Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunprinting, Chapter 1

The transparency of my grandma and me.
I woke up this morning, a cold winter day in Cleveland, and the sun was shining brightly. I got excited, but not for the reasons you might think. I have been waiting for a day to do some sunprinting, and, even in the winter, today was the day.

I got up and quickly pulled a few items together. I have been working on a piece about my grandmother. Usually, I run to Kinko's or Office Max to get a negative transparency made, usually two of the same image to be sure the sunlight is thoroughly blocked in the dark areas. This time, I wanted to try printing it out on my very old inkjet printer, and happened to have a compatible transparency to use. It came out pretty well.

Although I want to try the newly reformulated Liquid Light, i.e. Jacquard Solar Fast, I already have some, albeit very old, pre-treated sunprinting fabric. I cut a piece to size in the dark, quickly ironed it in the dark, then pinned it to a board with the negative transparency on top. To take it all outside, I placed a piece of plain paper on top to keep the fabric from being exposed too much while I moved it.
The transparency pinned to the
sunprinting fabric
Everything covered with plain paper

I checked the timer feature on my phone, then ran out into the garage, where the sun was shining right into the doorway. In this part of the country in the winter, the sun is low and not as bright, so sunprinting can take a bit longer. On a hot summer day, 3 minutes of exposure is plenty. Today, I allowed 4 minutes, and checked it before allowing another half a minute. The only variable here is that my fabric is very, very old, so the print may not come out as desired. I also did not use a double transparency sandwich, so I may get a lighter print. No matter. I am seizing the moment! The print is drying now, so stay tuned to see how it turned out.
Yes, sunprinting in snow weather!
After exposure, the print is "set" by rinsing it in
lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Here
is the fabric on the drying rack. One it is rinsed,
it is "set". You can't wash out what was there. At
the drying stage, it may look like nothing happened.


  1. Nice step-by-step post! I will stay tuned!

  2. Thanks, Clare. You know how I love combining pictures and fabric!