Trend Alert: Sun Block Printing

by Rochelle Greayer

in Art, Cutting Garden, Fabric, Flowers, How To, Photography, Plants, Trends

sun block printing on tile

I am not sure how I feel about being old enough to see fashions and fads truly recycle themselves.  I remember my grandmother and mother saying to me “Thats not new….I remember when blah blah was the fashion back when I was….blah blah”.  Well, now I am saying it.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with my sun block printing kit.   I loved it and it seemed at the time like something lots of other people did too…..so the resurgence of this pretty way to capture a bit of your garden for your home couldn’t please me more, even if it does make me sound like my mother and make me wonder if I may need to begin lying about my age.

Have you noticed the resurgence of sun prints?

Sun printing was originally developed by Anna Atkins (a British botanist, 1799-1871) who used the process to document and catalog plants.  She felt it was more accurate than her drawings.  There is a great telling of the story of her and the algea that she first documented at Venetian Red.

The process (as applied to not just scientific record keeping) reveals beautiful results that are perfect for decor of all kinds.

Here is my round up of all the sunblocking that is catching my attention:

blueware sun printed tiles from studio glithero

Blueware Tiles, vases and even lampshades by Studio Glithero.


Both Martha  Stewart and Garden Design have nice write-ups about the how-tos and you can get printable fabric at blue prints on fabric.

You can also learn more about doing it yourself from a new book by  Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop.

sun prints by rinne allen

I am excited to give this old craft of mine a new twist….maybe I can even get my kids hooked on it, and one day when they are 30 something, they can say, hey- “that’s not new,  I used to do blah blah back when I was blah blah…”;)

To see more sun-spiring print inspiration, check out my newest pinterest board.

images from Martha  Stewart , Garden Design, Rinne Allen,  and that cake (which is not really cyanotype but an airbrushed edible copy) is from Once Wed.

Matt H July 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Whoa! I love this! It’s my favourite shade of blue too! Whenever I do oil pastel work, I use this same shade of blue as my background colour. I need to get some of this fabric to work with. I’ll have to do a whole wall collage with my favourite plants!

Loree/plant lust July 30, 2011 at 2:03 am

I love these, it’s something i’ve always meant to do but never have. Thank you for the reminder!

Dirty Girl Gardening August 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

these are lovely…

Lorene Edwards Forkner August 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Sun prints may have a very long history but the concept of exposing a large botanical over several sheets of sun paper (or tiles) is very hip and contemporary! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration

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