Creating Sun Prints
This print-making activity is perfect for school-aged children and adolescents. This activity will show how fascinating it is when art and science overlap! During this craft, we will create unique stencils to place on construction paper and after we put the project in a sunny outdoor spot, the sun’s powerful rays will fade the parts of the paper that are not covered by the stencils. Then, after removing the stencils, a design will be revealed! This is a great way to design and make prints that can be used to decorate your space or even gift to others. This activity provides children and adolescents with the opportunity to think creatively and abstractly, practice planning skills, and learn about the science of the sun’s strong rays in a fun way!
Any type of paper to create stencils with
Helpful Tip #1: Make sure you use construction paper, not printer paper or cardstock! This type of paper fades better in the sun.
Helpful Tip #2: Your print will work best if your bottom piece of construction paper is a dark color, like blue or black!
Before starting, make sure you have all the supplies nearby!
Step 1: First, choose a piece of construction paper that you would like your print to be made on. This activity will work best if the construction paper is a dark color, like black or dark blue! Set this piece of paper to the side for now.
Step 2: Next, decide what design you would like to be printed onto the paper. Once you’ve decided, pick a new piece of paper and draw or trace your design onto it. For example, I drew an outline of a sun and clouds. You can use just one drawing or a bunch of them!
Step 3: Once you’ve drawn the design(s) you want printed, cut each design out separately.
Step 4: Take a piece of tape and create a loop with it. This can be done by pressing the sticky side of one of the ends of tape to the other end’s non-sticky side. Creating this loop helps us to be able to stick things to both sides of the loop! Stick the tape loop to the back of your cut-out designs. Depending on how big your design is, you might need multiple pieces of tape.
Step 5: Stick your cut-out design down onto the piece of paper you set aside in the beginning. Don’t press down too hard- we will peel these pieces off later!
Step 6: On a sunny day, place the piece of paper outside where it will get a lot of direct sunlight.
Helpful Tip #3: If it is windy, make sure that the paper will not blow away! It might be helpful to place a small, heavy rock on top of the cutout design to keep the print in place without interfering with the sun’s powerful rays! You can also tape your paper to the outside of your window!
Step 7: Leave your paper outside for about 6 hours, or longer if you want your design to be extra defined! I left mine out from morning until evening so that the heat from the sun could make the paper fade as much as possible.
Step 8: Last, after you bring your paper back inside, peel your design cutouts off to reveal your new, unique sun print! The paper that was underneath the cutouts should have stayed a darker color, while the rest of the paper faded in the sunlight. Now that it is finished, you can hang it up as a decoration or give it to a friend! Enjoy your new sun print!