Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Sun printing and Post 500

Hi, I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying whatever weather happens to be going on in your part of this wonderful planet 😊. Discussing the weather is a very Canadian thing to do. Is it part of your culture also? In Ottawa, the heatwave has finally lifted and we now have rain and cooler weather. Yeah! I'm sure that the heat will be back, but I'm going to enjoy this lovely break.

Sun printing

Last week I was able to do some sun printing. My results were so-so but I did enjoy the process and look forward to learning more and doing better. I also read an article about over-printing so I'm going to touch up some of my fabrics eventually.

My first attempt at sun printing this year

Some interesting plants from my yard

Mixing up the colours

Results of sun printing

This first piece (at the bottom of the first image) was the first that I did. I was really nervous and trying to get the first two done at the same time. 
  • A couple of the dandelion leaves on the left came out. 
  • The fern in the middle was not touching the fabric enough to get a good print. I think that I needed more paint. 
  • Next to it was a bunch of clover. It didn't adhere enough, but the two clover leaves at the top are great. 
  • The individual leaves didn't do too badly. 

Interesting results

I love the clover at the top edge of the first piece

The second piece was not very successful. There are faint images of ferns but not much else. I suspect that there wasn't enough paint and the plants were not touching the fabric enough. This piece will probably be much better with some over printing.

Not very successful sun printing

Faint outline of ferns

The little blue piece was not successful but I did better on my last two pieces. By then I was doing only one piece at a time, and was getting the hang of it.

I was hoping that the red would lighten up with more water - I would love to have gotten some pink in there. I think that I needed more paint (again) but the leaves did stick to the fabric so that the outlines, although pretty subtle, are better.

Green and red with some leaves outlined

Lovely violet leaves

This orange and yellow piece is my most successful as far as the sun print goes. Most of them are quite clear. Next time, I'll have to work on my composition 😊

Much better outlines of the leaves

Finally a pretty good image of a fern leaf.

What I learned

  • Sun printing is done with diluted transparent paint. I used PĂ©bĂ©o Setacolor light or transparent fabric paint but I think that I should have applied more paint to the fabric.
  • Also, since the paint dries fairly quickly outside in the sun, I should have done one piece at a time. I did spritz some water onto the fabric to keep it wet so that the image could transfer.
  • Plants that you can lie flat against the fabric work best. Some of the fern leaves I used were too rigid and didn't lie flat.
  • It's also important to work on the composition part so that if the sun prints work, that they will look nice together.
  • I've just found a tutorial on YouTube using the plant as a stencil to make plant prints. I've listed it below because I think that it would be great to use that technique also.
  • Finally, I found some articles by Lynda Heines. I've included the link below.
  • This is my 500th post! Youppi!!! I've been blogging for over 10 years, since March 2012. Wow, what a learning journey. I hope that it goes on for a long, long time 😎

Related links

Linking parties

I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Let's go see what's happening out there! Muv is hosting Free Motion Mavericks until tomorrow. Remember to go link up! Patchwork and Quilts, Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, Midweek Maker, Put your foot down (hosted by Andi this week), Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Finished or Not Finished Friday, Peacock Party

I have linked this post to Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd.


  1. Bravo pour ces essais, j'aime beaucoup les traces de fougÚres, c'est fin et délicat.
    Bravo pour le 500e post aussi !

    1. Merci beaucoup Frédérique, on ne peut pas apprendre sans essais! Félicitation pour ton nouveau studio. Maintenant tu peux t'amuser :-) Bises

  2. These are amazing Andrée, absolutely beautiful! The orange and yellow are my favorites too, not meaning the other are less than but I have really been drawn to orange and yellow fabric. While I love everything you do and say I am going to add them to my list (and I do) this is one I am going to educate myself on and try it very soon.

  3. I am back because I have been reading while I work. The one thing I have not found, do you have to use a fixative? Have you read if items dyed this way can withstand repeated washes ?

    1. Hi Denise, the paint I used is specifically for fabric, but I'm not sure how resistant it would be to many washes. I usually use the fabric for pieces that don't have to be washed. You could check on the manufacturer's site - Pébéo Setacolor. I have read a post about using another paint - as long as it's transparent and for fabric, that's what's important.

  4. Love seeing what you are going - and thanks for sharing out my post on sun printing. I am continuing to explore and learn more about this.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Anne! Looking forward to reading the rest of your adventure today.

  5. I have not been successful with sunprints. I wondered if the sun was too intense or it too hot here in Colorado. I also used seta, and love their intensity when not used in this way. Thanks for the list of things learned! LeeAnna

    1. Thanks LeeAnna. I have this déjà vue moment and either replied to you directly by email or thought about it... glad that I'm taking the day off...looks like I need it! You might want to try sun printing not in the sun. Apparently it can take longer to dry but you can do it indoors with a bright light. Good luck :-)

  6. It has been in the back of my mind to do some more sun printing. Such a great process!

    1. Thanks Angela, I'm sure that they would look amazing as a background for mandalas too!

  7. It's been a while since I did sun printing. One of my breakthroughs was realizing I didn't have to use only plant material. Anything that blocks the sun or diminishes is it is far game. A favorite was lace. The blue/green fabric you labeled as not very successful sun printing, is a successful surface design fabric. Would be stunning in a pond/marsh scene.

    1. Thanks so much for your ideas Gwyned. Interesting how I was so focused on the sun printing aspect of it that I under valued the design. You're quite right about the blue-green fabric - and it really is a beauty. Thanks

    2. yes lace would be a great mask for sun printing as is heavy paper cut in images beyond plant life. skys the limit1 love you adventures in fabric exploring. you inspire us to go .....what if....

  8. Hello Andrée,
    I love the way you keep on going with your dyeing experiments. The clover leaves and fern left beautiful impressions - you know how much I love leaves!
    Congratulations on you 500th post! You beat me to it with your first post in March 2012 - my first was a few weeks later in June.
    You would be at home in England. We talk about the weather non-stop.
    Love Muv

    1. Thanks so much Muv. I'm enjoying the dyeing and hope to get more done before the end of the summer....when the weather cools down. Sorry to hear about your heat wave - I guess when the weather is volatile, we have to talk about it! :-)

  9. I love your experiments! Sun printing is on the list for one day, so I will keep these resources in mind! Thanks for linking up to Tips and Tutorials!

    1. Thanks Kathleen. It's good to be able to share :-)


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