Botanical Printing: Creating Natural Leaf Prints on Paper | Casey Gallagher Newman | Skillshare

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Botanical Printing: Creating Natural Leaf Prints on Paper

teacher avatar Casey Gallagher Newman, Natural Dye and Textile Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Choosing Leaves


    • 4.

      Selecting Paper


    • 5.

      Supplies and Equipment


    • 6.

      Using Soy Milk to Enhance Prints


    • 7.

      Leaf Sides: Why it Matters


    • 8.

      Bundling Leaves and Paper: Method 1


    • 9.

      Bundling Leaves and Paper: Method 2


    • 10.

      Heating Leaf Bundles


    • 11.

      Unbundling: The Reveal!


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Incorporating nature into your creative life not only gives the opportunity to connect more deeply to the natural world but it is an incredibly rewarding way to make one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

Botanical printing (also called eco printing) is an art form that uses the natural pigments in leaves to make leaf prints that reveal the textures, patterns, and beauty of nature.

Join naturalist and textile artist Casey Newman (@cedardellforestfarm) and be transported to her farm in the Oregon forest to learn the process of botanical printing on paper. 

In this class you will learn:

  • How to identify commonly found leaves that are tried-and-true printers
  • What paper to use
  • How to prepare paper and leaves to enhance your prints
  • TWO ways of bundling leaves and paper to get different results
  • Design tips to create pleasing leaf arrangements
  • How to heat the paper to create botanical prints
  • Ideas to use your natural botanical prints

All the steps are clearly laid out in this class so you will be set up to have success on your first try! This class is perfect for anyone who loves nature, natural dyes, or paper crafting. It includes a wealth of information, making this class suitable for beginners as well as those of you with some experience with botanical printing.

At the end of this course you will have a pile of paper with gorgeous leaf prints that you can use in all kinds of projects, or simply frame and enjoy.

Be warned: you may never look at leaves the same way again! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Casey Gallagher Newman

Natural Dye and Textile Artist

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Casey! I am a naturalist and a textile artist so it is no surprise that nature has a starring role in all of my work. I dye fabric using all natural dyes - many that I gather and grow myself - and also print leaves onto fabric using only the natural pigments found within each leaf.

