Friday, 11 September 2009

Sun Prints

Some time last year I told here about a method of printing fabrics with the help of sunlight. I took an afternoon course a couple of years ago and last week I wanted to try it again on my own. Here comes a little tutorial.

First I covered a metal plate with a bin liner to avoid rust stains.

Then I attached my fabric on the surface with some masking tape and sprayed it with water.

After this I used protective gloves, changing to a new pair every time they were stained so I wouldn't ruin my print.

I used textile paints, adding colour pigments to a basic spray emulsion.

I kept adding pigments to get different autumn shades.

This fabric was too big to work on in the sun, the fabric and colour dried before I added the darkest shade so the colour change was not smooth. I placed leaves on the fabric to stay there until the colour had dried completely.

It was too windy to let it dry ourdoors in the sun, so I had to take my project indoors.

This is the result. The colour will disappear under the leaves (or whatever you decide to place on the fabric). Here are some closeups. Rowan:



Something was different this time, because my prints from the class look like this:

and this

We used glass panes there, and the work was done indoors so everything was kept exactly in place; and the fabric was really flat on the glass. My bin liner was probably not flat enough to make such clear pictures. I'll be wiser next time. This tutorial is "Don't do like I do, but like I tell you to do"!
The printed fabric needs to be ironed to fasten the colour. I may use the prints for a table runner or a bag or something. I tried to position the leaves so that I could cut squares of the fabric.

This week I have hand sewn the binding on the Giraffe quilt, machine sewn binding to the Lion and giraffe strip quilt, and crocheted some granny squares for the second orphanage blanket. On Wednesday I visited my mother and came back home with some (a lot of) fabrics and unfinished projects of hers. I also found a box with my old dresses from the late 60's, too small for anyone to wear. There may be something to show on VTT!

Yesterday was my Back to school -day, because it was the first night of the sewing group to meet. I started cutting and sewing the sweet elephant quilt Miri designed. It will be my third Orphanage quilt.


  1. This is fantastic Ulla! It must be very satisfying printing your own cloth. I have thought about it before using different methods to this but my problem is I really can't bear to get my hands dirty.

  2. oh my goodness! ulla, your hand painted fabric is absolutely gorgeous! wow - i love it!

  3. Thank you for a wonderful tutorial. It is something I haven't tried to do but looked great. I think the slightly blurred leaves looked good as if they were moving in a breeze.

    Yes I felt like I was starting a new term too. Both the children have gone back to school and today was my 1st BOM day at PP. Life feels proper again. :-)

  4. The fabric turned out gorgeous, Ulla! Thank you for a wonderful lesson on how to do it! Can't wait to see the fabric you got - and the dresses! I hope all is well with your mother!

  5. You are tuff girl Ulla and your colouring project is great. Don't you give up, try again.
    I would love to see your old dresses!! I guess old memories will come back to me again ;-))
    By the way I am just fine again and back to my sewing machine...

  6. Wow Ulla! This is wonderfully pretty & such a gorgeous cheery shade of orange!

  7. Ulla, I think your fabric is wonderful! I like the soft color and the soft outlines on the leaves-can't wait to see what you use it in!

    And Please show us your 1960s dresses!

  8. Love the painted fabrics! Anything leaf shaped catches my eye.

  9. Lovely!

    It reminds me of a time when my friend and I tried to figure out how to make sun tattoos. We thought we could cut up shapes from paper and lay in the sun for a while and the result would be magnificent. Hahaa, don't know why we didn't try it out. Maybe it was a cold summer that year in Finland.


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