Printing with the Sun!

Hi friends! We have had 3 sunny days in a row! I can feel the vitamin D coursing through my veins! Today’s project is fun and sciency and I think I will do this project with my free kids library class next month because I think they will get a kick out of it!

solarpprintblog

The really cool thing about this project is that it can teach some old-time photography methods as well. This process is closely related to cyanotype and works by sensitizing a porous material, in this case wood, with a UV reactive chemical and then placing either a negative the size of the final print (as is common with most non-silver process photography) or opaque object on the surface and exposing it to UV light. 20 minutes later you have a print! Cool huh? The photo below shows the treated panel with a photo negative and items to leave prints. The treated surface begins to change quickly once in the sun.

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Now, let me be clear, although Solarfast and Cyanotype are very similar there are a few differences, if you wish to explore these please look at the comparison chart on the Jacquard Products website. One of the key differences is that Cyanotype is done on dry media, meaning you prepare the surface and let it dry before printing (You can make surfaces up ahead of time) and Solarfast must be printed when still damp. I did not know that before filming so I wanted to make sure to note it here. Cyanotype is cheaper and can capture greater detail but Solorfast is more durable for laundering and comes in more colors. In any event it is fun and I would not have tried this if I didn’t get it in a smart art box! I think more than ever that a Smart Art box subscription would be the easiest way to develop a well-rounded home school art curriculum.

This tutorial is sponsored by Smart Art, you can purchase past boxes or subscribe to their monthly art box and they are now shipping to many countries!

Supplies:

  • Ampersand cradled wood panel
  • Solarfast by Jacquard (purple)
  • Solarfast wash out liquid
  • Solarfast transparencies
  • Opaque black pen
  • Foam brushes
  • Other items (not in Smart Art Box) die cuts or objects to block out light (marbles, felt)

Tips:

  1. Practice on a scrap of wood or fabric before working on your final project.
  2. Blot off excess fluid before placing down your transparency.
  3. Solid and opaque images give a better print than ink jet printed images. Use your printers best ink setting to make sure you get the darkest possible print.
  4. You can make your own negatives on the Jacquard Website.

This was a fun and educational project! I think the solorfast is more designed with fabrics in mind so I might try a T-shirt next, what would you print? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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