Ecoprinting With Rose Leaves

rose bush This time of year the garden is growing. It is lovely to have the flowers and leaves to look at, but it is also great to have dyeing material almost literally on your doorstep. Rose leaves are great for eco-printing which is also called contact printing (and I am sure there are many other terms as well).

The  leaves I chose to work with come from my rose bush that grows in our front garden. It is a huge rose bush that easily grows over 6 feet high if I don’t keep up on my pruning. In June and July we are treated to lovely pink flowers with a wonderful smell, and in the fall we have huge rosehips dotting the bush.

materials ready for the project

I collected a handful of leaves from the rosebush and assembled the other items I needed: silk scarf, stick, leaves, and elastic bands.

scarf laid out

I laid the scarf out, dotted it with leaves, folded, rolled, and wrapped the bundle tight.


Then it was time for a little bit of steam, a little bit of time and a post mordant dip.

A wash, a dry, an iron, and the scarf was complete.rose leaf silk scarf 1 blogTo view another scarf using this same technique please visit and view the post “Rose Leaf Eco-print Scarf – #2”.

5 thoughts on “Ecoprinting With Rose Leaves

  1. hello Deb, so is the dye coming from the rose leaves? as I didn’t read you adding dye or painting dye onto the leaves, I’ve used leaves for sun printing but not for dyeing,
    by-the-way the rose looks and sounds like the wild rosa rugosa they grow wild over the island I live on, I have several cultivars they stand up to the winds well, the hips of the wild RR are used to make rosehip syrup, Frances

    • The color is coming from the rose leaves then darkens down with a quick iron dip. I steam to get the color to transfer onto the wet silk. Without the iron dip I get a pale green leaf imprint which is pretty in its own way.

      I am not sure of the exact name of the rose as our house was built in 1946 and the rose may go back that far (the rose bush is huge). It is very hardy though as it withstands our -40C winters.

      I have also had luck with peony, oak and delphinium.

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