• Boiled Books

    Posted on November 17, 2015 by in How-To, Studio

    With heavy winds and lots of rain on our North Coast we have enough fallen leaves to use for hundreds of boiled books. Sandy, Michele (the Younger), and I converged on Michele’s backyard to make a sandwich out of leaves and Bristol paper sheets. Michele had a great selection of dried leaves in a homemade press.


    We had a big container for the boiling and could do all three of our books at once—this is the final bundle.


    This is quite the setup with propane and everything. Boil, Boil, Toil,and Trouble.

    We used white vinegar as the mordant and after 7 minutes of boiling added Ritz Navy Blue powered dye. This is not eco printing but the results are beautiful.  The second boiling was 1.5 hours. These are Michele K’s prints after the rinse.

     These are mine (Michele the Older)


    Sandy’s are particularly interesting because she overdyed pages done with another method in the hopes that they pages would brighten up. She certainly did that, they are beautiful!


    Eucalyptus, alder, bamboo (bright yellow), and maple leaves  all worked well but are best when they have dried up a bit and hit the ground. The dry outer part of a yellow onion, swordfern, and some grasses worked well also.

    I already have books in mind and the artist’s work that really  inspires me is that of Annywyn Dean. Wouldn’t these pages be beautiful in one of her structures?

4 Responses so far.

  1. Edge Gerring says:

    Thank you for this blog and the boiled books information !

    • Michele says:

      This blog has been a bit neglected but that will change this year. It’s just a great way to keep in touch with book artists. Look for more posts.

  2. Ellen says:

    That looks marvelous! And everyone looks so happy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michele says:

      We were happy and that was before we saw the results. Been thinking about you, hoping you’ve held up through days of workshops. It can be tiring. Looking forward to seeing your books.