I am inspired by living and working at Cedar Dell Forest Farm (@cedardellforestfarm), our farm in the forest on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Living on a farm makes me appreciate all the gifts that we receive from the land and our animals. I raise Shetland sheep for their fiber and friendly personalities, gather leaves and natural materials to use to dye fabric, and grow many of my own dye plants as well as fruit and vegetables.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Incorporating nature into your creative life not only gives the opportunity to connect more deeply to the natural world, but it is an incredibly rewarding way to make one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Botanical printing is also sometimes called Eco printing. It is an art form that uses the natural pigments and leaves to make prints that reveal the textures, patterns, and beauty of nature. Hi, I'm Casey and I'm a botanical print and natural dye artist. I live in work at Citadel forest farm or a little farm and the forest here just outside of Portland, Oregon. My educational background is in forest ecology, and it's through my experience as a naturalists and educator that I really grew to love sharing nature with other people. As a lifelong artists and creative person, I became obsessed with botanical printing. The minute I first learned of it a decade ago, I was drawn to it because it combines my love of nature with my love of creating beautiful art. I know I'm not the only one with this combination of interests and I am so excited to teach you this process today. Refining my botanical printing process for many years, creating beautiful wearable designs, home goods and paper art. I teach workshops in-person throughout the Pacific Northwest and here on Skillshare, I'm honored to be a top teacher. In this class. I will teach you the process of botanical printing on paper, starting with some common leaves that are tried and true printers. I'll share my tips for selecting paper spoiler alert. You don't need anything, nancy, as well as the tools and supplies that will help you create amazing botanical prints. I walk you through all the steps so that you will be set up to have success on your very first try, I share a wealth of information in this class, making it perfect for beginners or those of you who may have some experience with botanical printing. At the end of this course, you will have a pile of beautifully printed papers that you can use in crafting projects, make greeting cards, all kinds of things, or it just frame and enjoy on your wall. I can't wait to see you in class, but be warned, you may never look at a leaf the same way again. 2. Class Project: The project for this class is to use plants from your yard or a neighborhood to make beautiful botanical prints on paper. This is a great project for three reasons. First, you can find the supplies you need no matter what your location is, the tools you need are fairly simple and leaves are practically everywhere. One of the most rewarding things about botanical printing is that it can tell a story of place and season. If you don't have many leaves in your area or you're watching this in the winter and most of the trees have very branches. I have not left you out. I've included some common plants that you can buy at a garden center to grow yourself, or even purchased from a florist year round. The second reason making prints on paper is a great first project is that it is an easy way to learn the basics of botanical printing. Paper is inexpensive and easy to come by and you can create many botanical prints at one time by stacking up your papers and leaves. This gives you the freedom to experiment and try new things without worrying about wasting expensive materials. Thirdly, this is a great project because paper is incredibly versatile. It's easy to cut into different sizes to create the perfect piece for your needs. Your finished prints can be framed to create beautiful decorations for your home, made into greeting cards or bookmarks. The list goes on and on. And I will share plenty of inspiration for how to use your botanical prints. Get ready to deepen your relationship with nature while making beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. We'll get started in the next lesson where I share with you my recommendations for leaves to use. 3. Choosing Leaves: In this lesson, I will share my recommended leaves to use for botanical printing. This is probably the most important lesson in this entire class because not all leaves will make a permanent print on paper. And I really want you to be successful even on your first try. The leaves I show you in this lesson are tried and true printers, and they are highly likely to make some beautiful botanical prints. At the end of this lesson, I will share my advice for choosing other leaves so that you can experiment with plants that you have access to in your location. When I describe these plants, I'm going to be using their common names, which I know can vary from region to region and across languages. To be extra clear, I've included a list of all of my recommended plants and the resources section and included the scientific names there. So you can be sure that the plants in your region are the same ones that I am talking about in this lesson. The first type of leaves I recommend using for botanical printing or maple leaves, they come in so many shapes and colors that I can almost always find when to use near me. These are green Japanese maples. They also come in this beautiful purple color. And the botanical prints don't reflect the color of the leaf that you see. So purple leaves don't make purple prints, but the different variety is we'll make different prints and that can be really fun to play with these Lacey leaves, Japanese maples, or a really beautiful shape and fun to use as well. And also maples are often planted a street trees. And I can find maples with a lot of different interesting leaf shapes when I just take a walk through my neighborhood. Another common type of tree with great leaves for botanical printing, our oak trees. You can find some with leaves that have this pointed edges to them. And other varieties have a more rounded look. Either kind will work really well. Just make sure you don't choose a variety that has spiky edges like some dude, because those can be hard to work with. Older here on the left and sweet gum or a liquid