Sun Printing 101: Team Building Outside The Box

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Build a 4,000 square foot living wall and get some attention, but sun print with your team and your phone blows up with questions! We were so pleased with the attention our Instagram Story received earlier this month when we spent some time out of the studio doing DIY sun printing! We answered all your burning questions about this team-building exercise below. 

Sun printing supplies:

  • Pre treated fabric and paper
  • Flattened cardboard boxes
  • Glass or acrylic panes
  • Tub of water, about 4 gallons 
  • Lemons, 1/2 per gallon 
  • Tacos (substitute party snacks are acceptable) 
  1. Purchase your canvas. First, decide if you want to print on fabric or paper. You can treat your own materials, but we opted to purchase pre-treated fabric and paper to keep things simple. The treating chemical we purchased ensured that all of our prints were blue, but other colors are possible. 
  2. Practice makes perfect! Yes, we are professional plant designers, but we still used the less expensive paper to experiment before we got more serious with our fabric prints.
  3. Plan out your print. The material starts printing as soon as you pull it out of the package, so be prepared with the objects you want to transfer. To delay this process, use your own shadow to shade the material as you are arranging your printing objects. 
  4. Place flat. Lay the paper or fabric on a flat surface, then place your printing objects on top. We repurposed cardboard boxes from our Etsy shop for a level work space. If your objects are lightweight, like leaves or flowers, place a piece of glass or acrylic over top to keep them in place. We used the glass from old picture frames, but acrylic is a safer options if you're doing this with kids.
  5. Patience! The longer the piece sits in the sun, the more prominent the print will be. But on a sunny day, it takes just a few minutes! When you are happy with the deepness of the print, dunk the paper or fabric in the bucket of water with lemon juice until you feel the excess dye has been removed
  6. Pack it up. Lay the piece flat in the sun again to allow it to dry and you're done. Don't forget to pick up any packaging, cardboard or taco wrappers that may have been misplaced during the creative process! 

Stuck on what to print? This DIY project was an opportunity for our team to get its hands on a something different from our day-to-day work. We wandered around the park as a group looking for anything with an interesting shape. Not only did this make our final pieces more fun, but it was time well spent for our team of creators, seeking out new shapes and textures. Here are some ideas: 

  1. Plants, flowerstwigs and leaves are an easy place to start and lay flat nicely. 
  2. 3D shapes create more dimension in the final piece by printing different shades of blue where the shadows fall--try your garden gnome or watering can
  3. Our CEO printed her gorgeous curls, while others used keys, toys, lace, their hands, heads, and sunglasses. 

We highly recommend DIY sun printing for your next team retreat, or some much needed fun in the sun. Get creative, and don't forget the sunscreen!