Adding to an interior space on a budget often requires planning, searching for items and lots of hands-on time spent trying to pull everything together. Accessory pieces like photographs and prints are an easy way to add elements of color, texture and richness to a space.
Experimenting with photography and natural dyes can create a distinctive look using ecological and economical resources.
Organic dying can create effective but often varied results. While a natural process can make a one of a kind item, do not take a chance on ruining treasured photographs. When using organic stains to add a tone to a print it does not preserve it or aid any archival properties. Staining items with tea or coffee, for instance, will provide a color that will last for at least several years though.
Only try implementing natural stains onto a copy or sample that is alright to play around with as a little experimentation may be necessary to develop the image you have in mind.
Using hand coloring techniques to add natural color to black and white prints can alter or enhance desired aspects, or change the entire look of the picture. Using wine, especially from the family of reds, will provide an effective colorant.
Coffee and tea also make good toners for adding lighter shades of brown, tans or hues similar to a sepia effect. Food coloring can also be used, but naturally bright produce, for example beets, carrots, eggplants and berries are also pure alternatives to bottled dyes.
Photographs can be placed in a bath with either a full strength solution or a water diluted base and allowed to soak until achieving the desired color density.
Another tip to implement in the photo development process is to use white vinegar, which is a natural type of acetic acid. Cyanotype projects are ideal for combining with a vinegar mixture, as sun exposure and ambient humidity levels will also work to alter the print.
To incorporate images without using a specific photograph, make your own print using natural dyes. Bright produce, peels and flowers can be used to make anthotypes. Using a blend of natural ingredients and a material to print it on like canvas or paper, final designs get a long sunbath in order to set.
While these tips relate mainly to photography and prints, similar processes can be used to add colorant to other objects like stationary, tea towels or any surface that will absorb stain. Using natural dyes is a simple, thrifty and chemical free way to enhance pictures and other items for a creative finish.
All images via Alternative Photography.
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