Eco Printing Paper with Leaves

These autumn leaves are too tempting to leave untouched on the ground; just the sound that rises when walking through them is enough to make me want to disturb them . . . we don’t usually think of *causing disturbance* as a ‘fun’ thing or something worthwhile, but that’s where context is everything and in the case of autumn leaves, I give in to the temptation and deliberately cause disturbance, ruckus, hullabaloo, even going so far as kicking at heaps of leaves and enjoying them fly up and flutter down.

Children are masters of causing disturbance. Whether it’s tossing rocks into a clear pond just to muddy the water and watch it settle before repeating, stomping into a puddle, throwing mud balls, beating sticks together or using them as swords to beat down grass, trudging through tidy blankets of fresh snow, or chattering effervescently, they delight in these activities and are oblivious to the notion that anything they do is ‘disturbing’ until some body tells them it is. And that is a question of what one considers a ‘disturbance’: where one person may delight in being with children, even being ‘childish’, for another it may be too ‘disturbing’, some attempt to control it, some don’t . . . entirely personal. I personally prefer this variety of disturbance to the kind I got to hear over the radio during the first presidential debate . . . 🙄

Context is something I’m noticing as I read Rumi, and find that in a complete poem some of the snippets frequently quoted on the inter web often have a surprisingly different meaning than how they are used as a tiny quote with the context lost. Am pondering whether this matters, the out of context quoting that often implies something that may not have been present in the complete poem . . . is it simply interpretation? In my previous post, I had Rumi’s Quatrain 77 as translated by a number of different people and there were variations there even though overall they had a similar thread running through them. Would love to hear your thoughts on context.

In the mean while, other than causing disturbance to the leaves, I also gathered ones that caught my eyes and brought them home to print with. Peach, birch, maple, sumac and a lone oak.

It’s fairly simple if you have a steamer basket (or pasta insert) and watercolor paper, like so if you want to give it a go:

Gather leaves. They should be pliable and not crumbly/dry. You can use flowers and string too or sprinkle turmeric powder lightly under the leaves, or use onion peels and thin sliced beets.

Tear the paper to pieces that’ll fit in your steamer; I use an assortment of individual pieces and others folded in half to turn into signatures for a book later.

Wet the papers.

Arrange leaves/plants on each sheet and stack the papers as you go.

Tie the entire bundle with yarn to keep it together; I place it on a ceramic tile and weigh it down at intervals and ontop with more tiles. If you have no tiles, tie the bundle, place it in the steamer and weigh it down with a rock, leaving room ontop for the lid. The idea is to get those papers pressed together.

Pour water into the pot that the steamer goes into, there should be water right under the steamer but not so much that it’s in the steamer.

Place the steamer in its pot, cover with a lid, and put the pot on the stove.

Bring the water to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, pop the pot in the oven at 200 degrees F. for 4 – 10 hours.

Keep an eye on the water level! Add more if it’s evaporating.

After the alloted time of choice, turn off the oven.

Let the pot cool off in the oven overnight.

Open your papers the next day and enjoy discovering what the leaves did.

This is a fun activity to do with children, mine have all loved paper printing at different stages of our lives 🙂

4 thoughts on “Eco Printing Paper with Leaves

Add yours

  1. This looks wonderful! What’s a steamer basket? I am having trouble picturing one. I might google around…

    I loved reading this playful post and your thoughts about Rumi quotes taken out of context. I imagine the meaning is so much more powerful within the context of his longer passages. What a wonderful meditation you have chosen!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I call it a steamer basket as I use it for steaming broccoli; it’s a perforated steel insert that came with my 2 quart stock pot and was meant to cook pasta in . . . then you just pull it out of the water, but I don’t use it for pasta: I like pouring noodles out of a pot and into a strainer too much 😆 Thanks for stopping by Ka and sharing, good health and joy to you and yours 💞

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good health to you and yours as well! I do know what a steamer basket is. I had one but now I don’t, and I’m not sure, it maybe it was not used enough. I’ve been making broccoli in my instapot. But, not lately! Curious about how to use this and will reread your post for use some time in the future, maybe a few years, to implement.

        Liked by 2 people

Comments welcome . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: