Thursday, June 13, 2013

Acrylic Paint Sun Prints on Fabric

Craftiments:  Learn how to make faux sun prints on fabric using regular acrylic craft paint

Can you believe that the girls and I created these gorgeous faux sun prints using regular acrylic craft paint? There is no need to buy expensive, light sensitive papers or dyes! I'm calling these faux sun prints because sunlight is not actually needed. This simple technique uses heat and evaporation to create negative images of objects placed on painted fabric. Would you like to learn how?


Materials
  • white 100% cotton fabric
  • acrylic craft paints (darker colors work best)
  • paint brushes
  • water
  • a tarp or plastic trash bag
  • flowers, leaves, etc.

Directions

Gather your supplies and head outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Spread out a tarp or plastic bag to protect your driveway. Wet the fabric, squeezing it out just enough that it no longer drips, and lay it flat on the tarp. Thin the paints about 1:1 with water.

Wet fabric and watered down paint


Paint the fabric.

Paint the fabric
paint the fabric


Gather flowers and leaves with interesting silhouettes. Or if you prefer, household items such as washers, keys, toys, office supplies, kitchen utensils, sewing notions, foam shapes, etc. You will get the best results from objects that lie flat and make good contact with the fabric around their edges. For example, a leaf will work well, an acorn will not.

collect flowers and leaves


Arrange your items on the fabric and press them lightly into the paint. If you are working with flowers and leaves, press their edges as flat as possible. To get a sharp image, the edges need to make contact with the fabric.

arrange flowers and leaves on fabric


Let the fabric dry completely (this will take several hours). Now comes the fun part... the peel and reveal! There were lots of "oohs and aahs" from my girls as they pulled off the leaves and flowers.

let dry and peel


To heat set the paint, tumble your sun prints in the clothes dryer at high temperature for about 45 minutes. At this point you can wash the prints to soften them up.

Craftiments:  Tutorial for faux sun prints on fabric using acrylic craft paint


Here are a few close-ups of our sun prints after they were washed. I think they would be pretty made into a pillow or a bunting.

Craftiments:  Faux sun prints on fabric using acrylic craft paint
Craftiments:  Faux sun prints on fabric using acrylic craft paint
Craftiments:  Faux sun prints on fabric using acrylic craft paint


A few tips...

Don't try this on a windy day.  Several of our leaves blew away before the print was complete.

Have a spray bottle of water handy.  Mist the fabric lightly if it starts drying before you've arranged the leaves and flowers.

Darker colored paints make the best prints because they give the most contrast with the white fabric.


How does it work?

Water evaporates from the exposed surface of the fabric as it is heated by infrared energy from the sun. The covered areas of the fabric are essentially protected from evaporation, making them wetter than the exposed fabric. Water diffuses from the covered fabric to the drier exposed fabric, pulling the paint pigments along with it. The trick is to start with enough water to pull all the pigment out from under the items being printed. Through a little experimentation, I learned that using wet fabric and watered-down paint gives the sharpest prints.





Thank you for the feature!

Teach Beside Me52 MantelsA Jennuine Life Thrifty to Nifty Thursdays Feature

Craft Schooling Sunday on Creative Jewish Mom

46 comments :

  1. They are beautiful! I would love them as pillows!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are so pretty. I am going to have to put this on our to-do list. Also, thanks for the scientific explanation. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Totally clever idea!! I am pinning this to try sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Super fun idea! Thank you for sharing at our Simply Create Link party!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a really neat project and so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are definitely giving this a try. It looks like fun. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is awesome! Definitely on my list of things to-do :)

    Inspired Panda

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Kirstin,

    What a fun project!
    It looks like you all
    had a wonderful time
    creating.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Bear Hugs
    Carollyn

    ReplyDelete
  9. I so love this idea and want to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Really beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. so love this idea!!!! gotta pin so everyone can see it!
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very creative. Thanks for sharing this at Pin It Monday Hop Pinterest Party.

    Judy
    Pursuit Of Functional Home

    ReplyDelete
  13. That is so cool! Thank you- my kids will love this one!

    - Heather R., The Real Leopardstripes

    ReplyDelete
  14. Super neat. Passing along to my daughter who teaches elementary art:) Found your post on Craftomaniac. Stop by http://www.sewsweetvintage.com/2013/06/handkerchief-party-bunting.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fabulous tutorial! I love that you explain the science behind the beautiful result! I think I'll try this with my kids this summer and them make something for them out of the fabric.

