Sun Printing on Fabric

Sun Printing on Fabric
In the Northern Hemisphere's regions, summer is upon us. Why not use the impressive power of sunlight to create ephemeral designs on fabric, then use the fabric to sew a myriad of projects such as bandanas, tablecloth runners, cloth napkins, pillow covers, chair covers, and canvas totes to name just a few.

Any object can be used to block out the sun from the fabric while the sun works its magic, even stencils or shapes cut from poster board, freezer paper or pre-cut thin foam shapes.

Sun prints, essentially a camera-less image, are known as cyanotypes with blue a traditional color. Custom cyanotype printing was used by various engineers and architects to duplicate large scale inexpensive copies of their work from which the familiar word blueprints comes from.

To make your own cyanotype, use pre-treated light-sensitive fabric available for purchase if deep contrast and specific colors of fabric are desired or a simple DIY process that involves nothing more than applying a light-sensitive transparent dye a photo sensitive solution - to any solid color fabric choice. Place the chosen objects to print off of onto the pre-treated fabric, add a few minutes of bright sunlight, rinse with water and non-phosphate soap to watch your creativity come to life!

Note: fabric colors other than white will change somewhat depending on background.

Cyanotypes on fabric are essentially photographs made without a camera. The image is permanent however the traditional deep blue color will fade if washed with a phosphate-containing detergent. Hand washing the fabric is best. Hang to dry out of direct sunlight. Do not dry clean. Iron gently on a warm setting.

Traditional effects can be had from using cyan-blue Inkodye on white fabric. The objects chosen to print with the sun's help show up as white on the blue background. The results are unique, individual and a delight to sew with to showcase a creative process.


Print on fabric using Inkodye

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.