amber on the right are other trees whose leaves make beautiful prints. Alder is the tree that's right behind me where I'm working today and filming this. And since it is so close to my studio, I use it a lot. You'll see it a lot in my personal work. It makes really beautiful prints. It likes to grow near creeks and rivers, lakes, kind of wet areas. Liquid amber or sweet gum has these really cute star-shaped leaves. It's another common street tree. I see it a lot in my city and it's easy to identify because in the fall it makes these little spiky seed pods that you might have seen on the ground. Nut trees often make pretty dark brown prints. These are English walnut leaves here on the left with the rounded leaves, and on the right with the points here leaves are black walnut and both of these work really well. So do pecan leaves, though I don't have any in my area, so I haven't used them myself. Smoke bush is a common landscaping shrub here in the US, so it's pretty easy to find that garden centers if you want to grow one yourself, it comes in Greenleaf and purple leaf varieties and both of them make really nice prints because it's so common in yards. You might even find it in a neighbor's front yard. But be sure to ask before you pick leaves from someone else's plant. I have found people are usually pretty happy to share. Other plants you or a friend might have in their yard, or a berry plants, Blackberry and raspberry leaves make really nice prints. You just have to watch out for the thorns, especially with the BlackBerry. Sometimes I take my little scissors and the thorns mostly grow right along this main vein on the bottom of the leaf and I will just snip them off so they don't poke holes in my paper. But usually I find it easier to use a berry variety that doesn't have such abundant thorns. This is a native salmon berry plants which I use a lot in my work because so many of them grow on my farm. You can also use raspberries, which are especially nice if you have a thorn less variety. These are geranium leaves, which also make really beautiful prints. These are a couple of types of wild geranium that grow on my property. And I really love these because of this really pretty interesting leaf shape they have. You might recognize wild geraniums by their small pink flowers and seed pods that look like tiny swords. I also use this variety that has a very different leaf shapes. If you don't have wild geraniums, you can still use them. They are commonly found in garden centers and come with all sorts of beautifully colored flowers. And the leaves from cultivated geraniums work just as nicely as the wild ones. These are all eucalyptus leaves which are really fun to use and botanical printing because they come in so many different leaf shapes. Oregon is not a great climate for eucalyptus trees, so we don't have a lot growing here. And if that's the case for you too, you can still use eucalyptus if you would like. They are commonly used in floral arrangements. And so they're pretty easy to find in a florist shop. You can also use this little seed pods and flowers from the eucalyptus plants and they make interesting marks to another fun thing about using eucalyptus leaves is that some varieties make orange or even reddish colored prints. Here's an example where the leaves printed this beautiful golden yellow and the seed pods made this red coloring. Lastly, rose leaves make beautiful prints. And there another plant that you can get a variety of ways. These on the left are wild roses from the forest right outside my house here. But if you don't have wild roses near you, you can also use leaves from cultivated roses that you may have in your garden or from a florist. Alright, so what about some other leaves to try? Here are my tips for choosing leaves in your area. Consider using leaves from flowers or shrubs that you have growing at your home. I've even made some beautiful prints using leaves from plants that I consider weeds. Use leaves from trees that grow in your area. Even leaves from fruit trees that you may have at your home. Do not use leaves from toxic plants. If you don't know what a plant is, use a guide book or an app on your phone to help you identify it. Or ask a friend who knows a lot about plants. Don't choose leaves that are thick and waxy as that can prevent the pigments in the leaf from coming out onto your paper. Avoid leaves with large thorns are really spiky edges as those can damage your paper. And for some general collecting guidelines, always leave more of a plant, then you take plants need the leaves. So be sure that you are being kind to the plants as you're collecting leaves for botanical printing. If you see Interesting plants on a walk around your neighborhood, always ask your neighbors before you collect anything that's growing on their property. Often I find people are really happy to share. And lastly, always follow the local rules for collecting plants. Some parks or natural areas might not allow picking things. So be sure you look at the rules before you go there. Now that you have an idea of what leaves to use for botanical printing, join me in the next lesson where I share my tips for choosing paper. 4. Selecting Paper: This lesson, I will share my tips for choosing paper to use for botanical printing. Just like with leaves, you can use nearly any type of paper that you would like. But there are a couple of things to consider. The first is that this process involves getting the paper wet and wet paper can be pretty easy to tear. So if you choose especially fin paper, it'll just take some extra care to not tear it during this process. I typically use hundred percent cotton, watercolor paper or printmaking paper. But you can also just start with inexpensive copy paper or card stock. Even using some inexpensive printer paper or card stock can make some beautiful prints. This is simple card stock that I buy at my local office supply store. And it's nothing very fancy or expensive. And you can see that it made some really lovely leaf prints. It did buckle a lot when it dried because the paper is so thin, but it can easily be flattened out by ironing it or waiting it down under some heavy books. So you don't need to invest a lot in paper, but nice paper can create some really beautiful finished products. Here are some of my favorite brands to use. I like to use cotton, watercolor paper, and you can find it in large sheets that you can cut down to any size you'd like, or in blocks, those smaller pre-cut sizes. A couple of brands I like to use our Fabriano artistically and fluid one-hundred. I also like to use printmaking paper, which comes in large sheets that you can again cut down to any size you like. Brands I often use are be FK ribs paper. And this is what I'm going to be using for all of my demonstrations in this course. I also recommend our text wove. There are just a few other supplies that you will need to make beautiful botanical prints on paper, and I will share those with you in the next lesson. 