DIY solar printed fabric

At the beginning of summer we participated in a Nature Pal Exchange. We signed up on the Nature Pal Exchange website and we were paired up with another family on the other side of the country. For the next couple of weeks we collected and identified nature items from our area to send to our friends across the country. They did the same. It was really fun to see bits of nature from an area of the country we might never get to visit.

DIY solar printing

Along with bits of nature like leaves and pressed flowers and vials of red Georgia clay, we also sent along some nature crafts we made. Some flowers and plants just don’t press or travel well. So, we decided to make sun prints.

DIY Solar printing

DIY solar printing

#naturepalexchange DIY sun print

There are some complicated ways to make a sun print but we did it the super easy way. I thought I’d share how we made ours:

Materials

  • items from nature (leaves, flowers, twigs, shells, etc.)
  • acrylic paint
  • water
  • cloth
  • paintbrushes
  • protective layer (tarp, tablecloth, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Gather materials and have everything ready before starting. Once you start the project you need to work quickly.
  2. Gather items from nature. Some plants wilt and curl quickly so it is best to pick those last to retain their shape for printing or choose sturdier plants.
  3. Mix one part water and one part acrylic paint.
  4. Thoroughly wet fabric under running water and lightly squeeze out excess water.
  5. Lay wet fabric on a tarp, plastic table cloth, or garbage bag in an area that will have full sun for a few hours. Weigh it down to protect from unexpected breezes, but it is best to work on a day with no wind at all.
  6. Quickly and generously apply paint/water mixture to fabric and lay foraged nature items directly on paint.
  7. Allow the fabric to fully dry in the sun.
  8. Remove nature items and dry in the dryer for 30 minutes to set the paint.

**Tip: items with a lot of detail and defined edges look the best. For instance, an oak leaf isn’t as visually appealing as a maple leaf. A sand dollar won’t look as cool as a starfish. Roses don’t look as nice as daisies.

 

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