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Tutorial sun prints

tutorial sun print

After ten days of sun printing here’s a few of my tips and tricks for you to make botanical sun prints at home. This is what you’ll need:

  • sun printing paint like Solarfast, Dye-na-Flow or Setacolor transparant paint
  • pieces of fabric (cotton, silk) and/or thick watercolor paper (300 grams)
  • plastic table cloth or cut open garbage bag, gloves, a sponge brush
  • optional: painters tape, pins and a piece of glass big enough to cover your paper sheets
  • a sunny day (12-3 ‘o clock in the afternoon is perfect)

Working on fabric

  1. Set up your workplace outside in a completely sunny spot: tape plastic over a table and make sure you somehow block the wind on your table. Cut pieces of white cotton or silk to the desired size. I used an old cotton sheet to run tests. You could use a big (clean!) oven tray to work in, as it blocks the wind a little. Put some plastic in it if you like.
  2. Gather pretty leaves and flowers. You’ll use these to make silhouettes. Soft leaves work best, I find, because they tend to stick to the wet fabric and that is what you want to make crisp shapes. Vary the leaves in shape and size to make an interesting composition. As you have to work rather fast, you can first lay out the leaves on a piece of paper to form a pattern you like, and then put them on the painted fabric. My favorite leaves for sun printing are cow parsley, aquilega, red berry, ferns and geranium. You can use pins to keep your shapes in place but they will cause little holes in your fabric…
  3. Wet the piece of fabric and wring it out. Spread it out on the plastic/table. Put on your gloves. Spread a little paint on your (sponge) brush and paint the fabric with it. It all depends on what colors you like, but you can mix the various colors of the paint, but don’t water them down too much. The stronger the color, the better the imprint shows. Work quickly: the fabric has to remain wet when you put the flowers and leaves on them.
  4. Expose it to the sun. Between 12-3 ‘o clock in the afternoon the sun is perfect. When the fabric is completely dry, the print is done. Take it inside, take off the leaves and flowers and iron it at the back side to fix the paint.
  5. Jacquard, the producer of the mentioned paint, has some clear step by step tutorials on how to use their products. Do check it out over here.

Working on paper

  1. Set up your workplace outside in a completely sunny spot. Make sure you somehow block the wind on your table.
  2. Gather pretty leaves and flowers. You’ll use these to make silhouettes. Soft leaves work best, I find, because they tend to stay flat and that is what you want to make crisp shapes. I also used pressed flowers a lot and used a piece of glass (4mm thick) to weigh them down on the paper. Vary in shape and size to make an interesting composition. As you have to work rather fast, you can first lay out the leaves on a piece of paper to form a pattern you like, then paint the paper and lay out your composition on the painted paper. My favorite ones for sun printing are cow parsley, buttercup and other flat flowers, aquilega and geranium.
  3. I prepare these prints inside. Underneath my paper I use something flat like a piece of board, wooden plank or flat tray covered with plastic. For some prints I used painters tape to stick it to the wooden plank, but it can be difficult to loosen the paper afterwards without making scratches on your paper. The only reason to use it is to get a sharp white border.
  4. Put on your gloves. Spread an even layer of paint on the piece of paper with a sponge brush or flat brush. You will notice some of the strokes, so make sure to test it out first. Put your leaves and flowers down on the wet paper and once satisfied with your composition put a piece of glass on top. This avoids that your flowers get blown away. Make sure not to move the construction anymore (!) and take it outside.
  5. Expose it to the sun. Between 12-3 ‘o clock in the afternoon the sun is perfect. You’ll see the print change colour quickly! The print is done after 10-40 minutes, depending on the strength of the sun. Take it inside, take off the leaves and flowers and wash it in warm water (a running tab) for a few minutes. When the water is clear, your print is ready. Take off the painters tape if you have used that, but be very careful not to ruin your edges.
  6. Jacquard, the producer of the mentioned dye, has some clear step by step tutorials on how to use their products. Do check it out over here.

sun print PRODUCTS

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botanical collage

Sunprint on fabric

Yesterday was a very sunny sunday here in Amsterdam, perfect for a sunprint on fabric. I tested dye-na-flow fabric paint on pieces of cotton. I find it easier to print on paper than on wet fabric, but here are some of the botanical collages I made by mixing two colours: pewter and teal. All prints are made with freshly picked leaves and flowers from my garden. Check out more of my botanical collages over here.sun print of a deconstructed flower

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botanical art

Amelanchier

If you live in the Netherlands you might have noticed that the amelanchier (krentenboompje) is in bloom. It is one of my favorite spring trees, I love the pretty brown leaves and the little white flowers. It is featured in this sun print, made on day 3 of my botanical collage project on Instagram. Next week – after ten days of making sun prints – I’ll be sharing a tutorial. It’s so much fun to do!

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#100daysofbotanicalcollages

100 days of botanical collages

100 days of botanical collages is a project in which I’ll be making collages for a hundred days and daily post the results on my Instagram account. Working from my garden studio I love capturing the beauty of everything that’s growing in and around my garden. It is the base for everything I make. I also love creating collages and patterns with fresh flowers. During winter months I ‘m using the dried flowers and leaves I picked during the summer months.

Analog printing

From april 4th up until july 12th 2017 I’ll be exploring several techniques to capture the plants and flowers that are in bloom in my garden right now. I’ll be arranging them into collages or patterns and photograph or reproduce them as analog prints. On sunny days cyanotype and sun prints are definitely on my list. The chemical process in which the fluid reacts with the sun is just magical. I’ll be sharing tutorials during the project so you can try it out for yourself.

100 days

When you’re new to Instagram you might not have heard from #the100dayproject. Anyone can join and picks his or her own subject. I’ve had friends doing 100daysofcircles (!), 100daysofknitting and so on. Last year I did #100dayspaintinginmygarden, which I loved doing. It’s especially good if you’re using a technique like water color, which takes a lot of practice… I’ve been using and selling the images afterwards in my bedding designs.

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spring is here

spring is here

Oh happy day, spring is here at last… To start my favorite season well, I made a photo collage with flowers from my garden: daffodils, pansies, grape hyacinth and a few others.

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bye bye winter

bye bye winter

The last day of winter, finally! To honor my least favorite of all seasons, I made a photo collage. Three months of cold, dark and rainy days is just about enough to make me scream for spring (well, almost).  Although it’s a gloomy day today, my garden is showing all kinds of new life: my apple trees have tiny leaves and winter beauties like helleborus and pansies brighten up dark corners. Daffodils are in bloom, and so will the grape hyacinths and hyacinths be soon. Bye bye winter, I won’t be missing you (sorry).

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Chocolate wrapper design

Any excuse to do something with chocolate is a good one, I find. Here‘s how to make your own chocolate wrapper design. Don’t eat the chocolate straight away, but give it as a present to your mother, or someone dear.

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Decorated cutlery with flowers

Decorated cutlery

In a predominantly male household I am the only one fond of a beautifullylaid table. I’d love to use fresh flowers, antique crockery & wine glasses and a floral table cloth every day. That’s far too much hassle, according to my men. I’ve found the perfect solution: use decorated cutlery and fabric napkins made of my favorite Liberty & Laura Ashley fabrics. I have some pretty floral patterns to look at, while they have it as functional as can be (…)

Floral cutlery

Luckily one of my clients, Bunzlau Castle, has produced this lovely cutlery with my flowers on it, matching the storage jars I designed for them in 2016. There are six different designs to choose from. You can buy them per piece and thus arrange your own collection of decorated cutlery. Have a look over here to find a store.

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