how to | create a sunprint

A sunprint is a simple photographic process much that like of a cyanotype. It uses direct sunlight to expose an object onto paper. We love using flowers and foliage from the garden, creating easy and inexpensive pieces of beautiful, original artwork. This creative process will keep children - and grown ups! - entertained for hours, and is a nice way to spend time with your kids outdoors in the garden.

you'll need:

a sunprint kit

a piece of cardboard cut to size

foliage, flowers or small objects

a basin or ice cream container of water


step 1 | assemble flowers and foliage from the garden. Keep in mind the paper is 12cm square, so its best to choose smaller elements. A tip is to look for intricate forms rather than larger leaves, as these will block out most of your paper rather than creating detailed silhouettes.

You may wish to place your chosen fronds and flowers under a heavy book for a couple of hours or overnight, as pressing them will help enhance the forms and create a really strong imprint on your image. Or, try more 3D forms - such a seed pods, dried flower heads and feathery foliage; omit the acrylic sheet from the process to experiment with varying exposures within your image.

You can hold your foraged pieces up to the light and see the shadows they cast - this is the sort of effect your sunprint will create. But, of course all the fun is in the experimentation! Your sunprint kit comes with 12 sheets of paper so there is plenty of room to play. 

step 2 | using the cardboard piece as a base, put one sheet of sunprint paper on top with the blue side facing up.

step 3 | artfully arrange your foliage on the blue paper.

step 4 | you can either top with the acrylic sheet included in your sunprint kit - or alternatively omit and use a 3D object only.

step 5 | place in direct sunlight and leave there for 5 minutes - do not overexpose!

step 6 | when the timer goes, quickly remove the acrylic and/or foliage, and carefully rinse the sunprint paper in a basin of water for 1 minute.

step 7 | set aside on a flat surface to dry. As the paper dries and the imprint develops, the beautiful cyan colour will become richer. We recommend drying your print out of direct sunlight as this can cause the paper crinkle and curl up. If you need to flatten out the prints place under a heavy book. 

step 8 | repeat the process and this time try something different!

We used...

older post / newer post