Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sun Prints

Here's a craft that you might have seen around blogland. I thought it looked like a lot of fun, and Sciencey, so I bought some of the paper

and promptly forgot about it for more than a year. Rediscovered the packet a week ago, and panicked upon reading the gentle reminder on the back: "Best used within six months after purchase." 

So this week we decided it was now or never. I'm happy to say that, despite my slowness to act, the paper remained viable and produced delightful results. 

Here's a behind-the-scenes commentary:

Instead of using the recommended individual pieces of corrugated cardboard (as if I would sacrifice my precious cardboard for lowly backing material), we lay the sheets on a cork board. Its non-slip surface was very helpful for keeping the sheets in place and we could lay multiple sheets on it simultaneously.

We also exposed the sheets to the sun indoors (i.e. no wind), in a bright shaft of light. When we removed the leaves, there lay the imprints of their shadows.

The sheets were dipped in water for a minute or so

and dried.

We had lots of fun picking objects to print! 
We used buttons, giant press-studs, stencils and leaves.

We also used pasta and stencils that we'd cut out ourselves.

We discovered that the images turn out sharpest when made with very flat objects. Thickish objects like the buttons and the pasta wheels cast oblique shadows. Perhaps the results might have been different had we carried out this experiment activity at noon, when the sun would've been directly above us. 

Here is a close-up to show you how sharp the edges were when we did use flat objects:

We liked this activity so much that we're going to buy more paper and maybe even use it at Emily's party!

Wish you could do this on fabric? You can! See Jess's experiments here and here with Inkodye on howaboutorange!


  1. Love this activity and beautiful post. It has been on our "bucket" list but we haven't had a chance. I really like how your crew used pasta as well as botanics. Would be fun with alphabet shapes!

  2. Those are really fun looking! I have some of that paper -- should it get it and use it!

  3. What beautiful results you got! Looks like great fun!

    I believe some Inkodye will be coming to my house soon... hand delivered, even! Hurray!! ;)

  4. Those turned out lovely! A tip to get around the undesired shadows from taller objects: use a mirror to redirect the sunlight perpendicular to the paper! I'm not sure about the size of these sheets, but a hand mirror attached to a gooseneck lamp might do the job. (:

  5. you can do this on fabric to a degree...use the sun! Dark fabric laid flat and exposed to sunlight will bleach. I don't know how sharp the images will be but you could try it.
    you could also use temp. spray adhesive to stick items to fabric. Now I may have to try this:)

  6. Olá, faz tempo que lhe acompanho e até lhe fiz um comentário algum tempo atrás, lhe parabenizando pelo blog. tenho receio de comentar por ser em português, mas não poderia deixar de passar hoje para desejar uma ótima semana e te presentear com um selinho, pode passar lá no blog e pegá-lo, pois seu blog é um encanto.....


  7. What a fun idea. I especially like that you and the children made your own stencils. It brings a different aspect of creativity to the project.

    Hope the plans for Emily's party are going well. Do you have any photos, yet, of the finished pinatas? Or did I miss them? I'm sure the party will be loads of fun! Enjoy ... Linda

  8. @Linda, Knitting on Circular Needles
    No, Linda, you didn't miss them. The pinatas are still sitting in the garage, neglected (for now)! I promise to post on them when they are done!

  9. This is so great. Looks like real fun! Thanks for sharing. Will see where to get this paper in Germany though!

  10. Amazing! I didn't see this paper before. My daughter will be so excited when I tell her about this! I love sewing for her, and maybe we can try it with fabrics and sew a simple skirt after. We'll see.

    Many thanks for sharing!

  11. You can do this with fabric. It's called Blue Sun Printing and you can find out more here:

    Have fun!

  12. These are absolutely wonderful gotta give them a try this weekend!! We have grreat sun in our front window thats constantly sun patching many indoor items already--might as well use it to our benefit ;) LOL


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