I’m really excited to share this project with all of you today. My team and I worked together to create these beautiful two-toned fabric “sun prints,” and we all agreed it’s one our favorite craft projects we’ve ever done for the blog!
The finished sun prints look beautiful and sophisticated, but the process to make them is surprisingly easy. It basically involves arranging objects on a piece of fabric painted with a special UV-sensitive paint, and then developing the paint in direct sunlight. The areas around the objects become more bright and vibrant, while the color underneath the objects stays light. Then you give the fabric a quick wash with a special detergent to wash out the undeveloped paint, and voila! So pretty!
These prints are totally customizable as well. We chose to make our prints nature-themed, using flowers and foliage. But you could use pretty much anything you wanted to create the lighter-colored shapes on your print. You could use toys, paper cut-outs, etc. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own painted sun prints at home.
Two-Toned Sun Prints
- White cotton fabric
- Some old cardboard or foam board
- Wax paper
- Painter’s tape
- Solar-activated paints and special detergent
- Sponge brush
- Decorative items (see above)
Start by cutting out a square of fabric that is 18” long on all sides.
Cut your cardboard or foam board so that it measures at least 20” on all sides.
Prepare your board by covering it in pieces of wax paper. Secure the wax paper to the back or sides of the board with your painter’s tape.
Next, tape your fabric square to your board, securing it at the corners with pieces of painter’s tape. Now you’re ready to paint!
You need to apply the paint to your fabric either indoors or in the shade, since the paint will react to direct sunlight, and you don’t want it to start reacting before you’re ready! Use your sponge brush to apply your paint to the fabric in one even layer, leaving a margin of 1” or so on all sides.
Now it’s time to place your desired objects onto the fabric. Keep in mind that the area underneath the objects will remain light, while the uncovered areas will intensify in color.
When the objects are arranged to your liking, it’s time to develop the color! Take your board outside and place it in direct sunlight. Wait 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed when you see how quickly the color develops, it’s really cool to watch!
After 10 minutes, bring your board inside and remove the objects and the tape from your fabric.
Follow the directions on your detergent and wash the paint out of the fabric. Hang your fabric in a shady spot somewhere to dry.
You can frame your sun print, or you can glue a dowel right to the fabric and string it up right on your wall! You can also make beautiful and functional art by using a t-shirt, pillowcase, or tablecloth as your fabric. The possibilities are endless!