There are two things I absolutely adore about this simple kid project – No, wait, make that three!
First, it gets the kids outside from start to finish. Second, the results are so pretty you can easily frame them in any room for some easy and inexpensive artwork that will boost your kiddo’s confidence (score!). I’ve been itching to try this send-away framing service and I think this might just be the project for doing it.
And third, it’s an opportunity for learning at home, which we always love. Here’s Julee with the details…
Part nature exploration, part science and part art, making sun prints – also called cyanotypes – is the perfect spring-time activity.
Last weekend, we spent an entire afternoon collecting greenery from our yard, experimenting with making prints and, later, framing our creations for a nature-themed gallery wall in our living room.
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own sun prints:
- Light-sensitized paper and an acrylic sheet (we purchased this kit that included both)
- Large flat surface such as a piece of cardboard
- Lemon juice (optional)
- An assortment of small objects (leaves or other flat items with interesting shapes work best)
One of the best parts of this project is gathering items to use in your prints. We decided to use leaves and flowers and spent quite a bit of time exploring our yard to collect interesting shapes and patterns.
Other small objects can work just as well: doilies, buttons, ribbons, paper cut-outs, and necklaces also make great designs.
Once we had gathered a collection of interesting leaves and flowers, we pressed them briefly in a book to flatten them and then we were ready to begin the printing process.
We worked in a shaded area of our deck to create a layout on a single piece of the photo-sensitive paper (blue side up) and then placed the clear acrylic sheet on top.
We placed the arrangement in a sunny spot on our deck and allowed it to sit in the sun for approximately 2-4 minutes. Once it is exposed to the sun, the paper began to lighten and the pattern of the leaves appears in dark blue.
Next, the paper was removed from the sun and dipped in water to stop the chemical process. You can add lemon juice to the water to create a darker blue, but we didn’t have any on hand so we skipped this step.
Once our prints were created, I realized we had a batch of gorgeous art on our hands and lots of empty walls in our home.
By framing two of our sun prints and pairing them with a photo from our Napa Valley vacation, a landscape print by Emily Jeffords and an apple drawing by my daughter, I was able to create a nature-themed art display in our living room.
Such a simple spring-time update. Do you have a spot in your home just waiting for some sun prints?
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