5. Supplies and Equipment: Now that you hopefully have some leaves on paper and mine to use, I will share with you the other supplies and tools that you need for botanical printing. To make clear prints on paper, the leaves need to be tightly pressed against the paper. To do that, I like to use smooth ceramic tiles. These are really inexpensive at hardware store is usually just $1. So each, you can probably also ask your friends for some leftover from home improvement projects. I use two of them so I can put them on the top and bottom of the leaves and paper. And then I secure it with these big binder clips. Paper needs to be wet for this process. So a tray or a dish that you can put your paper in with some water is helpful and it does need to be heated. I use an electric Turkey roaster to cook my paper bundles, but you can use a stove top pot. And if you'd like, I like electric roasters because I can use them anywhere, even plugging them in outside. There are nice and wide so I can fit a variety of paper sizes in them. If you use a stove top pan, it needs to be large enough that your paper will fit inside of it. It's always the best practice to use dedicated pots and utensils for a natural dye projects and not use your household cooking pots. It's usually pretty easy to find what you need at secondhand stores. I recommend doing the heating of your leaves and paper outdoors if at all possible. It does create fumes which can be bothersome. And if you don't know what types of leaves you're using, it could even be unsafe to do indoors. If you do only have an indoor space, be sure to have a lot of ventilation because your tiles and paper are going to be hot after you heat them. Some tongs and a hot pad or Eben MIT will be helpful. In addition to these supplies, there are a few things that you can add to your leaf and paper bundles to enhance the leaf prints. The first is soy milk. This acts as a binder and can help those natural pigments adhere to the paper. I like to use this West Soy brand because it's the only one that I can find in my local grocery store that has the simple ingredients of just soybeans and water, other sweeteners or fillers, and it could affect the prints that come out on your papers. So I like to use it as plain as possible, but do just use what you can find in your grocery store. The second additive is ferrous sulfate, also called iron powder. This reacts with the tannins that are in the leaves and can help create some really beautiful leaf prints. I highly recommend using it in this process and I'll show you two different ways of incorporating iron into your leaf and paper bundles. You can purchase it as a powder. I get this on Amazon and this giant quantity, you can buy smaller amounts from sources that cell natural dye supplies. I have some recommended sources in the Resources tab here for this class. I mix it up in this glass jug that I've had for a long time. This holds about two liters of water. And I put two teaspoons of this iron powder in here with the two liters. This makes a pretty concentrated solution and I will show you how I dilute it when I use it in future lessons. Lastly, for using the iron water, you will need some plastic containers to pour some in and some paper towels or rags. That's it for supplies. Let's head to the next lesson where I show you how to add the soy milk to the paper to enhance your botanical prints. 6. Using Soy Milk to Enhance Prints: In this lesson, I will show you the effects that soy milk can have on your botanical prints and how to apply it to your paper. You will need your paper, the soy milk, and a dish that is large enough to fit your pieces of paper. But first, why use soy milk? Natural pigments like those in the leaves that we're using, usually bind a little easier to protein fibers. If we were talking about fabric, like in my bundle die class, that would mean silk or wool fabric. Paper is made of plants and typically does not have any protein in it. So that's where the soy milk comes in. Soybeans contain protein, and so the soy milk acts as a binder for the natural dyes, the protein and the soy milk coats the paper and can make it easier for those natural pigments to bind to the paper, which creates detailed and beautiful leaf prints. You don't have to use this soy milk at its full strength. I like to dilute it with some water to make it go a little further. Then just place your pieces of paper and you can soak multiple pieces of paper at the same time. Just be sure to place them in one at a time so they don't stick together. And so this soy milk can coat both sides evenly. If you're using very thin paper, it probably only needs to be in the soy milk for a few minutes. I often put heavier paper like the printmaking paper that I just put in for about 30 to 60 min though it probably doesn't even need that long. To make the most use of my soy milk. I usually soak a lot of papers at one time and then hang them up to dry so then I can store them and have paper ready to print on whenever I feel like it. You can also use it right out of the soy milk bath. But it's a little drippy and soggy. So if you are going to use it right away, I recommend leaving it on a towel or someplace to dry just for a few minutes so it stays damp but isn't quite so soggy. Using soy milk is not essential as many types of paper will capture really beautiful leaf prints without the addition of soy milk. But I'll show you some examples so you can see the effect that it does make ribs printmaking paper, which is the same paper I'm using today to teach you the steps of botanical printing. And this was made with no soy milk added to the paper. And I was pretty happy with these prints. There's a lot of definition, especially in this older leaf. You can see the leaf veins. There's a little bit of greenish color to some of these. Then I use the same leaves and the same paper and added soy milk, just