How-To: Sun Printed Fabric


First introduced in the 1800’s, cyanotypes, or “sun prints,” are one of the oldest photographic printing processes in existence-- and a perennial favorite at terrain. Sun printing papers and fabrics are treated with a special combination of chemicals that create one-of-a-kind images when exposed to the sun’s rays. With a bouquet from the garden in hand, we couldn’t wait to get outside and try this age-old process ourselves with our new cotton sun printing kit. After just a few minutes in the sun, we created unique swatches of fabric, decked with botanical designs.

What You'll Need

Cotton sun printing kit
Leaves, petals, or cuttings from the garden
Bright sunlight
Water for rinsing the fabric

1. Gather your favorite botanical specimens. We used sprigs of ferns and fresh leaves. 

2. Arrange your specimens on the cotton in your desired pattern or design.  Place the cotton fabric in the sun for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to have your arrangement thought out ahead of time and try to work quickly, as the image begins to process as soon as the fabric is exposed to light.

3. Remove your botanicals from the cotton. 

4. Rinse fabric in water until the water runs clear. 

5. Allow to dry-- remember that the image will continue to process even after it's dry! Try hanging on a strand of twine as a banner as shown above, draping as bunting, snipping into pennants, or framing for one-of-a-kind artwork.

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