Home » Blog » Decorate » Budget Decorating Ideas » How to Make Sun Prints

How to Make Sun Prints

/ / / /

Learn how to make beautiful prints using the sun

vintage industrial cabinet and sun print art


Today I’m going to show you how to make some gorgeous sun prints using items
from nature and the power of the sun! It’s all part of this month’s Thrifty
Style Team challenge, hosted by my friend Julie at
Redhead Can Decorate, and you can see all of this month’s creative projects at the bottom of
this post.

Each month we share ideas for using thrifted, gifted, free, or
budget-friendly items to decorate your home with. The creativity of this
group always blows me away!


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For full
disclosure go
here.


How to Make Sun Prints

diy sun print hanging on wall hooks

I enjoy creating art for my home, especially if it’s budget-friendly and looks
like it’s from a designer shop. I’ve been seriously crushing on blue and white
recently (see my recently updated living room here → New Blue and White Living Room) and love the way these incorporate those colors into my decor. Plus I adore
the organic look of them.    

blue and white fern sun print

This is a really simple project and is something you could easily do with your
kids or grandchildren. Simple art is the best kind for me, lol. You can see
some of my past simple DIY art creations here → 13 Thrifty DIY Art & Decor Ideas

diy fern sun print and vintage hobart cabinet

Here are the main things to know about this little project:

  • A special
    cyanotype paper
    is required.
  • It changes color when exposed to the sunlight. Hence the name “sun
    prints”.
  • The shapes are created by blocking the sun on the areas covered. 
  • The covered areas remain white and the areas exposed to the sun will
    turn blue after rinsing the paper with water. Pretty cool, huh? 
  • Flat items like leaves give sharper edges, while items that are more
    dimensional have a softer abstract look when used on the paper.
  • And the best part?
    It’s only $1.53 per sheet!! I used
    this kit with the necessary sheet of glass included → sun print paper kit

vintage bottle diy sun print process

I played around with several different items including a vintage bottle.
Here are a few items that would make interesting art with this
sun print paper.

  • Bottles
  • Leaves
  • Butterflies and insects
  • Seashells
  • Lace
  • Stencils
  • Scissors and other tools
  • Kitchen gadgets

I can’t wait to try some of these other items in the near future.

sun print made with vintage glass bottle

Here’s the full printable tutorial for this fun sun print project.


Yield: 15 prints

Author: Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge

Estimated cost: $23

How to Make Sun Prints

Create stylish and affordable art in minutes with just a few supplies.

prep time: 5 hourperform time: 30 hourtotal time: 35 H

materials:

  • Sunprint Kit
  • Leaves, flowers, or other object to create the design with
  • Water 
  • Picture Frame

tools:

  • No tools necessary for this project!

steps:

  1. Select the items with interesting shapes to create your art. It can
    be leaves, flowers, or anything you like. Decide how you want to lay
    it out on the paper. (here are some ideas) 

  2. In a room with the very low lighting, gently remove one sheet of the
    sunprint paper
    from the package, being careful not to expose any of the other
    sheets. If the paper is exposed the project won’t work.
  3. Place the paper on a flat tray or piece of cardboard and then lay
    your selected object on top of it, following the manufacturers
    instructions for which side to face upwards. 
  4. Place the piece of glass over both of them, and then cover all of it
    with another piece of regular paper or poster board to minimize
    exposure until you’re ready to expose it to full sun.
  5. Carry the items outside into full sunlight and remove the top sheet
    paper covering the glass, exposing the
    sunprint paper
    and your objects to the sunlight. Leave the glass in place as it
    will hold everything still while the sun does its magic.

  6. Leave in the direct sunlight for 2 – 5 minutes. The paper that is
    exposed to the sun will turn white. Do not overexpose. 

  7. Re-cover the paper and bring it inside. Remove your objects. (leaves
    in this case) The paper will be light blue where your object was
    blocking the sun from the paper, like the photo below.

  8. Remove the paper from your tray and rinse in water for a couple of
    minutes.
  9. Lay flat to dry. It will darken as it dries. 

  10. Hang in a frame or with a hanging magnetic poster frame.

NOTES:

Items that lay flat produce the sharpest prints. 
Items that are more dimensional will produce prints that are softer and a bit more abstract.
This process works best on bright, sunny days with no clouds. 

Recommended Products:

Sunprint Kit

Magnetic Poster Frame

Created using
Craft Card Maker


Here are all of this month’s projects for the Thrifty Style Team!

thrifty home decor and accessory projects

Click the links below to read about each idea:

Redhead Can Decorate – How to Create & Style a Sexy Rustic Suede Bracelet

The Painted Hinge – How to Use Real Flowers in Hanging Baskets

DIY Beautify – How to Get That Restoration Hardware Finish with Paint

2 Bees In A Pod – Vacation Memory Map Wreath

The How To Home – Easy and Quick Upcycled Garden Planters to Make in Minutes

Vinyet Etc. – DIY – Wooden Pendant From Thrifted Tennis Racket

Sweet Pea – Antique Mirror Makeover

What Meegan Makes – How To Make a Flower Basket from a Spice Rack

Cottage At The Crossroads – No Sew Ruffled Tea Towel

Postcards From The Ridge – Designer DIY Wall Art with Sunprints

Lora B. Create & Ponder – Repurposed Old Wood Create Tote Caddy DIY

Our Crafty Mom – Cottage Core Old Window Wall Decor

Chas’ Crazy Creations – Easy DIY Chalkboard TV Tray

Cottage On Bunker Hill – DIY Mini Flower Pot Wreath

You can see all of my past Thrifty Style Team projects here:

See even more ideas for budget-friendly wall art here:

13 Ideas for thrifty wall art and decor 

blue and white wall art and vintage botanical wall art

diy sun prints made with fern leaves

17 Comments

    1. Thanks, Cindy! It's a great way to make some unique and inexpensive art!

  1. I've seen this but never had any idea how to do it! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial and beautiful inspiration!

  2. Angie – you have blown our minds! We had no idea how to do this project. Your sun prints are beautiful.Thanks for sharing how to create them.

  3. Well this is just darling!!!! I love the botanical, but you know the vintage bottle print has stolen my heart! What a wonderful project, I'll have to hunt for some of that magical paper locally!

  4. Oh my gosh what a great idea, and I love how it turned out. Thank you so much for sharing and wonderful hopping with you!

  5. I LOVE botanical prints. These are just what I need for my guest bathroom. So pretty, Angie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.