as I showed you. And you can see here that there's just a little more definition on the little more color. And this soy milk papers here at the bottom, especially comparing these geranium prints up here with no soy milk. There's just the outline, the leaves, not a lot of detail in here with the soy milk, they came out with a lot of clarity and detail. There's also more green color with the soy milk with these little Japanese maple leaflets that I pulled apart and add it there. So it's not a huge difference with this paper, but the soy milk does enhance the leaf prints. This is Fabriano watercolor paper. And again, this first one I'm showing you has no soy milk added. And again, the prints are not bad, but there's a lot of definition. And these berry leaves and the alder can even see a little bit, and this big maple leaf, There's some pretty colors. A few of the leaves didn't turn out very clearly, but there's still that little hint of a print there. Let's compare it to that same paper and the same leaves. This time with soy milk or soy milk prints came out a little bit darker and more leaf definition, especially with these leaves here on the bottom of the paper, this geranium leaf that just made a little shadow of a print with no soy milk, has a lot more detail and interests to it on the soy milk paper. And the same with this big maple leaf that had a lot of pigment that spread on the paper and maybe it's interesting designs. You can also see more leaf definition. The little lines from the veins here on the soy milk paper. This is the card stock that I showed you in an earlier lesson that made some nice prints. This one I showed you it does have soy milk added to it. I did a similar paper with the same types of leaves and no soy milk. And it turned out like this. So marks still shut up. You can still see the leaf prints, but there's not a lot of color and not a lot of detail in the leaves. The last one I have to show you is Fluid brand watercolor paper. Here are the prints with no soy milk, lot of golden, yellows and green colors. This really pretty salmon berry leaf has a lot of detail. This is that geranium that didn't show up very well on other brands of paper, but on the fluid paper it really made some nice prints. Here is the same paper with soy milk added to it. And you can see that there's really not a lot of difference. So play around with the papers that you have and you might find that your favorite paper doesn't really need this extra step of adding soy milk. Now that your paper is soaked and soy milk, Let's go to the next lesson where I share some important information about leaves and how to place them on the paper. 7. Leaf Sides: Why it Matters: This lesson, I will share with you why you should pay attention to which side of the leaf is touching the paper. And botanical printing leaves have two sides to them, which obviously I don't need to share that with you. But what I do want to tell you is that the top and the bottom will make different prints come out on the paper. So paying attention to which side is touching your paper is an important factor. Top side of a leaf, if you imagine it on the plant, is this side that would be facing the sun. It's typically pretty smooth and sometimes a little bit waxy depending on the leaf. A lot of people in botanical printing call this the sun side because it faces the sun, whereas the bottom of the leaf facing the ground is the Earth side. The Earth side is usually more textured because of the leaf veins. When placing the leaves on paper, the prints vary depending on which side of the leaf is touching the paper. Typically the Earth side, this textured side with the veins will make more detailed leaf prints when that's touching the paper. Then if I were to put it with the sun side on the paper, these are the sample prints I showed you in the last lesson. And you may have noticed that the two sides of this paper are mirror images. That's because on this right side of the paper, I placed all of the leaves with this bumpy textured Earth side down touching the paper. When I had placed all those leaves on, I folded it in half. When I created this sandwich. Now, this left side of the paper was touching the sun side of the leaf. So when I opened it up, when I was finished and appeal to the leaf off, I could see this print here made by the Earth side of the leaf. You can see it's full of details with those veins, lots of interesting things happen. They're the opposite where the sun's side was touching. The paper still has detail, a beautiful golden yellow color and just looks a little different. This difference between the Earth and the Sun side can be really striking with some leaves like this salmon berry, where the sun side just made this little outline, didn't have much detail at all. Where other prints like these maples are very similar with the tops and bottoms of the leaves. So you'll want to consider these differences when you're placing the leaves on paper. You don't have to put them all in the same direction the way I did. All earth side over here and Sons side on this side, you can mix it up when you put your leaves down, do some one way and some of the other. And you'll end up with a mix of Sunnyside and Earth-sized prints on each side of the paper. Sometimes it can be really hard or even impossible to tell which is the sun and which is the Earth's side. I often see this with eucalyptus leaves where each side of the leaf is pretty much identical to the other. And I just can't tell which side is up and which side is down. I've found that if I can't tell which is the sun and which is the earth side. The leaves usually make pretty similar prints, no matter which side is facing the paper. If you really can't tell, don't spend too much time trying to figure it out. Here's a print I made with eucalyptus leaves and you can see that each side looks pretty much identical. I can't tell which side was top or the bottom of the leaf by looking at the prints, they both came out really beautifully. Now you're ready to put all of this together. So let's go to the next lesson where I show you how to bundle leaves and paper together to make beautiful botanical prints just like this. 8. Bundling Leaves and Paper: Method 1: In this lesson, we get to the fun part, actually bundling leaves with paper to set up the process to make some beautiful botanical prints. To do this, you will of course, need your leaves and your paper. You will also need