Harness the Sun's Power to Make Custom Wall Art

Cyanotype is an inexpensive photo printing process that can be done at home with a few special materials. Try this throwback craft to make your own custom print.

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March 13, 2020

DIY Sun Prints 05:25

The Crafty Lumberjacks create bright blue sun prints with cyanotype.

Materials + Tools

  • cyanotype set
  • distilled water
  • measuring cup
  • paintbrush
  • 100% cotton fabric
  • contact paper
  • black poster board
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • square dowels
  • colorful rope
  • super glue

Prep & Mix Cyanotype

Mix Cyanotype

DIY Cyanotype Sun Print: Mix Solution

In low light, dissolve the cyanotype chemicals in distilled water to make two separate solutions and let sit for 24 hours. For best results, follow the directions on the package. Next, in low light, mix equal parts of each solution together in a third container.

In low light, dissolve the cyanotype chemicals in distilled water to make two separate solutions and let sit for 24 hours. For best results, follow the directions on the package. Next, in low light, mix equal parts of each solution together in a third container, using precise and equal measurements. Only mix as much of the solutions as needed per project as the mixed product will only last 24 hours.

Apply to Fabric

Apply Cyanotype

DIY Cyanotype Sun Print: Apply to Fabric

In low light, cut out a piece of fabric to size and lay on top of a tarp or piece of paper. Dip a brush into the mixed chemicals and paint the fabric evenly, leaving no puddles. Create brush stroke edges by starting in the middle of the fabric and painting out towards the edge.

In low light, cut out a piece of fabric to size and lay on top of a tarp or piece of paper. Dip a brush into the mixed chemicals and paint the fabric evenly, leaving no puddles. Create brush stroke edges by starting in the middle of the fabric and painting out towards the edge. Place in a dark location and let fully dry overnight for best results.

Cut Out & Add Shapes

Adding moon phases stencils to cyanotype sun print in low light

Cyanotype Sun Print: Add Stencil

Create your chosen print or pattern with dark contact paper or a stencil, and add it to your fabric in low light.

and HGTV Handmade

Trace and cut out different phases of the moon shapes on contact paper using a round lid or candle to create even-sized, round moons. In low light, peel off contact paper backing and stick phases of the moon to the prepared fabric, starting with the center moon and work your way out for even spacing.

Expose to Sun

Cyanotype sun print of moon phases being exposed to sunlight

Cyanotype Sun Print: Expose to Sun

To activate the cyanotype, leave it exposed to the sun for a minimum of 10 minutes. Use beads or other small weights to weight it down and prevent the wind from picking it up.

and HGTV Handmade

Place the fabric in a folded piece of poster board, take outside to an area with direct sunlight and lay fabric flat on the ground. Lay in direct sunlight for about 10 minutes until the solution changes color. The longer you leave it out, the more exposed it will become.

Rinse & Dry

Rinse chemicals off of completed sun print

DIY Cyanotype Sun Print: Rinse

Rinse fabric under cold water until all the chemicals rinse off and the water runs clear. Then, dip in a bath of a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to speed up the oxidation process. Hang to dry.

Next, bring the print inside and peel off the contact paper. Rinse fabric under cold water until all the chemicals rinse off and the water runs clear. Then, dip in a bath of a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to speed up the oxidation process. Hang to dry.

Create Hanger

Photo by: Stephanie Diani

Stephanie Diani

Super glue or staple the square dowels to the top and bottom edge of the fabric. Then, tie colorful rope around the ends of the top dowel to hang.

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