How to Create Reusable Gift Wrap from Your Garden This Holiday Season
Plant-patterned fabric is the hottest trend, and this easy cyanotype DIY will have you wildcrafting into the new year.
With each passing season, it can be hard to let go of your big wins (or prized zinnia blooms for that matter), but there are mindful ways to stay connected to nature while honoring the transition into a new phase of growth. While some people choose to press botanicals as keepsakes, there is another creative way to remember celebrated plants for years to come: botanical cyanotype. Yes, you might have done this simple blue-tone paper craft when you were a child, but there’s a grown-up way to do this type of plant printmaking using a rainbow of sunlight-developed dyes and any natural fabric.
In fact, the trend of plant-y pattern play is on the rise and we’re encouraging you to create reusable gift wrap from the garden using this same technique. Think botanic prints bundling up bottles of bubbly or leaf-lined ribbon cinching up a reusable linen bag decorated with imprints of your cut flower garden! The possibilities are endless, and you don’t need a fancy harvest to make it happen—even simple tree clippings create a whimsical pattern perfect for printmaking.
This craft isn’t limited to the holidays either. Whether you’re looking to fill a large empty wall with artwork or reimagine a few shirts hiding in your closet, botanical cyanotype is a relaxing and easy project to tackle any season.
Here’s to preserving plants and sharing memories of our garden in new beautiful ways!
- SolarFast sunlight-developed dye
- Any natural fabric: canvas, linen, cotton, repurposed fabrics, ribbon, or muslin gift bags
- Rubber gloves
- Paint brush; bristle or sponge
- Fresh or dry botanical clippings: branches with interesting leaf shape, flowers, seed pods
- SolarFast wash solution
- In the shade, coat fabric with solar fast dye until damp.
- Quickly arrange botanical materials into desired pattern.
- Move fabric into sunlight and allow exposure for at least 10-20 minutes (longer depending on cloud coverage).
- Remove botanical pieces and rinse fabric with SolarFast wash solution. Note: Color development is not complete until after washing fabrics, which removes undeveloped dye.
- Test a few smaller pieces of fabric first to practice color and application techniques.
- Use painter’s tape to create sharp edges on canvas: Simply apply directly to fabric before applying dye.
- For the cleanest plant outlines, do this project when the midday sun is directly overhead and with botanical materials that lay flat.
- For larger pieces, try assembling under an outdoor umbrella to shade fabric while assembling without the need to move into a sunnier spot.
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