Solarfast success on paper and things I learned.
  • Hello I'm Sandra. I'm a printmaker from sunny Queeensland, Australia. I do mainly linocut and monoprinting. I've been experimenting with the Solarfast dye and having great success with sun printing. Not sure how to link to photos - will do that when I figure out how.

    I'm making some Godzilla parody prints for an upcoming exhibition in my home town of Toowoomba (at the Toowoomba Art Society) during June 2016.

    A few questions -

    * What happens if I expose the print too long in the sun? I'm assuming not much apart from a REALLY bright print.
    * If I don't sufficiently wash out the dye when exposure is done - what happens to the print. Will it fade/expose out over time?
    * Can the transparency sheets be used again - if cleaned with a cleaner - and what sort of cleaner would I use to remove the printer ink?

    Things I have found -

    * The transparency sheets supplied by Jacquard work better than completely clear ones purchased elsewhere. 100% better. I need to print twice (2) onto the Jacquard ones whereas the clear ones require four (4) passes through my printer.

    *Using boiling water on paper caused a bubble effect where the dye was painted. I then tried normal hot tap water at just above warm with no adverse effects.

    * A4 size paper had warping problems from the wet ink during exposure times. You'd need to stretch it like watercolour paper for that size and larger before applying the dye. 1/2 A4 size paper does not need to be stretched. I tested with both light and heavy weight papers/clamping etc and had warping problems with both weights at A4 size. Maybe there is a better solution for larger size paper that I'm unaware of. Also I used dry printmaking paper. Perhaps soaking paper first would help with the warping but then the ink bleeding into borders could be an issue arising from that. I'll try and let you know :)



    I'm loving this solar process as I like to create prints quickly. The solar print has an 'end effect' similar to a traditional etching. But is done in a fraction of the time. Woot. Looking forward to a long and happy relationship with this product.

    We have a purpose built light box in our group room to use for printmaking. At some point in the future I will try this process using it and post the outcome and differences (if any).

    Here is a link to my website. I will do a blog story on my solarfast experiments asap. http://www.creative-decorating-ideas.com

  • Too long an exposure is not a problem. You can do very long exposures if your negative is dark enough. We regularly do 45 min exposures to get maximum color with a really dark negative(stacking multiple copies of the same negative is a great way to get one that is very dark. Further color development past 45 min is minimal.

    Generally if you don't wash well enough, there is residual color development. This is seen especially in silk, as the dye does not leave as easily as on cotton. We recommend a 30 min soak in very hot water for silk before you wash it.

    As far as I know the transparency sheets cannot be reused. I think if you were to wash them off, you would also lose the special coating that keeps the ink from running.

    The boiling water effect was completely unknown to me. That is very interesting. Thanks for the interest and tips. We love hearing about your experience and techniques that help you achieve great results!