DIY Craft Project: Sun Prints
If you LOVE Blue like we do, then you’ll love these bright, beautiful Sun Prints (aka: cyanotypes) for your child’s living spaces. All you need is a sunny day, a few elements of nature - handpicked from your yard or collected on a nature hike - water, and light sensitive paper. It’s a project that suits even the shortest of attention spans, your child’s or your own, with very satisfying results.
For our project, the Young America crew chose to work with plants and beach shells on sun print paper. Here’s a shot (above) of the beautiful results - each print mounted, framed and hung on a wall. We’ve also seen collages, mobiles and other hanging art with sun prints of all sizes in varying shades of blues.
6 FUN STEPS TO SUN PRINTS
Step 1 – What you need
sun print paper*
cardboard or paper towel
a tub full of cool water
fun and interesting nature objects to print
*There are many sources of sun print paper. Art and craft supply shops often carry it. You can also buy it online: Dick Blick, Blue Sunprints, Sunprints.org, Steve Spangler Science, and Fat Brain Toys or go to Amazon.com and enter “Sun Print Paper”.
Step 2 – Arrange objects on a piece of sun paper out of the reach of the sun.
For best results, arrange your objects on the paper and prepare your print indoors or under a porch where the sun cannot reach the paper. Direct sunlight causes quick exposure of the paper. Ambient light in the shade or a room with big windows will cause slow exposure of the paper.
Step 3 – Place an acrylic pressing sheet (ie: plexiglass) on top to flatten and hold your items to the paper
Use an acrylic pressing sheet when making prints of flat or almost-flat objects to help sharpen the edges between blue and white in your print. Ambient sunlight outdoors will find its way underneath the edges of your objects if they are not pressed firmly to the paper, and you will get sun prints with blended contrasts.
Step 4 – Take your sun print composition outside and place it in direct sunlight for 2-5 minutes.
The areas of the paper exposed to the sun will fade from blue to white. When you see most of the color disappear from the paper, your print has been fully exposed. If no direct sunlight is available, don’t worry – just expose your print a little longer and wait for the same fading effect. Under cloud cover, the process will take 5-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the clouds.
Step 5 – Rinse your paper in cool water. Watch the white turn into blue and the blue turn into white.
It’s magical! To get the deepest blue, leave the paper in the water for awhile: 1-5 minutes.
Step 6 – Lay your sun print flatly on paper towel or cardboard and allow it to dry.
Putting it on something absorbent will help to avoid the formation of water spots by drawing the water away from the sun print paper. By the time the water has dried you will have a vibrant blue sun print!
Children are fascinated with the magical transformation of blue to white, then white to blue. It’s an art and science project all in one! Have fun and please share your results with us on Pinterest or Facebook.