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Friday, 16 October 2015

Inspired by autumn: leaf prints

I've had a few weeks away from my office job, so it's given me a breathing space and chance to do some printing. It all started when I picked up some leaves and put them in a leaf press which my son bought me last Christmas. I became quite fascinated by them. This year, the colours seem especially beautiful and intense. 

For the first prints, I just inked the leaves with printing ink which I buy from my local art shop or from Great Art Supplies online. It was trickier than I thought it would be. Too much ink is the problem, it needs to be a thin coating so you can see the veins and patterns.

Then I decided that I would do a lino cut print. I figured that leaves should be straightforward. Well, no, they weren't! The first effort was a disaster, I didn't dig out the lino deep enough and the result was no good. So, I had another try.

Here is my basic kit. Some cutters given to me by my Dad, white cartridge paper (Tiger's is good value and good quality) and some block printing ink. I use a glass panel on which to squeeze the ink, and a small roller to spread it evenly over the lino. I then place the paper on the top of the lino and smooth it down firmly using the back of a spoon. (that was an invaluable tip I got from doing James Green's excellent course in Sheffield earlier this year, see earlier post for details). 

My lino block is at the top of this picture, and I've displayed it on an article in one of Country Living's early bookazines, which gave me the idea for my design, along with this beautiful shot from the current issue of LandScape (I am a contributor and I love the magazine too!).

I was quite pleased with the results, but not bowled over. Too much ink is always the problem. I had various tries.

I was just about to put everything away and wash my roller and glass when I thought I would just use up the leftover ink on a piece of linen. I've tried fabric printing before and really enjoy it. 
It worked! I was really pleased and I do prefer this to the paper prints.

And here:

It's purely decorative as the ink is water based, but I might try some fabric ink next time. 

I really recommend lino cutting. It's relatively inexpensive, and there are so many techniques to try. You can trace on a drawing if you don't feel comfortable doing it freehand. It's also incredibly relaxing because although it takes concentration, you can't think about anything else at all. 

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm also on Instagram, but try to post here about once a month or so. 


  1. Beautiful autumn colours. It's interesting to see the process of printing too. My only experience is of potato prints at school in the dim and distant past! Good to know that it is possible to trace an image as my drawing skills are not very good.

    1. Thank you, it is fun to do, nice just messing around with paint and paper :)

  2. I was really impressed with the printing on linen, I can see so many possibilities. Inspirational post. Have a great weekend.

    1. Thank you! Hope you have a lovely weekend too.

  3. Isn't this kind of creative stuff the best! exploring what can be done with nature and aren't the results varied... I think you did well to persevere and the printing looks really lovely when there is less ink and the result is a little faded/uneven - you could make some fabulous table linen with this technique. I love Landscape magazine but was disappointed recently with their article printing with ferns as I tried it and despite much pounding got a really rubbish result! maybe I should experiment further.

  4. I did see that item about fern printing in LandScape and wondered how it would work! It sounds too good to be true. Maybe I will ask them about that! Thanks for your comments, definitely worth persevering as with most things! X

  5. What a lovely idea to use leaves for printing. They look good on the linen too. P x

  6. Love the leaf prints on the linen! They make a great pattern. Such a good idea!

    Wishing you a lovely week!

    Madelief x

    1. Thank you Madelief, still really enjoying your blog and IG feed x

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