Friday, August 10, 2012

Sunday sun printing with Setacolors

Last Sunday I pulled out my transparent Setacolor paints and took them out to a table I have set up in my back yard (under a canopy tent we set up for a big BBQ a few weeks ago, and I convinced my husband to leave it up for a while for craft purposes).

I used these paints to do sun printing on fabric, and I have some pictures of my process to share.

Here is a picture of my setup. I pinned my fabric to a big piece of foam insulation (you could use Plexiglas or foam core covered with contact paper, anything fairly waterproof) and sprayed it with water. I like my pump sprayer shown in this picture, you pump it and it sprays for a while so it is easier on the hands.  I watered down my paints 50% water/50% paint in separate containers. I like these containers that have screw caps, as I can add the water and paint, screw on the lid and shake it to stir them together.

You can use any type of fabric, the paints will show up better on white, but I had this gold fabric I wanted to try.

After spraying the fabric so it is damp all over, but not soaking, I take a large brush and brushed on many colors of paint.  I am sticking with analogous colors on the first piece, blue/green/yellow, and later on another piece, reds and yellows and a some purple.

While they are still damp (very important, please note I did one, then the other, I did not work on them simultaneously), set them in the sun and put items on for creating a sun print. I used grape ivy on one, and card stock circles on the other, but you could use stencils or just about anything. See how I smushed the ivy leaves tight to the fabric? This will have a much more distinctive sun print than the stems that are not tight to the surface.

Let them dry in the sun, then remove the items and you have you're sun printed fabric. I always heat set the paint with a hot iron just to make sure it is permanently set.

The red one did not turn out very well. I think it would have been better on white fabric. But what can I do, but do something else to it and see if it improves. That will be my next post.

Please note that is is important to use setacolor transparent paints, not the opaque ones.

You can do this indoors with decent results, but they sure dry faster in the summer sun.

I really like this technique and I am going to try it again later in the summer with stencils and putting the paint in spray bottles so the colors blend more.

I had an art friend that said you could do sun printing with watered down regular acrylics, has anyone tried this?


  1. Love this idea. I guess I could try it on a smaller scale and use for background for cards. Where do you get the paints you talked about needing to do this technique. I have always wanted to the cyan print making in photography but now days you can probably get same effect in a post imaging program.

    1. You can get a great beginner set of the these paints on Amazon. No locals stores that I know of carry the transparent paints. I would like to try it with transparencies/negatives, but I am concerned the clear part may read like an object and I may just get a square shape. Definitely worth a try though!

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  3. will check @ Amazon if I get serious about trying this. However, I have not even photographed my "Magic Rocks" in HD.

    Joann's having sale on all scrapbooking supplies for 40% off this week. I got some pack of purple/pink paper 12 x 12 - 20 sheets like $2.30. Next week have to teach flower pot card at Stampers Anonymous.

    Finally got Ranger Patina green inks for working with copper metals and my jewelry Vintja stuff. I saw some filagree stuff at Michaele's I may try. Really need to go to the Bead Place in Winston Salem for findings. I know it is scary but I can see getting into macrame again. LOL

  4. This is great Ginger. I love the sun prints. Very cool!

  5. Just "Pinned" this on Pinterest ;)

  6. Thanks JB! I am going to do some more sun printing in the next few days.