Last year I bought some sunprint paper to print in the sun. I thought it was neat, but the paper is really expensive! I also wanted more colors than blue.
I found this tutorial on 3 Creative Studio where I don’t need anything special just fabric, some fabric paint, and things to mask out the sun. So today was my day to play with the sun.
First, we need a work base. I covered a piece of cardboard with a trash bag, duck taping the bottom so I had a smooth surface on the top. I put my piece of muslin I had purchased for another project on the top of my new work base. The next step was to mist the fabric with water so that was completely saturated. Once the fabric was wet, I made sure it was flat with no air bubbles. Now it was time to paint. I chose three colors of my fabric paints and watered them down. Their tutorial said to mix them 50/50.
Since the fabric is wet and the paint is watered down, they tend to flow into each other creating a pretty neat effect. Then it’s off to find some stuff to use as masks.
I’ve been saving soda and cat food pop tops for some future craft and thought they might work as masks. I also wanted to see how the can lid and that grill screen would work. Then I carried it out to the deck and waited for it to dry.
As you can see the screen was a very good mask. I think next time I’ll cover the whole piece of fabric with this screen. Loved it!
Here’s a close up of the top right flower made with the cat can pop tops.
I liked it too even though it’s real soft.
Here’s another one with different masks.
And here is how it turned out.
Even thought the butterflies are very subtle, I’d like to try another piece completely covered with butterflies. I might cut them out of metal for a better mask.
And closeup of the circles.
The last thing to do was to heat set the material.
What an easy and fun project. I will definitely be making more. I love that it’s a craft with supplies most of us have around the house. But I will warn you – it’s addicting. I see more sun prints in my future.
Thank you SO much for sharing this with us…don’t get much sun in UK at moment but the next time it decides to appear..l will be out therexxYour work is great..well donexxlynda
Oh, how cute……..that looks like a fun project……..I may have to get some material and give that a try someday.
Lynda, Thank you for stopping by and your kind comments. It was so much fun I could hardly wait to blog about it. And there will be more sunprints I’m sure!
Diana, Thanks for dropping by. It was a really fun exercise.
Love these! I’ve had sun printing on my mind lately – maybe this inspiration will get me to try it!
Wow Lynda! Fabulous, and they’d make such cute tie-dye shirts! Also if you went with a dark base, it’d be Perfect for Halloween (just thinkin’ ahead 🙂
Laurie, Gotta do it before the sun is gone! And talk about inspiration- your paper making which is on my list to do!
Diane, What a great idea – tshirts! Gotta be 100% cotton though. Neat idea! Thanks.
That is sooo cool! I love that idea! PS, I love the containers you used for the paints. 🙂
Meemsnyc, So you noticed my fancy containers! They worked great! Thanks for dropping by.
These turned out great!
Oh, wow, I am so going to try this! We have plenty of sun to work with right now anyway. 😉 And I’ve wanted to try that sunprinting paper, but the cost is prohibitive. I suppose one cannot use weeds and flowers as masks in this fabric paint method? Too ethereal, perhaps…
Meredith, YES! You can use weeds and flowers as masks. It’s just too dang hot to pick any right now. You will have so much fun!
Vicki, Thanks! And thanks for dropping by.
These turned out great! With the butterflies… you could free-motion stitch around the outlines to enhance them and make them stand out more if that’s the look you want.
Nancy, What a great idea if I could just free-motion stitch! I’ve done a little but not enough to risk screwing up this material. Thanks for dropping by.
What an awesome project! I too purchased sun print paper (though my designs weren’t nearly as lovely as yours) and dreaded the expense. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for reminding me about this technique… I’ve got the dyes, I’ve got the fabric, and it’s been years since I’ve used either. Oh. AND we’ve got a heat wave with lots of sun and a back deck that is dying to be used!
Yes, it’s definitely time to get my mixed media textile mind playing again!
Oh, what a great technique! Your pieces came out beautifully! I especially love the butterflies and the screen…that would make for perfect polka dots! Can’t wait to see more of it!
Though that blue piece of sunprint paper is so beautiful as well with the flowers…I’d frame it and hang it on the wall if I were you!
Thanks! I can’t wait to try it!
How long do you leave it in the sun for though??
Jojo, You leave it in the sun until it dries which doesn’t talk long.
I just stumbled your blog and was really happy to see that you’re playing around with sunprinting! I’m a photographer with a background in historical and alternative photographic processes- I was actually just out doing some earlier today.
The “sunpaper” is actually really simple and inexpensive to make. It’s simply a 1:1 combination of Potassium Ferricyanide and Ferric Ammonium Citrate solutions. The two chemicals are relatively inexpensive and readily available from Photographer’s Formulary, Bostick and Sullivan, or other photography suppliers.
Another fun way to due colours is an old-time photoprocess that’s even easier and cheaper to do than this called Gum Bichromate. It’s a 1:1 combination of potassium dichromate ($8) and gum arabic ($5) – and those 100g bags will last you quite a while- the colour comes from watercolour paint pigment added into the mixture, so it can be any colour you want it to be! The mixture hardens, though, as it’s exposed to light, so it wouldn’t be as flexible as what you’ve created here- I think you’ve found a great process here! 🙂
Ellie, I try to be into easy and for this, just using acrylics and water and the sun is so much fun, cheap and simple. Thanks for the info and stopping by.
Love these. Might make good school or summer projects. Msj
Lynda, I love your blue sun print. I took a cyanotype class last summer in New Harmony…it’s a very picky process, BUT I learned that you can dye your cyanotype different colors. I’ll have to hunt up my materials, but wine and tea are a couple of ways.
I love that you can do this with paints and achieve different colors! We used the paper (I bought a pack with a 40 % off coupon at Hobby Lobby), but am excited to do with fabric. Do you know how permanent the effects are? I am wondering if you could make clothing, would it wash out in the laundry, or would it last?
Jan, Those paints resulted in a light fabric. The color should hold after numerous washings but it’s awfully light to start out with. However, using other paints, such as Setacolor, which I used in the following post, I think works much better. https://lyndaheines.blog/2011/06/sun-printing-2/ I’ll be posting soon about another project with Setacolors. Thanks for dropping by.