Friday, June 16, 2006

Sunprinting for Father's Day

My friend Kristen, her two kids, and her mom (henceforth known as Nana) recently visited us. Nana had an amazing suitcase full of wondrous things -- books, games, projects galore. On our final day, just when I thought the amazing suitcase's depths had been exhausted, Nana pulled out a project for a sunny day: Sun printing.

Mix the paint, schlop it onto the fabric any way you like, then lay down the shapes you want the sun to highlight. Leave the projects in the sun until they dry, and PRESTO you get lovely magic "prints." Benny and Irene made shirts for their dads for Father's Day, and the most amazing thing was that the little siblings (both 2 years old) got to paint too. Because you apply the colors with sponge brushes, and because it doesn't really matter where you put the paper shapes, the two year olds really got into the effort.

Finally, we found a use for our porch roof. After five years. A couple of tips from Nana: 1. Slip a garbage bag over a piece of foam board for a working surface. 2. After you're done painting, slip the garbage bag off and let the shirt dry on it. 3. Use a different garbage bag under each shirt. 4. Those sticky foam shapes work great for sharp, detailed prints. 5. Nana uses Setacolor Soleil paints, but you can also get a kit from Hearthsong or Klutz.

Nana sunprinted a giant piece of muslin, and then had the kids draw on it with Sharpies. We made a list to help them remember all the highlights of our visit together, and they drew scenes from it... from tubing on Broad Bay to Maymont Park in Richmond to the Fireworks at Harborfest. After the drawings were done, we all wrote our names on it, and we have a permanent record that could be made into a memory quilt for them.

Naturally the little siblings got in on that end of it too. Who would pass up a chance to color with a Sharpie, that forbidden fruit of the craft cabinet top shelf!!! So a good time was had by all, thanks to Nana! Of course, on a rainy day, you're going to have to find something else to do. Like go to the aquarium... oh... wait... not that....

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