Sun printing is a process by which the light from the sun is used to help develop an image.
The most common form of sun print is the cyanotype, a print made on a chemically treated surface resulting in a distinctive white image on a blue background.
For our project we are going to use dark color construction paper, when exposed to the sun for an extended period of time it should have a similar effect but in reverse.
The image will be darker than the background.
- Notes about the sun in general: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory site
- An excellent description of the parts of the sun: How the Sun Works by How Stuff Works
- A description of the different type of UV rays: Ultraviolet Radiation by Health Physics Society
- A description of what type of UV rays are harmful to our skin: Stay Safe in the Summer Sun by the FDA*
- The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs by Fiona Robinson
You will need:
- black (or dark colored) construction paper, sized larger than your chosen leaf or objects (mine was 9×12 inches in size)
- leaves of different sizes and shapes
- flat objects such as pieces of lace, paper shapes, stencils
You can use what you have from the two systems shown below to hold down the leaf:
- place the leaf or leaves / flat objects on the piece of paper prior to placing anything over it.
- To get the solar prints, place one of the following systems on top of the leaves and paper:
- System 1 – Place a 8×10 sheet protector over the leaves / flat objects. Place the empty 8×10 photo frame over the sheet protector to hold the system in place.
- System 2 – With larger leaves / flat objects, rocks of various sizes can be used to hold them down to create the solar print. Place the rocks so that it covers only the leaf / object. This way the rock itself doesn’t become part of the print (unless that’s something you are trying to do!)
- The areas of the paper exposed to the sun will fade. When you see most of
- the color disappears from the paper, your print has been fully exposed.
- These were exposed for an entire day before the leaves / objects and prints were picked up.
The red print above is mine. I only left it in the sun for 4 hour and I used push pins to secure it to cardboard
When you are done with your prints, send us photos or bring them into the library to be displayed By August 22nd. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative prints