Thursday, August 17, 2017


For a long time now, I have admired sun prints, especially the botanical ones. But I always thought it required special paint, or special fabric, or special something. I have recently learned that it does not require anything special at all. How fun is that!?

Episode 1711 - Print and Paint - of Quilting Arts included a segment on this. Artist Lisa Chin demonstrated that these prints can even be accomplished by the impatient artist using an iron (no sun at all)! I did not have much luck with an iron but everything else I tried worked great.

First I soaked a piece of thrifted white cotton shirt in plain water and wrung it out. Then I placed it on the bottom of a plastic bin. I diluted some fabric paint with water and painted the color on with a wide brush. Lisa Chin says you can do this with ordinary acrylic craft paint too. Next I placed a *fresh* weed on top of it and placed it in the direct sunlight for a couple of hours, just until it was completely dry. I have lots of these fresh weeds on hand, should you need any for your project. LMK.

For comparison purposes, I wet another scrap from that thrifted shirt, painted it with diluted paint, added a couple of dried leaves I had on hand, and left it to dry under an ordinary desk lamp. That one turned out even better.

So yesterday I tried it again, this time with very ordinary objects:

And since I've long admired fern prints, I had to do one of those too. I had some buttons on hand from deconstructing the shirt so I threw them on too. I have a small collection of found objects so I added a couple of those too.

Today is a new day and I believe I'll make a few more fern prints. These are not really sun prints anymore. In fact I'll bet this just requires time so that the placed objects can wick away the paint. There's probably some chemistry lesson here.


  1. Very cool prints, Martha! I think this is the same principle at work as when silk painters sprinkle kosher salt over wet paint on silk--the salt absorbs the paint and leaves a speckled pattern.

  2. This looks so very promising. I am hosting an eco-dyeing party at my house in October and will test this idea out ahead to give the participants another embellishment technique to try.