    MGM

    ReplyDelete
  16. What an awesome idea! I bet my mother's group would love to do this with the kids!

    I hope you link up with us this week!
    http://www.sowderingabout.com/2013/06/on-display-monday-linkup-6.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a great project! Can't wait to try it. Pinning.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This turned out so beautiful, and how much fun for the kids!!! :) I'm off to pin it now, and I can't wait to try it out this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is great! My girls will absolutely love this! They are always gathering up nature for me. :) We've been playing with acrylics as well. I'd love for you to see my post on using Glue to make designs on fabric.

    http://ginascraftcorner.blogspot.com/2013/06/glue-resist-technique-on-fabric-how-to.html

    I'm pinning and following on g+ and twitter.
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love this! Hope to find some time this summer to give it a try with my girls. Found you on Sugar Bee Crafts.

    Jess
    http://organasms.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow, love the flower silhouettes. So pretty.

    I would love it if you would come link up at Artsy Play Wednesday kids' craft linky.

    http://www.babygiveawaysgalore.com/2013/06/artsy-play-wednesday-kids-craft-linky_19.html

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for sharing this with us on Share It Saturday! We are featuring your post on Saturday. They turned out great!!
    Colleen at Sugar Aunts

    ReplyDelete
  23. Featured and PINNED!! Thanks so much!! Linda

    http://www.craftsalamode.com/2013/06/what-to-do-weekends-25.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. So beautiful!! I am featuring you tomorrow on Share It Saturday!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Very cool! Love the combination of art and science. A wonderful new item to add to our list this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  26. How fun!! I can't wait to try this out :)

    I've featured you today: http://www.52mantels.com/2013/06/summer-ideas-recipes.html

    ReplyDelete
  27. Amazingly beautiful!!!! I love this post! Thanks for sharing at For the Kids Friday! I am featuring YOU this week!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is awesome! I think we will do this today! I always assumed acrylic paint would come out in the wash. These would make great little gifts for the kiddos to give out!

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a fun project! They would make beautiful pillows. Thanks for stopping by and linking up to Fluster Buster's Creative Muster Party! Looking forward to seeing what you're going to link up next week.

    Robin @ Fluster Buster

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've made these twice with my boys since I saw this post. Yours are far prettier than ours, but my boys (2 and 4) were far more interested in mixing the paints together than painting blocks of color. :) But the science still held out and they are covered in flower and plant "shadows" now. I intend to use them to trim the bottom of our PVC fort/tent in our back yard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to hear that your little boys had fun making sun prints! I can relate to the paint mixing...I have to remind my three year old daughter not to make "mud" :) Great idea to use them for trimming your tent!

      Delete
  31. Hi there! I have acrylic paints. Is this different from acrylic "craft" paint?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Any type of acrylic art paint should work. You may need to thin it more if it's the expensive kind with lots of pigment in it. If it's acrylic wall paint, I am not sure if it will work because there may be additives in it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great project! Do you think it would work on white t-shirts?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Really interesting with such beautiful results! I'll be featuring it on The Crafty Crow :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Amazing! How did you ever think of this? I'm so excited to try this. We recently did this with the sun print material, which was fine, but these are much more beautiful.

    Do you think it has to be acrylic paint, or could tempera or biocolor be used too?

    thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you! In theory it should work. You might want to do some test swatches to figure out how much you need to thin the paint. Also, I don't think you can heat set tempera ( at least the kind I am familiar with). If you try out either one, let me know how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
  37. These are so beautiful! I can't wait to try it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great idea for a summer time activity. My children are going to LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  39. stunning and brilliant! how did you know the white would appear? i am floored by your creativity. can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  40. wonder if i could do the same on paper ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it would have to be thick, fibrous paper. I doubt regular printer paper would work. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

      Delete
  41. I love this idea. I tried it yesterday morning on some light blue cotton with fabric paint, and it looks beautiful. I bought 3 yards of cotton and acrylic paint and I am trying it with around 5 kids in our building today and then doing it with 40 campers tomorrow. In theory, they will be sukkah decorations.

    ReplyDelete