Here comes the sun…and what better way to celebrate than with some experimental sunprints. A magic Sunprint kit arrived in the post as a belated birthday gift, and lately I’ve been testing it out. I love the imperfect nature of these prints, you’re never quite sure how your print will turn out.
This print is made with a snippet from an Australian native Bottlebrush tree growing in my backyard.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it works…
1. Find a pretty specimen. Choose one that has interesting shapes for best results.
2. Find a sunny spot. The sun should ideally be overhead rather than at an angle, to avoid distorting the image with shadows. The kit comes with a sheet of acrylic to hold the object down, but you can also try a print without it…just wait for a very still day so nothing takes flight. Lay the object over the paper and watch as it lightens – it changes within minutes, so don’t walk away or get too engrossed in snapping pictures of it like I did in this shot.
3. Remove the object and this is how the print will look straight after sun exposure – quite pretty too, but it’ll soon change…
4. Just add water! Rinse in water (out of the sun to avoid further exposure) for a few minutes. It looks light blue at this point but then continues to darken and intensify as it dries.
5. Dry it flat in a dark place, and marvel at the results as it changes. When it’s almost completely dry, sandwich it between 2 heavy books for a while to flatten out any ripples from the drying process.
And voila! A beautiful print. I’m planning to frame a selection of them for my wall.
I wondered how you could apply this to craft projects, and discovered that there is indeed a light sensitive dye called “Inkodye” that you can paint on to fabric to achieve similar results. There’s also a ready-to-print cyanotype fabric available, which sounds like a much easier option. I’m very excited by this idea, and may just have to buy some! Below are some examples of cyanotype printed fabric, the results are quite striking.