contact prints on leggings

peach, eucalyptus, onions skins, sumac prints on a blend of nylon/spandex leggings

I was out last weekend to shop for some leggings. With luck, I also found some plain white tights. They are just perfect for this idea that I had in mind for some time to try printing on synthetic fiber (blend of nylon/spandex). The tights were pre-washed and soaked in a weak solution of vinegar and water; and then contact printed with a mélange of botanical: peach, rose, eucalyptus, sumac, rue, oak, lemon, daisies, and onion skins. Then the bundles were steamed in water for an hour. The results turned out fabulously and we also made a video to record the process.

The exciting moment for me was when I opened the first bundle, which revealed that the process I used had worked wonderfully. Below are pictures of the different types of plant materials used in this project.

peeling off a single peach leaf

green prints from peach leaf, and reddish orange from Eucalyptus

green, red, browns, yellow–the colors of autumn

bold colors from rose and Eucalyptus prints

rose and Eucalyptus leaf prints

green from rue leaf and reddish orange from Eucalyptus

Ruta graveolens (rue, or herb-of-grace, is an old fashioned garden herbal plant

clear green prints from dahlia; reddish, orange from Eucalyptus & onion skins

Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak) leaf print with heart-shaped Eucalyptus

prints from long & narrow Eucalyptus radiata leaf

this is recycled and decayed Eucalyptus camaldulensis (red gum) leaf

bold prints of speckled and decayed matter on leaf

Eucalyptus ficifolia (red flowering gum)

another interesting print from recycled & decayed Eucalyptus ficifolia (red flowering gum)

another interesting print from recycled & decayed Eucalyptus ficifolia (red flowering gum)

bold print from decayed Eucalyptus ficifolia (red flowering gum)

Save best for last, my homemade movie of the process. For a larger view, click on to the icon below, found next to the word, Vimeo.

Contact printing on leggings from melinda tai on Vimeo.

~Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melinda Tai and Obovate Designs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you for visiting, I welcome all your comments.♥

“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happiest.”

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8 Responses to contact prints on leggings

  1. Baukje says:

    So beautiful, so gorgeous. i saw the video and i ahve some questions. You soaked the leaves in only water or water with somethinG?
    Did you wash the leggings in washing soda for a log time and at which temperature?
    Did you met something in the steaming water?
    I thank you in advance for the answers.
    Greetings from France,


  2. I had no idea that it was possible to contact print botanicals onto synthetic fabrics. Your work is always beautiful and inspiring.


  3. Reblogged this on thethreadshedstudio and commented:
    Really informative post about ecoprinting on synthetic fabric.


  4. Just beautiful, also the video you made of it, I love it.
    Always thought that it would be a good idea to use a plastic wrap, now that I saw your results I will certainly try it out.
    Thanks for sharing.


  5. Linda St Angelo says:

    Dear Melinda,
    Am sitting here with a cold, so glad I got your e-mail. Watched the video….. lovely lovely lovely. The colors are beautiful. I would love to do some for my grand daughters. Where did you buy the leggings if I might ask? Oh…. so many plants I don’t have. I am going to have to go raid my brother’s peach tree for leaves. I didn’t know they would make a print. I guess it is just getting out there and trying….. which you are fabulous at. Thank you.


  6. taitaimah says:

    Melinda, these are just beautiful. I just love your eco prints and I really really need to try doing this again. You really inspire me to try new things!


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