Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soak up the Sun Prints

I have been going through craft withdrawal a bit lately, but I've been kind of lazy about coming up with projects to do. I was interested in trying out sun prints with the kids (not really a craft, but still creative), and I was able to get this SunArt Paper kit at Hobby Lobby for about 10 dollars. (I consider myself lucky, too, since it was the last package of cyanotype paper they had.) There are some cheaper ways to get it (I found some on Amazon that qualified for free shipping if you spend enough money), but this way I had it in hand immediately and didn't have to pay shipping. My kit included 15 sheets of 5" x 7" SunArt Paper and a 5" x 7" acrylic panel. Although we typically make our crafts with stuff around the house, I personally don't think this is a bad deal.

{My Favorite Print: "A Bit of Lace"}
{Leaves and Berries by Mia}
The process for making sun prints is very simple:
  1. First, we gathered some items to use for print making: flowers, leaves, feathers, buttons, shells, etc. 
  2. In the shade of the garage, we got out one piece of SunPrint Paper at a time, set it on a cutting board (you could use cardboard or another hard surface), arranged the objects as desired, and laid the acrylic panel on top (This keeps lightweight things like dandelions and feathers nicely in place.) if desired -- I skipped this step with bulkier items like buttons and sand dollars. 
  3. Next, we took the cutting board outside and laid it in the sun on the driveway for 5 minutes. (I took a timer outside to help me keep track.) 
  4. After 5 minutes, I set the print in a cookie sheet filled with water and some lemon juice for 1 minute.
  5. When we were done making prints, I put them back on the cutting boards and took our cutting boards into the house where I left them on the counter to dry. After that, I pressed them flat under some books for about 24 hours. Now, I just need to get some frames for our artwork.
{Cosmos by Mia}
I am happy with the results of this project even though it didn't go exactly as I would have liked. Logan, 23 months, only wanted to play in the water and Mia 4 1/2, lost interest after only 3 prints (and I was still trying to get the hang of things at that point). I thought it was fun, and we have a few more sheets of paper that I may just go ahead and use to make some more artistic prints to suit my own tastes. I have a ton of ideas!
{Hydrangea #1 by Mia}

{Hydrangea #2}
Other Items to Possibly Try:
  • tools (nails, screws, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, measuring tape, etc.)
  • sewing items (needles, spools, pinking shears, safety pins, pin cushion with pins?, cookie cutters, etc.)
  • cooking utensils (silverware, measuring spoons, slotted spoons, spatula, rolling pin, whisk, etc.)
  • costume jewelry (rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, tiara?)
  • beads (all shapes and sizes)
  • fruit and vegetables (sliced thinly--although I don't know how the liquid would react with the paper)
  • pet items (collar, leash, bones, etc.)
  • keys
  • stickers or paper cut-outs of just about anything (animals, music notes, sports, etc.)
  • I am wondering how it would look if I used stencils.
Other Tips and Ideas :
  • The 5" x 7" size was perfect for beginners and little ones who don't have much patience to fill a larger piece of paper. 
  • You may want to buy different sizes of paper if you want to display a grouping of prints.
  • If you are braver than I am, you can experiment with different lengths of exposure. I stuck with 5 minutes because it worked once, so I figured it would keep working.
  • You can also experiment with the sun's light at different times of day. It may take longer, though, if the sun isn't as intense.
  • Items with a lot of bulk tended to not have much clarity when the print was finished. We tried a branch from the hydrangea bush, for example, and it came out mostly like a big white blob. Once we separated it into individual petals, it was much more attractive.
  • I have a theory that darker colored items leave a brighter white impression based on the fact that some of the buttons barely showed up (I think these were the clear ones.) and there were different "degrees" of whiteness among the other buttons. There may be a completely different explanation for why/how this happens, but this is my best guess. 
  • One large item may look nice on its own, but groupings of items also look good, especially if you stick to odd numbers in your composition.
  • I am planning to save the acrylic once the paper is used up. Then, we'll have it for the next time we decide to make sun prints, and we can make two at a time instead of one. Otherwise, it can be used as a stamp block for clear stamps, or any number of craft projects...
  • If you want to make this more educational, you can teach about the science behind how photography works. For me, it's mostly about the artistic process, though.
    {"All Buttoned Up"}

No comments:

Post a Comment