How to make amazing Sun prints

Create these artistic prints using special light-sensitive paper

Image credit: Future PLC/ © Illustrations by Ed Crooks

1. Prepare the paper

For this project, you’ll need some light- sensitive paper that you can buy from most craft shops or online. The chemicals on the paper react to light, but you’ll need to work fast to make sure your prints look good. For best results, you should go outside on a sunny day before you start, but once you take the paper out of the packet and pin it to a piece of corrugated cardboard, you’ll have to work fast!

Image credit: Future PLC/ © Illustrations by Ed Crooks

2. Be quick!

As soon as you have pinned the paper to the cardboard, place some feathers or leaves on the paper, arranging them how you want them to look. Try not to move anything while the paper is absorbing the light, as it will make your print look less effective. Leave the feathers or leaves on the paper for a couple of minutes – or longer if you’re doing it on a cloudy day – and then remove the feathers and unpin the paper from the cardboard.

Image credit: Future PLC/ © Illustrations by Ed Crooks

3. Wash and dry

As quickly as you can, place the paper into a tray of water. You’ll immediately see that the deep blue colour that was left under the feathers will wash off, and the pale blue areas around them will start to get darker. Leave the paper in the water for a few minutes, then place it between two dry tea towels with a heavy book on top to help remove the water and keep it flat. Leave it for a few hours to dry.


The paper is covered in chemicals that start to react together when activated by ultraviolet light. As they react, a deep blue compound forms. But the reaction doesn’t take place under the feather, so when the original chemicals are washed off, the shapes appear clearly.

Disclaimer: Neither Future Publishing nor its employees can accept any liability for any adverse effects experienced during the course of carrying out these projects or at any time after. Always take care when handling potentially hazardous equipment or when working with electronics and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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