the iron water that I showed you in the supply lesson, a small container to pour some into and some towels. I've chosen this method to teach first because it's the method I use to create all of the examples that I've shown you in the previous lessons. So with this method, your principal came out looking similar to these. Paper has to be wet for the leaf prints to show up. So the first step is to wet your paper if it's not still damp from the soy milk. I ran this under the faucet for just a minute and you can see the light shining on it. It's not dripping at all, but it is definitely damp. I'm going to set that aside for a minute and show you how you can incorporate that iron water into this leaf bundle to enhance the leaf prints. With this method, the leaves are dipped in the iron water before putting them on the paper. So to do that, I'm going to pour a little bit of this iron solution into a plastic container. You can see it's kind of a yellowish color, that's totally normal. This is a pretty concentrated solution, so I'm going to add just about the same amount of water to dilute it a little bit. The next thing to do is to place your leaves right in this iron water solution. I've picked a variety of leaves, some walnut, different varieties of maple, rose, a purple smoke bush, and a drop, all of those in there and use a spoon to just submerge them all. Switched them around a little bit. They don't need to soak in here a long time just to dip so they all get that iron water on them. Then this is where having those paper towels or a rag come in handy. I don't like to put my hands and this iron water solution. It makes your fingernails turn a little dark and it's just not great for your skin. You can put gloves on and then reach in and pull them out. But I just finished them out with the spoon there so drippy and wet that I put them on a towel so I can plot them dry just a little bit. It seems strange, I think, to put them in this water and then immediately drive them off. But if they're too wet, then the pigments from them just spread all over the paper and you don't get those nice clear prints. You just want to get some of the big drops of water off of them. Alright, I'm done with this iron water for now. So I'm going to set that to the side. To now comes the fun part of arranging them on the paper. I really like how big this Japanese maple leaf is. So I'm gonna put that one down first and then kind of anchor my design with that and put my other leaves around. Looking at the natural shape of a leaf can help you decide where to put it. These wild rose leaves have this natural curve to them. So I'm going to put them down here on the side of the paper where they can make a little frame around this maple leaf. And the same with this older people put that in the corner. The one leaf that I did not put in the iron water are these eucalyptus. I found that the iron water really doesn't do anything to effect eucalyptus leaves. So I prefer to use them just like this with no iron water. I'm going to leave these attached. So it's a pretty shape. Now I'm going to fill in the rest of the paper with some smaller leaves. Once all of your leaves are just the way you like them, I'm pretty happy with this little arrangement here. Then take a picture of it. This heat and pressure we're going to put the leaves through during the next step of this process does make them break down a little bit and you might not recognize them. So I like to take a picture to reference with my final product. If you do take a picture, I would love it if you shared it in the project section here so that we can all see what your leaves look like before you make the leaf prints. The final step is to take a second piece of paper also damp and place it right on top. This again, I just put under the faucet so it's a little bit wet. I'm going to cover these leaves. To recap the steps of this method. The first step is to dip your leaves and the iron water and then blocked them off a little bit with a towel. Get your paper damp with some water, place your leaves on the paper in any design that you would like. And lastly, cover it with a second piece of damp paper. I like to call this a leaf sandwich because the leaves are sandwiched inside of these two pieces of paper. This is now ready for the next step. But before I show you that, I'm going to teach you a second way of bundling leaves and paper and using the iron water and a slightly different method to get some different results. So head to the next lesson where I will teach you that. 9. Bundling Leaves and Paper: Method 2: In this lesson, I will teach you a second method of incorporating iron to enhance your botanical prints. This method creates very different prints on each paper. One piece of paper will usually have lighter prints, while the other paper will be a mirror image just like before, but it's a little darker and moodier. This method is a fun way to get to different looks with the same leaves. Just like in the previous lesson, I'm starting with the ribs PFK printmaking paper that I've gotten damp. But unlike the previous method this time, I am not going to dip the leaves and iron water at all, but just place them directly on the paper. Again, I'm going to start with my bigger leaves to just anchor the design down. Makes it easy to fill in the spaces with the small ones. When you have your leaves laid out just the way you like them, don't forget to take a picture so you can have that as a reference and to share in the project section. Just like in the previous method, a second piece of paper is going to go on the top. But this time instead of getting it damp with plain water, going to get it wet with some of that iron water. This is the type of iron water I used in the last method. And I'm just going to pour that into this tray and place my piece of paper for the top. And two here. Again, I don't want to put my hand in here, so I'm just going to use the spoon to make sure it's all the way submerged. It only needs to stay in here for a quick dip. Kind of like the way we dip to the leaves and the previous method, the longer the paper soaks here and the iron water than the more it absorbs and that will affect the prints that you get. That can be a variable that you can play around with when you do this at home. Alright, this is probably wet enough. I'm going to use my spoon, the fish out a little corner and pull it out. I'm going to let it drip for just a minute