Our Eco Printing Experiment

Kudos to Renee for putting together a most wonderful opportunity for us to learn eco printing.  We would crown her with a laurel wreath, but she would probably slap it between two sheets of paper and steam it just to see what happens.  With some assistance from Blake and Laura (our helpful Botanic Garden staff), Renee had tables, chairs, electrical cords and all the equipment set up by our arrival at 9 am.  With the help of our Botanic Garden Ambassador, Merry, we were guided to the various plants we could use and the electrical outlets that helped us keep all the kettles at full steam.

A dozen of our Book Arts Group members attended and we also had about a dozen additional visitors who came to participate.  Most of us had no idea what we were doing, despite having read about eco printing online.  Fortunately, both Renee and Bob came to the event with samples of their previous experiments, including gorgeous prints, advice on the pigments in various plants and widsom on how long to steam our packets.

Many thanks to the folks at the OSU Botanic Garden for allowing us to meet and for all their help.  Thanks to everyone who brought additional material such as paper, alum, and plants, especially Bonnie, owner of Flourishes, for providing bags of roses, eucalyptus and other lovely materials for us to play with.  And, again, thanks to Renee for pulling this off!

The Book Arts Group will take a break over the summer and resume meeting in the fall.  If you would like to be added to our email list, leave a comment here.  Your comment will not be made public, and you will receive an email reply.  Until then, enjoy the photos from our June 6 meeting, stay creative and bring your best projects for show & tell in the fall.

Setting up hotplates and kettles for steaming.

Hotplates, extension cords, bricks, tiles, heavy-duty rubber gloves and a shady setting in which to work.

Not only did we have the bounty of the OSU Botanic Garden at our fingertips, but we also had an absolutely gorgeous display of flowers from Bonnie, owner of Flourishes, 715 S. Main St., Stillwater, OK. Thanks, Bonnie!

Dusty miller and five types of eucalyptus from Bonnie’s shop, Flourishes Flower Decor and More.

Inside the steamer: Packets of paper and plant material weighted down with tiles and brick.

Remove the packets from the steamers, let them cool a bit and unfold the hidden beauty!


Wild coreopsis gives the dark orange. Dill for green. Japanese red maple leaves for the blue-green.

Where did that purple come from? Dark red, dried rose petals, possibly?

Or maybe the rose petals yielded this dark blue. There were so many plants, it was hard to keep track of what we used.  One thing is for sure, bright yellow came from sycamore leaves, and coleus render a good print and lots of color depending on the variety.








Update on Eco Printing

Regarding our June 6 meeting described in detail in the previous post, our hours have been extended.  We’ll meet at The OSU Botanic Garden from 9 am to 3 pm.  Come and go at your convenience.  Some extra paper and supplies will be on hand, but if you would like to bring more of your own, leave a comment (it won’t be published), and you’ll be contacted by email with a supply list.

Eco printed images: Experiment with this technique on June 6, 2018, at the OSU Botanic Garden.

Eco Printing at The Botanic Garden


This is the grand finale!  It’s the Oklahoma Book Arts Group’s final meeting until fall.  We’re closing out springtime and welcoming summer with eco printing at OSU’s Botanic Garden on Wed., June 6.  Due to the heat, we will begin at 9 am and continue into the afternoon or until the temperatures send us packing. In case of inclement weather, the event will take place at the Prairie Arts Center.

We’ll set up tables and our dye pots at or near the gazebo and gently harvest (with permission and guidance!) some of the plant material that grows in this beautiful garden.  Eco printing uses plant material to dye fabric or paper with subtle, diffused designs.  The wrapped packets are steamed to extract the plant pigments, which stain the wrapping material.  You don’t know until the packet is unwrapped what your print will look like.  Look for examples online by searching for eco printing or eco dying.  We will have limited supplies on hand for visitors to make their own eco print or you can do as Book Arts Group members do and bring your own paper and natural fiber fabric.

This event is free and open to the public.  It’s sponsored through a partnership of the Oklahoma Book Arts Group, The Botanic Garden and Prairie Arts Center.  If you have questions, leave a comment here.  It won’t be posted publicly, and you’ll get a reply by email.  Or you can call the Prairie Arts Center at 405-744-1535.

Eco prints, as shown here, can be made with every part of a plant, fresh or dried.

Flag Books Revisited

Thanks, again, to Betty for guiding us through the ins and outs of the buttonhole binding as well as for providing supplies and a goodly amount of patience.  Some of the speedier folks finished sewing their journals at the meeting, and others of us will be finishing up at home.  Bring your journals to the May meeting so we can get some photos, please!

In the meantime, here are some photos of flag books by Bob, Linda, Susan and Sandy from our March meeting:


Paste papers and other decorative papers were used for covers and flags.

Bob’s flock of butterflies flutter by.

Insides & outsides…

Books of many words…

…and books of no words. Color tells the story

And one more visit with the butterflies. Happy Spring!

Buttonhole Binding

The next Book Arts Group meeting is on Wed., April 4, at 1 pm at the Stillwater Center for the Arts.  We’ll learn how to make journals with a buttonhole binding.  Thanks to Betty for bringing this project to us!  The group is free and open to the public.  For a list of supplies needed,  leave a comment on this page.  Your comment will not be made public, and you will receive a private email reply.

Bob did a brilliant job of teaching us about paste papers and flag books at our last meeting.  Well done, Bob!

In addition to the Book Arts Group, you might also be interested to know that a new group is forming to explore mixed media.  The Mixed Media Group had its first meeting on March 20 kicking off with serendipity collage.  The next meeting will be held at the Stillwater Center for the Arts (SCA) on Tues., April 17, at 1 pm.  The group is modeled after the Book Arts Group and welcomes people of all creative levels and abilities to join us for an informal afternoon of messing around with art supplies.  For more information or to be added to the distribution list, contact the SCA or leave a comment on this page.

Journal with buttonhole binding. We’re grateful to Betty for organizing this project!

Fly Your Flag

No need for flagging spirits.  Even if we have a few more gray days, spring is most definitely on the way, so think about flying your happy flag!  At our next meeting, Bob is going to teach us how to make flag books using paste papers, a simple painting technique which you’ll have a chance to try.  Bring a ruler, scissors or something to cut paper, and Yes! Paste (but only if you already have some).  We’ll have extra supplies on hand.

We meet next on Wed., March 7, 2018, at 1 pm at the Stillwater Center for the Arts.  Meetings of the Oklahoma Book Arts Group are free and open to the public.  Anyone can make a handmade books, create mixed media artwork, and have fun messing around with paper, fibers, paint, glue and all sorts of other things.  There is no end to the surprising results you might come up with.  Join us for our monthly projects or drop by just to see what we’re up to!

Two of Bob’s flag books made with paste papers. Beautiful!

February 7, 2018

Grab some color on Wed., Feb. 7, 2018, at 1 pm at the Stillwater Center for the Arts.  All are welcome!  Our next meeting will be spent making monoprints and taking time out from that to learn 3 miniature valentine books.

For the books you’ll need to bring:

  • Glue stick or paste
  • Scissors (or craft knife and cutting mat)
  • 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper (1 piece)
  • Washi tape to coordinate with paper
  • Decorations & embellishments

Betty will teach the books and supply colored pencils and the rest of the material for the books.  Thank you, Betty!  If you don’t have the supplies, there will be extra on hand for you to use.

For the Gelli printing bring:  Your Gelli plate, acrylic paints, papers, stencils and other impression makers.  And if you don’t have what you need, we’ll share.

Also bring:  Your book from the January meeting if you have made progress on and are ready to show it off.

Learn 3 quick mini books in February.