Of course you can experiment with any kind of paint/material to make prints. Here I want to share a recipe which dives even further into bark-studies: a bark-based pigment to make your paint from.

This requires only a handful of ingredients which you either already have at home or can find at the pharmacy. The recipe is quite time-intensive and needs several days to fully process.

Here are the simple steps:

  • clip the collected bark with some pruning shears in small bits
  • cover the bark-chips with water and let them soak for as long as possible (several days)
  • next blend the mixture as fine as possible
  • boil the mix and let it simmer for 1 hour
  • measure your solution: how many ml do you have? We are pretending to have 200ml for this recipe, please adapt to your own quantities
  • while the mix simmers, prepare an alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) solution:
  • in an extra pot, get 10 tbsp of alum with 10 tbsp of water to boil until the alum dissolves
  • add the alum-solution to the bark-mix and let simmer shortly
  • the next solution to prepare is 1 tbsp of washing soda in a small cup of water
  • now take a third, high pot or bowl (no more stove needed) and transfer the bark-mix inside
  • add the soda-solution drop by drop (!) and stir in between
  • it should foam a lot – stop adding soda when it’s ALL foamy
  • stir from time to time and wait it out until all the built foam has settled again
  • when the mix has separated in sediment and liquid again, it’s time to strain it
  • use a paper coffee filter to strain the mix – this will take some time
  • as soon as the liquid is all drained, cut the filter open and lie it flat down on a surface covered with newspaper or old cloth (will be permanently stained)
  • let it dry over night
  • break the pigment free from the filter and grind it even finer to your liking or leave it like it is - you can store the pigment like this in a jar for years
  • to make paint from it you need some liquid gum arabic
  • add pigment to it until you have a desirable consistency
  • ready to paint