or so, so it's not super soggy. Then place that on top of the leaves. To recap the steps for this method, you want to start with a piece of paper that you've gotten damp with some plain water. Then place the leaves on your paper in any design or pattern that you would like. Dip your second piece of paper and some iron water. And lastly, placed that iron paper on top of your leaves. These leaves sandwiches are now ready to be pressed in heated. So let's go to the next lesson where I will teach you just how to do that. 10. Heating Leaf Bundles: In this lesson, I will teach you how to press and heat your leaf sandwiches so that the pigments are the leaves come out and make beautiful prints on paper. This is where those ceramic tiles and binder clips come in. Grab those, and let's get started. I've put one of the leaf sandwiches down on the smooth side of the ceramic tile and I'm going to stack the other one on top. But before I do that, I'm going to put a couple of pieces of playing card stock in-between. These are a little bit damp just like all the rest of our papers to keep our bundle nice and wet. The reason I'm putting some plain paper here is this. Botanical prints sometimes have a lot of pigment to them. And those pigments can go through to the backside of the paper. And not only through to the backside of the paper, but if I had more paper stacked up here, it would go through and bleed through the layers. Sometimes that can lead to interesting effects like this example here where you can see this leaf from a layer below made this interesting and it's shadowy leaf background here. Those effects are unpredictable. You can't really control how much the ink pigments bleed through. It can be a fun, kind of unexpected element to let happen. But if you don't want that to happen, if you want nice clear leaf prints were UC only the leaf you put down and nothing else than it needs a barrier in-between to block those excess pigments. You can use parchment, paper, a piece of fabric. I've just put two pieces of card stock here for a barrier. Then the second leaf sandwich. This is gonna go right on top. Some of my leaves are sticking out the edges and that's completely okay. Second tile, smooth side against the paper. Let's just like this. And then I'm going to use these binder clips to hold it all together. An important thing to consider when putting multiple leaves sandwiches into one bundle is that if you put too many in, then your tiles will be too far apart for this binder clip to fit over it. I can fit a few more papers in here and then just fine. But if you do end up with the stack too tall for your binder clip, you can put your papers in here, and instead of clipping it, put a brick or a piece of wood on the top of it to lay it down or just keep your paper into different bashes. Place your leaf bundles and your roaster or stove top pot with some water. I recommend having the heat turned up enough that the water is steaming, but you don't need it to be a full boil. As far as the level of the water goes. Some botanical printers like to have the paper on a rack above the waterline, while others fully submerge their bundles and the hot water, I like to have enough water and the roaster to reach the bottom of the paper. This ensures that paper stays damp throughout the whole process. Heat your paper for 1 h, but check your pot a couple of times throughout the hour to be sure that it doesn't boil dry. After an hour of heating, carefully remove your paper bundle. It will be very hot. Let it cool until you can touch it comfortably and then join me in the next lesson, where I'll open it up and we can see the results. 11. Unbundling: The Reveal!: This is the lesson you've been waiting for. The tiles are cool enough for me to hold it. So let's open it up for the big reveal and see how the prints turned out. Remove the binder clips and carefully lift up the top tile. Remove your paper bundle and open it up. Remember that paper is very fragile when it's wet. Handle it gently to make sure that it doesn't tear. I'm going to turn these around so we can see them side-by-side. I find it easiest to take the leaves off by holding onto the end of the stem and then carefully peeling it up. The leaves should come off pretty easily. If they seem to be stuck to your paper. It may have dried out too much while you let it cool, get it wet again and the leaves should loosen up and come off easily. It's so fun to see what's under the leaves. Some of these prints are yellow and others have hints of blue and purple in them. Colors look different when the paper is wet than they do when it's all dry. Also, the pigments and the leaves can continue to react with the iron even after the leaves are removed. The best time to assess your botanical prints and see how they turned out is actually after you've left them to dry. Here are these prints completely dry? This bundle created some really clear prints with soft colors that I think are really lovely. I love the detail of the leaf veins on some of these leaves. And this beautiful blue coloring that came from a purple Japanese maple leaf was a surprise. The eucalyptus and smoke bush leaves make this interesting arch when the two pieces of paper are put together, sometimes the mirror images make unexpected designs and patterns when you look at them together. The beauty of botanical prints is really in the leaf details that this process captures. Here are close-up views of some of my favorite details of these prints. Now let's open up the bundle from the second method, the one where I dept one whole piece of paper into the iron water. You can see here that the lighter page on the left is the paper that I placed the leaves onto. The paper with the darker prints is the one I dipped in the iron water. Iron always darkens natural dyes and that's exactly what it's done here. Now I'll show you these botanical prints after they've dried. A few interesting things happened with these prints. The first is that the sweet gum leaf here on the lighter paper on the left really didn't show up at all on the paper when it was wet. I felt a little disappointed by that prints. But here once it's dried, well, there's still not a lot of detail to it. You can definitely see the shape of it better than when I first took the leaf off. The other noteworthy thing is the smoke bush leaf here on the darker paper, you can see that there's no coloring on the paper and the middle sections of this