Sun Printing Tips

I’ve been sun printing now for almost seven years. Since that time I’ve learned a bit about this fun technique so I’m sharing some tips with you today. Check out my other sun printing posts here.

  • The most important thing you need to know about sun printing is that it is all about HEAT, not sun. So if you have a sunny day and it’s cool, more than likely you won’t get a good print. Humidity also helps because it slows down the drying process. What is happening is as the fabric dries, the pigment is pulled out from under the masks. If it dries too quickly, the pigment won’t be pulled out and you won’t have a good print.
  • Also, make sure it’s not real windy.
  • You can use any kind of paint, but I’ve found my favorite and the paint that gives me the best results is Setacolor Light (formerly known as Transparent). It and Dye-na-flow don’t change the hand or feel of the fabric.
  • If you don’t care about the feel of the fabric, you can use any kind of paint. I would suggest using a paint that has a lot of pigment instead of cheap craft paint. Golden Fluid Acrylics work well, but are a bit pricey. Check out here for my comparison of textile paints vs screen printing inks.
  • Using botanicals or really any masks can be tricky if they are rigid. The masks need to sit flush against the fabric.
  • Using masks that cover large areas with few cutouts such as large flowers won’t look real good. Look for masks that have openings. For example, the following picture shows wood feathers. The resulting fabric is just large areas of white.

  • If working outside, make sure you keep the fabric wet before you set it out for printing. You can spritz it with water to keep it moist, but be aware that you will be watering down the paint.
  • I’ve found cutting plastic sheets to size and then using a foam core or cardboard as  carriers, allows me more time to get them ready for sun printing. I also can do this in the dye studio (garage) away from the sun, and then carry them to the sun.
  • Lastly, since they are sitting on plastic they tend to feel dry on the top but aren’t dry all the way through. Leave them to fully dry and don’t peek!

Those are just some of my sun printing tips for right now. It’s a fun technique. I hope you will try it if you are so inclined.

I was on our local WEHT Local Lifestyles program yesterday demonstrating sun printing. However, the four-minute segments are never long enough! Here is the link to the video.

I’m wearing on the show my new necklace made with my ice dyed bamboo knit.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing a bit more of ice dyeing for the June Challenge for students in my online Icy Delights class. Here are just a few of the pieces I’ve dyed.

What is amazing is the main color in these pieces is green! That’s what is so exciting about ice dyeing. Every piece is like opening a present.

Do you have some sun printing tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for dropping by. Sure hope you are taking some time for yourself.