DIY project Make a sun­print

Here comes the sun! Lau­ren Scott re­veals how to cre­ate cool sun­prints

Digital Camera World - - PHOTO PROJECTS -

As the sea­sons change and the sun reap­pears at last, use the boost in light to cre­ate your very own home­made sun­prints.

First things first: what on earth are sun­prints? Put sim­ply, sun­print is a spe­cial type of UV light-sen­si­tive pho­to­graphic pa­per that’s based on the cyan­otype process. You can pick this pa­per up on­line (www.sun­ or from craft shops.

When you ex­pose it to bright day­light, ar­eas that block the sun’s light show up in white, and the rest of the pa­per turns a vi­brant blue. These blue prints have bags of char­ac­ter. You can ei­ther make prints of phys­i­cal ob­jects straight onto the pa­per, or trans­fer im­ages taken on your cam­era via a trans­parency sheet, which is the method we’re demon­strat­ing for this project. The beauty of this project is its sim­plic­ity. You don’t need a dark­room, fancy kit or even ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of film pro­cess­ing to get go­ing. Plus, un­like tra­di­tional photo prints, sun­prints can be made with­out any photo chem­i­cals at all, so they’re great to try out with en­thu­si­as­tic kids as art and sci­ence projects. See how you can trans­form your own dig­i­tal pic­tures to au­then­tic home-made photo prints us­ing this easy process.

Gen­er­ally, pho­tos with high lev­els of con­trast work best, as the fi­nal re­sult will only be in a blue monochrome. Im­ages that are al­ready in black and white lend them­selves well to this tech­nique, too. Avoid com­plex pho­tos and those that rely on lots of tonal de­tails.

This low-cost project will re­quire a dig­i­tal photo and a printer to cre­ate a neg­a­tive to work from. Once this stage is com­plete, grab a bowl or tray filled with water, some sticky tape, sun­print pa­per and a piece of glass or Per­spex. (The big­ger sun­print kits come with this in­cluded, but you could al­ways use glass from a cheap photo frame.) You’ll prob­a­bly find the hard­est thing to come by is a sunny day! When the clouds do part, you can ex­pose, de­velop, then rinse the pa­per in water, and watch a beau­ti­ful, long-last­ing im­age be­gin to ap­pear, as if by magic.


To make your own cyan­otypes with­out a dark­room, cre­ate a dig­i­tal neg­a­tive then ex­pose it onto spe­cial sun­print pa­per. It’s easy and fun!

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