How To Get Started With SolarFast Dye

Posted by Kim Dellow

Getting prints using the sun is fun and easy, here is how to get started with SolarFast Dye.

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Hi, it’s Kim Dellow here with a little exploration into solar printing or photograms. If you are new to solar printing it is great fun and you can find the fabulous Jacquard SolarFast Dyes, that are going to get you hooked into the solar printing, in Blitsy. These dyes react to light and you can use them on paper or fabric to make the most amazing prints. All you need to do is apply them to a surface and then block the light from getting to part of that surface. Leave the surface in light then once the color has developed you stop the reaction by washing out the dye.

What you use to block the light is entirely up to you and I’ve used a few different things today to give you some ideas. So play around and see what solar prints you can come up with!

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Here Is What You Will Need:

  • Jacquard - SolarFast Dye - 4 oz. Bottle - Blue
  • Jacquard - SolarFast Dye - 4 oz. Bottle - Red
  • Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media Vellum 5.5"X8"
  • Brush
  • Washi Tape
  • Weights
  • Example items to cast shadows:
  • Spellbinders Nestabilities Dies - Stars
  • Spellbinders Nestabilities Dies-Standard Circles Small
  • The Crafter's Workshop Template - Numbers Collage
  • Donna Downey Signature Stencils - Grunge Halftone Dots
  • Grafix - Inkjet Film - Clear
  • Darice Plastic Canvas Circle 3" 10pc
  • printer
  • card

Let's Try Solar Printing!

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Cover the surface with dye using a brush, brayer or sponge. Use a heavy weight paper, if you are using fabric then visit the Jacquard for further instructions. Apply an even covering.

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Now add the sun masks over the paper, you want to work reasonably quickly so that the areas you want to mask aren’t too exposed to light.

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Place the surface in direct sunlight. If you are using lightweight masks then you might want to weight them down, if you have a piece of glass then you can put this over the top. I used bottles to weight my objects down, making sure that they did not cast a shadow over the surface. As this was an experiment I wasn’t too worried, but next time I will use something clear over the top to weight the items down.

You can also print in black on transparency and use this to make a sun-print, so try printing, stamping in StazOn or even doodling with a permanent marker on transparencies and using these to make prints.

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Leave the print for 10 minutes, if it is overcast then leave for 20 minutes. The better the contact you have between the item and the dye-covered surface the sharper the image will be as light will be unable to slip underneath the mask. Also try both opaque and semi-opaque masks to get different effects.

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Once the dye has changed color remove all the masks and wash the paper under warm water for 10 minutes. There is also a SolarFast wash that you can use to help wash the piece especially if you are using fabric to make your print.

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Above is a picture to show the result of turning one of my sketches into a solar print using printing on inkjet transparicies. Totally fun and really easy to get started with so give them a go!

Have fun playing.

Kim Dellow