Sun print art is a new process for me. I have found it to be super easy to make, versatile and visually stunning. We did these at summer camp and the kids were fascinated by it.
Sun prints, also known as cyanotypes, have been around for a long time. The paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals that react to light waves and particles when exposed to sunlight. When you place objects on the paper, they block the light while the areas on the paper around them turn a beautiful deep blue. Water stops the process and fixes the images on the paper.
You can get sun print paper at your local craft store, or order it online. The paper comes in a variety of sizes and can be purchased in a kit with an acrylic sheet included. I bought this kit from Amazon for $12.99. It comes with 12 sheets of paper and a sheet of plexiglass.
HOW TO MAKE SUN PRINT ART WITH KIDS
MATERIALS sun print paper plexiglass sheet sheet pan or piece of cardboard nature objects to print
Sun print paper is light sensitive so as soon you take it out of the package it starts to expose. If you really want to take your time with your layout, you might want to go to a darker room like the bathroom.
Collect your nature objects. This can be leaves, grass, flowers, pretty much anything that can be found outside. I especially love ferns for this project.
Put the paper on top of a tray or piece of cardboard. Then lay out your design.
Place the plexiglass over the top. This is totally optional. If you do this without putting a piece of plexiglass on top, you will need to walk it outside very slowly. Obviously you’ll want to do this on a day with no wind!
Place the tray outside in full sun. Mid day is the best time to get the most exposure. Be very careful when putting it down on the ground so that nothing shifts.
Exposure time is really fast in the sun. It takes about 5 minutes. You will see the paper turn white. Underneath the leaves the paper stays blue. If you are doing this on a cloudy day, it could take up to half an hour. You want the paper to be as close to white as possible.
Bring the paper inside and immediately run it under water. This will wash off the chemicals and the white paper will turn dark blue and the leaf shapes will turn white. Its crazy how cool this is.
Hang them up and let them dry completely.
To display these, put them in embroidery hoops!