Sun Printing Indoors with Lisa Chin

Example of sun printing by Lisa Chin
Example of sun printing by Lisa Chin

Hi there, I’m Brenna, your new Online Editor for Quilting Daily. I’ll give you more details about who I am and what we’ll be doing together on Thursday. There is just so much to talk about with Quilting Arts TV Series 1700, I can’t resist sharing a wonderful project from the show that features one of the great surface design techniques you may not have tried yet.

Did you know you can create a sun print inside on an overcast day? Neither did I! It turns out the heat of the sun–not necessarily light it emits–is responsible for creating the print on fabric. While it’s most fun for surface designers of all ages to watch the bright sunlight change their fabric, you can easily bring this process indoors during the cold and cloudy months as long as you have a warm place and some time on your hands.

Here are Lisa Chin’s instructions for Basic Sun Printing, with directions for printing indoors and outside:

1. Soak the fabric in water and squeeze out the excess so the fabric is only damp. Spread the damp fabric on the cookie sheet or plastic-covered board.

2. Put on the gloves. Mix 2 parts water to 1 part Pébéo Setacolor light or transparent fabric paint (found online or in art supply stores) in a small cup.

3. Using a foam brush, cover the fabric with the diluted paint.

4. Working somewhat quickly, place leaves, stencils, or masks on top of the fabric and set it in the sunshine until the fabric is dry. Note: If it’s a windy day, try placing a piece of plexiglass over the fabric after the masks have been set down to keep them from blowing away.

5. If the sun is not out or it is a cold day, the fabric can be placed under a desk lamp or on top of a heating pad indoors. The key is to have the fabric in a dry, warm area.

6. When the fabric is completely dry, remove the masks to reveal your sun print. Pébéo Setacolor paints are colorfast and washable so you can easily use them in your next project.

Lisa Chin and host Susan Bribaker Knapp
Lisa Chin and host Susan Brubaker Knapp

Watch Lisa Chin demonstrate this fun technique of painting on fabric and masking shapes to create unique fiber art in Quilting Arts TV Series 1700. Dive into new techniques, charming projects, and helpful hints with host Susan Brubaker Knapp and her amazing line-up of guests when you order the DVD or download the video today.Brenna's SignatureP.S. Have you ever tried sun printing inside? What advice would you give to someone attempting this technique for the first time? Leave a comment below to share your advice.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog, Surface Design

2 thoughts on “Sun Printing Indoors with Lisa Chin

  1. I got a heat bulb and the metal shade for it at Lowes. It was really inexpensive. I hook it over the shower arm, and use foam board to make a temporary support for the fabric. Within an hour it is ready. Works great! The bulb is the same thing they use to keep baby chickens or other animals warm.

  2. Years ago I did cyanotype printing without the sun by using strong chemicals and a sun lamp indoors. With the newer chemicals, it is now easy to accomplish this regardless of the weather, and Much Safer than in the past. The chemicals I used to use turned everything else in the cabinet to iron oxide coating. We are lucky to have such wonderful websites and newer improved products to make things easier and simpler. Now I can use the Setacolor with just a heat lamp, either from a hardware store or a standing heat lamp with a table. I just watch what I put underneath it, I don’t want to start a fire, and some of these heat lamps can really get hot in a hurry. But this is a fun way to make your own new fabric!! Thanks for featuring it.