make a sunprint

A sunprint is the most basic photograph you can make with paper that contains chemicals that react with light and water.  Also called cyanotype (because of the blue cyan), this creation is made only with an object you want to print and the sun, so you don’t need a camera either!  These prints are absolutely beautiful and you can easily find kits to purchase.  Sunprints would be a great project to do with a child, for artistic expression (they’ve been all over home design blogs lately), or just for fun.  Two common places to purchase online are:

All you need to make a sunprint/cyanotype is:

  • coated paper
  • a piece of cardboard
  • a piece of acrylic to put over your paper while developing
  • something that you’d like to create a print of (things found in nature work brilliantly)
  • a container of water large enough to fit your print or a nearby faucet
  • paper towels

Here’s how it is done (using a kit from and some good ol’ garden herbs–rosemary, dill, chive, and thyme).




Lay your blue coated paper on a piece of cardboard.  Place your object on the coated paper.  Lay a piece of acrylic (a piece comes with the Sunprint kit shown above) on top of your object.


Put your project in the bright sun for a few minutes, depending on how direct the light is.

sunprint exposure
When the blue paper turns nearly white, take your project out of the sun.  You don’t want to overexpose.

When you lift your object, you’ll see the paper underneath is blue and the open part is now whitish.

Rinse the paper in a big bowl or under the faucet and you’ll see it start to change magically.


Lay your prints on paper towels to dry completely.

sunprints drying

The white print on the blue background is captivating.



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