Sun Painting- A Simple Laboratory Trick

As you know, I have been playing with Sun Painting! It is super easy and the effects are amazing. See instructions in an earlier post, Sun Painting. Unfortunately, the sun and the weather in general does not always cooperate. My backyard and deck faces southwest so it does not get early morning sun. If I wait until the sun gets overhead, it could mean that the clouds have started to move in or worse yet, a storm. You really don’t realize this until you really need a dry sunny day. I decided to start early, because the forecast had mentioned afternoon showers. I grabbed another apron and painted this one a pretty orange and brown. Perfect fall colors! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ready for the sun

I finished and put it out on the deck which was still in shade. But I had errands to run and it wouldn’t be long before the sun came over the house and did its job, right?

About an hour later, it was raining. I had to call my husband and ask him to bring it inside. Yes, it was extra wet now and setting in the garage. Now what to do with it? It was going to rain the rest of the day. So I decided to cover it in plastic wrap and roll it up. This is a trick we use in the laboratory to save Agarose gels. The key is to keep the paints wet! The plastic wrap and refrigeration will do just that. I left the leaves in place just encase they had started to print. I wrapped it in more plastic wrap to seal it and placed it in the garage refrigerator overnight. It should keep for several days this way.

Rolling in plastic wrap
wrapped in plastic wrap

The next day I tried again. I unrolled it and set it outside. Shortly after, the wind kicked up and my leaves blew away. So I made sure it was still wet and rolled it back up in plastic wrap. Yes, back into the refrigerator too. A couple of days later, I tried again! This time the sun cooperated and I had successful printing.

Finished apron

My colors are not as vibrant, but it has a really nice look! The brown has become almost a light purple. But overall I like it a lot. It has a very nice organic feeling to it. I think I could have added more paints to boost the color before the final Sun Printing. Maybe next time! But it is really good to know that you can save and store your project, if the sun is not on your side! I wanted to share this with you just encase you run into this problem. I have read that you can use a Heat Lamp or a Grow Light in Sun Painting. But I do not have either of these. I would really like to have Grow Lights! But that would be another project though.

I hope this helps someone else with a less than sunny day! Have you found any useful tips that you would like to share?

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