Botanical Prints have always been soothing and appealing to the eyes.
Nature’s harmonious and symmetrical design has always inspired artists, craftsmen and designers. So, it’s no wonder that the Haute couture has persevered with Botanical prints since the 18th century. Printed flowers blossom on embroidered vests, skirts, swimsuits, nightwear and on accessories such as belts, bags, scarves and hats never go out of fashion. Botanical Textile Printing truly stands for beauty and fragility of nature in all its forms.
From the flower hammering/pounding technique to brushes, here are some tips/ Trade secrets for Botanical Textile Printing:
- When picking a botanical print fabric, remember, a smoother fabric gets you a smoother result.
- Always pre-wash the fabric and soak the cloth for at least 12 hours in a diluted bucket of soy milk, then squeeze out the liquid and hang to dry. Give two more dips in the same bucket of milk and dry in between. Then, wait a few days before hammering plants into the fabric.
- Thoughts on transient colors on the fabric. The colors will most likely gradually fade over time. Example- The yellow from the coreopsis turned darker orange with the change of pH from the tap water. But the good news is that the leafy botanical prints don't fade much (if at all) from washing - they are incredibly vivid!
- Avoid using black watercolor paint. It can seem fine when wet but as it dries the matt quality of watercolor makes black appear a dark grey with an almost whitish deposit on it.
- Consider white or light colors for the background. Typically but not always used for botanical prints. This helps isolate the subject matter so the focus is on the features of the plant
- If collecting specimens outside, always use sharp scissors with antiseptic wipes. Then keep the specimen in the shade. Work in a cool room to preserve your specimen.
- Always make a sketch with proper dimensions and color-coding you wish to use on the botanical print fabric. The veins on the leaves are intricate and often include highly complex patterns. Tropical prints provide truck loads of inspiration as well. Get outdoors for inspiration and experiment with the local flora. Floral designs make up a considerable part of our local flora.
- Stamping process: Start Stamping with the largest leaf and mid-tone color paint. If using standard acrylic paint, mix it with fabric medium according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Lay the leaf face down on a piece of cardboard. You may use a paint roller to apply paint to the underside of the leaf, then lay the leaf paint side down on the sheet, cover with paper towels, and roll over it with the rolling pin to press the design into the fabric. Gently lift the leaf.
- Drying : Once the sheet is completely dry and cures, ideally at least 24 hours, use a hot dry iron to press the backside of your sheet to set the paint.
Botanical Textile Printing is indeed a beautiful way to capture some of the fleeting beauty of nature. Other than dresses, it’s also an important part of the interiors. Dresses with plant-inspired botanical prints and green tones and floral designs for home just add so much charisma to our surroundings.