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cyanidin screen printing transforms red cabbage into organic ink

Sep 19, 2023

Artist Johannes Cyamaya takes an experimental, organic approach to screen printing by swapping typical specialized plastisol inks out for a vegetable colorant. The Cyanidin Screen Printing series explores the properties of natural pH indicators for design, transforming red cabbage into a vibrant, eco-friendly pigment. The cyanidin ink’s inherent chemical qualities lend it the ability to change color when exposed to a household acid or base, proposing a sustainable alternative to traditional screen printing techniques.

all images courtesy of Johannes Cyamaya

The process of screen printing typically involves transferring ink through a pre-prepared mesh stencil or screen onto a flat surface which is often a type of fabric or paper. The ink passes through the openings of the screens when pressed through a squeegee transferring the design in one swift motion. While in the traditional process, long-lasting specialized inks are used, Johannes Cyamaya’s natural cyanidin ink can retain its pigmentation for a few months.

The artist further shares through video tutorials how others can make their own vegetable-based inks for screen printing with pH indicators at home. To begin with, cabbage will need to be cooked in water for 30 minutes, from which the colored water will be poured off and evaporated into a dye to 80% of its original volume. Then starch is added into the mixture which is left to cool down, steamed until creamy, then prepared to print with. Once designs are transferred onto the paper, further depth and distortion can be created by spraying water and either citric acid or vinegar onto the desired areas, where the colors will change gradually.

transforming red cabbage into a vibrant, eco-friendly pigment

the ink’s chemical qualities enable it to change color when exposed to a household acid or base

Cyanidin Screen Printing creates art from a pH indicator, acid, and base

the project poses an eco-friendly, homemade alternative to screen printing

the ink can retain its pigmentation for a few months

depth and distortion are created by spraying water and acid onto the the print

project info:

name: Cyanidin Screen Printing designer: Johannes Cyamaya

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

vegetable The artistproject info:name:designer: