Sun Printing

This fun and easy technique allows you to create prints from everyday objects on cotton or silk fabrics using paint and the power of the sun! Using Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow and Neopaque fabric paints for sun printing will produce permanent designs that are washable and wearable. For this project, we printed on a T-shirt, a canvas apron and pre-stretched silk hoops; however, you can make sun prints on any fabric that wicks the color. Wicking may be increased by wetting the fabric or watering down the paints (up to 1:3).  


  • Cotton T-shirt or Apron
  • Foam Brush and Small Paint Brush
  • Water
  • Mixing Cup
  • Masking Tape
  • Stiff Card or Board
  • Household Objects
  • Scissors
  • Thin Card
  • We used the following colors:
    Dye-Na-Flow- Turquoise, Violet Chartreuse, Golden Yellow, Neopaque-Black and White 
  • Spray Bottle

1.  Stretch the garment over a piece of stiff card or board. Secure sleeves or ties with masking tape (to keep them out of the way) on the reverse side of the board.

2.  Paint a thick border with Neopaque Black around where you will be making your image. This will contain the spread of the Dye-Na-Flow and allow a cleaner edge. Allow it to dry.

3.  Choose interesting objects from around the house or garden such as leaves, feathers, coasters, utensils and pebbles. Alternatively, you can cut or punch shapes out of thin cardstock such as shown on the apron. Flat and opaque objects work best.

4.  Mix Dye-Na-Flow colors with a little bit of water (up to 1:3). Alternatively, you can wet the fabric first and then paint the Dye-Na-Flow straight from the bottle. Either way, the water will help the color migrate during exposure to produce the image.

5.  Paint the Dye-Na-Flow inside the black border that you have painted onto the fabric. Use a foam brush to apply the paint. This will help you to put down a lot of color in a short period of time. Keep the brush well within the black border and allow the color to flood to the line. This will help prevent paint from bleeding beyond the border. You want to get the paint onto the fabric as quickly as possible, and lay your objects on before it starts to dry. Dry colors will not produce sun prints. So be sure that the color is wet when you place the objects onto the area to be sun printed.

6.  Lay the objects or paper cutouts on top of the wet Dye-Na-Flow. Set the fabric out in direct sunlight until dry.  To obtain darker colors and a more dramatic contrast, mist the fabric with water periodically during exposure.

7.  As an optional accent, write or add a pattern using Neopaque White around the black border. To apply the Neopaque, use a 1/2 oz. bottle with a metal tip.

8.  When the fabric is completely dry, remove the objects or cutouts. Remove the items from board and heat set with a dry iron on the setting appropriate for the fabric. Iron for 3 minutes on the reverse side of the fabric.

Finished project

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Sun Printing