Sun Prints from the Long Thread

    Posted by  ·  June 30, 2010

    The amazing Ellen from The Long Thread as the perfect activity to use the sun for some fun!

    Ellen writes…

    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
    two minutes.

    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.

    Filed Under: Crafts for kids

    Leave a Comment


    1. Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
      This is absolutely perfect for my daughter. She adores creative activities so this is one on our must-do list!

      Thank you so much for sharing.

      Zoe xxx
    2. Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
      What a great idea. I am looking for an inexpensive way to decorate a long wall in my daughters room. What a perfect idea. She can do all the work. :>)
    3. Katherine marie
      Thursday, July 8th, 2010
      Beautiful!!! What a fun project!
    4. Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      I love this! Where can we find sun print paper? I've never heard of it before this. Thanks!
    5. Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      this is such a gorgeous idea. thanks a ton for sharing!
    6. Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      we just posted our blog on sun prints yesterday, as well. check them out:
      now that the sun is strong, this is such a great activity... i love your idea of painting on them - we'll have to try that out, too! lovely.
    7. Jeannie
      Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      These are beautiful! I can't wait to try them! Definitely worthy of being permanent wall art..I love those kinds of projects! Thanks for sharing!
    8. Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      I love this! I remember making these when I was little. I remember using the special paper and we also used cheap construction paper for the reverse effect. The cheap construction paper fades really fast and leaves the colored part that was covered. Although I love the idea of painting it--so fun!!
    9. Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
      Where would I find this kind of paper? I've never heard of it. Thanks