Sun Prints

Tilly posted Message 333 in the CraftPals NatureCrafts BB
Dated : October 28, 1998 at 18:54:35
Subject: Re: PALM Fronds ... what to do?

Here in New Zealand we have big tree ferns with fronds similar to palms.
I've used them this way: Soak cotton fabric or readymade tablecloth, napkins, sheets, etc. in fabric dye for about 20 minutes, then lay it on flat ground (lawn or somewhere where the dye won't stain the surface, so not decking).
Lay fronds on top of the wet dyed fabric and let dry.
This obviously has to be done on a sunny day, as these are apparently called "Sun Prints"!
The fronds prevent the UV rays getting to the fabric and result in the shape of the fronds showing up white or whatever colour your original fabric was (or a much paler version of the original colour).

They look really neat.
Just set the colour as you would normally with dyed objects, i.e. heat set or iron, depending on instructions. Wash separately in cold water.
Other objects can be used too, like grasses, sea shells, other leaves, etc. I also did some shapes cut out of old x-rays and thick cardboard (cut out big seashells, seahorses, fish, etc.), placed them randomly on the wet dyed cotton fabric, and then cut out and edged to make a tablecloth
and matching napkins.

Rolled the napkins up with raffia with a real seashell on each raffia "ring". Lovely gift. You may want to experiment first with a small piece of fabric, as we get different fabric dyes here in New Zealand that may have a different effect to those you have in the US.
It's worth the effort though.
The creases in the wet fabric add an extra dimension to the print when it dries too.

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