Sun Painting General Instructions Instructions

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Sun Painting or Heliographic Art is a process whereby certain fabric paints are applied to fabric and while still wet, objects like stencils, leafs, feathers etc are placed onto the wet fabric. It is then placed in the sun. the outlines of the objects are transferred to the fabric. Setacolor Fabric Paint (Transparent colors only), Dye-na-flow, and SetaSilk are the paints that we've found work best for this unique process. 



Step 1



1) Machine wash your fabric to remove sizing, then thoroughly dry and iron smooth.
2) Mix all colors (2 parts water to 1 part paint) Be sure to mix enough paint ahead of time!
3) Gather supplies: foam brushes, paints, salt, and any items to be used to create designs like natural items).
4) Spread fabric over a smooth waterproof board and wet it with clean water using a foam brush or spray bottle. Once wet the material will "stick" to the smooth, waterproof painting surface.


It is best to use 100% white cotton fabric. A blend of cotton and svnthetic (containing at least 50% cotton) will give you good results but the colors will be less vibrant and the design not as resistant to washing. For best results place the fabric on a smooth piece of plastic or a board covered with plastic to prepare and paint. Then the board may be easily taken outdoors for the sun printing to occur. For an easy solution try taping a garbage bag to a solid piece of cardboard or plywood.

Step 2



1) Apply the predominant color first using a foam brush and long smooth painting strokes. Remember to leave unpainted (white) areas for the other colors.
2) Apply the second color (complimentary color) using a clean foam brush. If you plan to use a 3rd color remember to leave some small white spaces!
3) Lastly, apply the third color (if desired). Apply it in the small white areas remaining and also in small areas on top of the other two colors.


To get more "blending" of the colors apply more water to the fabric before painting. For less blending, apply less water or leave about 1/2 inch between colors. They will move together as they "spread" across the wet fabric. Be sure to paint the entire surface with color - areas remaining white will not print a design image. Normally the results are more favorable if 2 or 3 colors are used. Too many colors on the same piece may result in undesirable effects.

Step 3



1) Once the entire piece of cotton fabric is painted, quickly arrange Patterns and natural items onto the piece of fabric.
2) With your finger you should carefully push the patterns tight against the fabric (since the fabric is wet they should almost "stick" to the surface).
3) If desired you can now place the Setacolor Soleil Salt onto the fabric. Simply place, toss or spread the salt onto the fabric's surface (it does not take much salt to create this effect - a few grains are sufficient!)


Mix the paper patterns and natural items on the same piece. The two work nicely together to create depth and dimension on the painted fabric. If it is a windy day, small stones may be placed over the paper patterns (although a small mark will appear on the finished fabric where the stone was placed). Or a large piece of fencing or screening may be placed over the entire piece of fabric! It keeps everything in place and creates an interesting design as well!

Step 4



1) Place the board which includes your finished piece under the sun. If sun is not available, see HELPFUL HINTS for other imprinting methods.
2) Watch as the sun dries the fabric and magically prints the design onto the surface! Depending on the time of year, your location, the weather, etc. this step can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour. You can check the progress by carefully lifting the corner of one of the paper patterns.
3) Once you have reached the desired effects simply remove all the patterns (natural and paper), sweep off the salt and you're done! You only need to fix the colors by ironing the fabric for 2 to 3 minutes on the cotton setting.
4) Your fabric is now ready to be used to create your very own, one of a kind item!



If the sun is not reliable there are other options. Heat lamps such as those used by restaurants to keep food warm work well (careful they get VERY hot!) as do any lights used to grow plants indoors (with UV light). Also if the weather Is not cooperating the fabric may be placed in front of a large window until completely dry (although the results occur more quickly if the piece can be placed directly in the sun). Once dry, the fabric should be treated like any piece of cotton. It is machine washable (without bleach) and can be dry cleaned.


Remember - only the Transparent colors!

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