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Sun Prints from the Long Thread
The amazing Ellen from The Long Thread as the perfect activity to use the sun for some fun!
We’ve been taking advantage of the hot sunny days to gather bits of
nature and make sun prints. If you’re not familiar with sun prints,
they are made using light sensitive paper that fades when exposed to
the sunlight. You can arrange objects on the paper to block sunlight
to certain areas and make a print. When rinsed with water, the blocked
areas will turn white while the paper turns blue again. We painted our
latest batch of prints and I love the way they turned out — and so
simple that even the youngest children can make them. For this project
you’ll need at least four sheets of 4″ x 4″ sun print paper, a hard
surface for arranging the compositions and transporting, a clear piece
of plexiglass, leaves and flowers, tape, watercolor paints and a
brush. You can buy sun print kits that come with plexiglass and
complete instructions, but here’s how we did it.
How To Make Sun Prints
First, we gathered materials from the garden. You’ll want leaves that
have a distinct shape since you will only see the outline after the
printing process. While still indoors in a darkened room, we laid the
sun print paper on a wooden board and arranged the leaves and flower
petals on each piece, then positioned the plexiglass on top. Then I
taped the plexiglass down so that the leaves wouldn’t shift when
placing and removing them from the sun (this is key to getting a
distinct print). Next, we took the assembled board and placed it in
the bright sun. You’ll get the best prints when the sun is directly
overhead and not causing any shadows. We exposed the paper for about
Then we brought it indoors where we removed the plexiglass and rinsed the paper in water. The water stops the exposure process and inverts the colors. Since the paper is thin, it tends to curl at the edges, so after we dried out the paper I placed it under a book for a few hours to flatten it. My daughter then painted the white
areas with watercolor paint.
This project combines science and art, while allowing the children to experiment to see what makes the best prints. Let your kids look around the house for objects they think would work. Try hand prints, toys, cut paper designs, lace, seashells, or whatever else you and your kids can imagine.
For more wonderful ideas visit The Long Thread.
Don’t miss all the summer camp crafts.