper.

Finally, do something fun with your beautiful printed paper! Eco prints can be used to write down a love poem, to hang on the wall (how light resistant the eco prints really are, I do not know, time will tell), or cut out the most beautiful pieces and make an autumn collage. Do you have other ideas? I’d like to hear them, send an email or comment on this blog.