leaf. It could be because the paper, they're dried out while I was filming, placing the leaves down and dry paper does not capture any leaf prints. The other thing that could cause a blank spot is if the leaf, we're not touching the paper, but because some of the leaf detail show up, I don t think that was the case here. It's probably that the paper dried out. This p is still does have some really beautiful details and parts of it that I just love. Here are some of the highlights. This one is a bonus reveal. I did not film the making of this, but I did take a picture of the leaves before I hated it. When I place the leaves onto the paper, I alternated placing one leaf with the bottom or earth side facing down with another leaf of the same type in the opposite direction. You can see in the photo that with these purple smoke bush leaves in the center of the paper, the one on the left has the Earth's side facing down, touching the paper, while the leaf on the right has that side facing up. The wild rose leaves on either side of the smoke bush or the opposite. The one on the left has that bumpy Earth's side facing up, while the one on the right is facing down. I bundled these leaves and paper together using the second method of incorporating iron, where I dipped the top paper and the iron water and then heated it. So let's see what prints this bundle made. Here's how these botanical prints look. Once the paper has dried, you can see that the prince really vary depending on which side of the leaf is touching the paper. Somewhat surprisingly, the smoke bush print on the left that was made by the Earth's side of the leaf, came out with less detail than this prints on the right. That was from the smooth ER sons side. The rose leaves came out just as I expected. These prints on the left made by the sun side do have some vein details, but they're not quite as clear and crisp as those on the right that were made by the Earth's side of the leaves. The piece of paper I dipped an iron water and placed on the top came out really dark with lots of purple and green colors. I really love these colors, but the prints themselves are not quite as well-defined as I think they could be. This comes down to personal preference. But I feel like there was probably a little too much iron and the water that I dipped to this paper in leading to this really dark. Look, if I were to do this again, I would dilute my iron water a little bit more. There are still some really great details and these prints, I hope that you are excited to try botanical printing. That if you've been following along, making some of your own with me, that you love your results as much as I love mine today. The next lesson, I will share some final thoughts about botanical printing and some inspiration of ways that you can use your beautiful prints. 12. Final Thoughts: I'm so glad you joined me in this class to learn about the beauty of nitrous colors through botanical printing. Isn't nature amazing? This class you have learned what commonly found leaves make great botanical prints. Two methods of bundling leaves and paper with iron to create very different finished results. But most importantly, you've been able to experience that little spark that I like to call nature magic. That moment when you pull back the leaf to reveal the print below. I hope that you have learned something new about plants and that you look at leaves with a new appreciation and curiosity about what colors they may be containing within them. Botanically printed papers are beautiful mementos of nature and there are so many things that you can do with them. Sometimes I cut up my botanical prints, especially if I love some of the prints on a page, but maybe not all of them were all big readers on our family. So I like to make bookmarks, but greeting cards or another nice way to use up small pieces. I also have a small notebook obsession, and I'm always looking for ways to embellish them. I use a permanent glue stick to attach this pretty botanical print and made this plane notebook a whole lot prettier. If you're a collage artist, cutting up your prints can create some fun pieces to include into your work. You can also make your own books using your botanical prints. These are little accordion booklets that I made by folding the paper before I printed it, I placed leaves and cite each little section and then pressed and steamed it, creating prints on both sides of the paper. This is an example of a bound book using botanical prints as many of the pages, some of the pages or even the papers that I used as barriers in-between prints and the random colors and patterns on them make interesting pages to write or draw on later. Creativity doesn't end once you peel off the leaves. It can be really fun and rewarding to embellish botanical prints with other mediums. Here's an example of the effect that simply outlining the leaves makes these mirror image papers looked identical until I outlined one with a fine tip pen. Here's another example where outlining brings this fern print to the forefront. This oak leaf was also not a very dramatic print, but it had an interesting shapes and swirls of pigment in it. Outlining each of these little shapes made a neat abstract design. And I think adding some color to this would be a great addition to. When adding color. I like to use light washes of watercolor. Watercolor paint adds color, but you can still see the details of the leaf prints through it. It can look really realistic, but it's very simple to do because it's just filling in the shape with color. This one is a work in progress where I've combined outlining with also adding some light green watercolor. I like a little bleeding sometimes two, and adding gold foil can make some really lovely backgrounds for prints, especially ones that you really want to draw attention to. And of course, framing your botanical prints is a fantastic way to bring the beauty of nature inside your home. Please share photos of your work in the project section. You can also tag me on posts on Instagram where my username is cedar dealt forest farm. If you enjoyed this class, please consider leaving a review. I love hearing your feedback. And lastly, before you go, follow me here on Skillshare so that you will be notified of future classes that I offer. I plan on creating more classes about natural dyes and nature inspired art. I'm so glad you were here with me today. Now go outside and enjoy nature.