DIY project Make a sunprint
Here comes the sun! Lauren Scott reveals how to create cool sunprints
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.sunprints.org) 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!