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.
Pouches via Lumi Gallery, Pillows via Martha Stewart, Sunprint Napkins via Garden Therapy.