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Leaf stamping (excerpted from 'Nature Printing with Herbs, Fruits & Flowers')

The simplest introduction to the pleasures of nature printing is using a stamp pad and a leaf. Once inked on the stamp pad, the leaf can be used just like a rubber stamp to ornament letters, cards, envelopes, labels, invitations, giftwrap, or other paper surfaces.

To do leaf stamping, you need the following materials

* Typing paper (or any paper you choose)

* Well-inked stamp pad in your choice of colors

* Tweezers

Stamp pads come in a wide variety of colors and styles. Embossing stamp pads are available that use embossing powder and a heat source to heighten the image and make it glisten. You can also use wide tip or brush-type markers instead of a stamp pad.

For your plant material, choose flat leaves that are no bigger than your stamp pad. They should be sturdy but soft, with some texture. Stamp pad ink adheres especially well to downy leaves such as sage, lamb's ear, dusty miller, or geranium, but many other kinds give good results as well. It isn't necessary to press the leaves if you use them immediately after cutting.

You can make several prints with the same leaf. Leaves that readily absorb ink don't need to be reinked each time.

Step-By-Step Leaf Stamping

1. Lay the leaf underside down (the side where the veins are more pronounced and the texture is more evident) onto the stamp pad.

2. Cover the leaf with a small piece of paper to keep ink off your fingers and press all around, feeling the leaf through the paper. Lift the leaf to check that some ink is adhering to it, though it shouldn't be completely covered with ink or the leaf's texture will not appear when it is stamped.

3. Carefully remove the leaf from the stamp pad with tweezers.

4. Lay the leaf inked-side down on printing paper. Cover it with another piece of paper and press with the heel of your hand. If the leaf is large, hold it in place with the thumb of one hand while pressing all around with the other hand. If the print lacks detail, your leaf may have absorbed too much ink. To get rid of excess ink, press the leaf on a piece of scrap paper a few times. If the image doesn't improve, use a fresh leaf.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bethman, Laura Donnelly
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Excerpt
Date:Sep 1, 1996
Words:384
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