Kid’s Craft: Nature Prints with Solar Print Paper


Finished Nature Prints

Here at the Casa of Crafts we are trying to squeeze as much out of the rest of summer as we can; and while the sun is still shining brightly, we thought we’d try out some Solar Print paper as a fun science/nature craft.

This quasi-educational project can be done over a few different stages, too. We started off by exploring our new yard and collecting leaves, stems, and flowers, and then trying to identify them all. We then pressed our treasures in a phone book (because, really, what else do you use that thing for?) for a few weeks and then, presto! Nature printing time.

Arrange your items artfully!

Arrange your items artfully!

I opened the pack of photo-sensitive papers inside, well away from the window. The chemicals on the papers react with UV light, so they OK under regular light bulbs. I got my little girl, who’s 4, to help arrange the somewhat delicate dried items on the papers. We just used this lid as a big tray to carry things from inside to out and vice versa.

The directions recommended putting the photo-sensitive sheets down on a large piece of cardboard and securing with a bit of scotch tape. For super-duper sharp prints, you can also use a piece of plexi or glass to make sure the dried items are in complete contact with the paper.  In my family, we are impulsive AND lazy, so we just laid our goodies down and then rushed outsite to stick them in the sun!

Changing in the sunlight!

Changing in the sunlight!

As we watched, the dark blue paper started to lighten and turn to a shade of powder blue. This took about 2 minutes in the August sun, so your results may vary. However, it was clear that there were “done.” We brought them back in the house and removed the dried objects, and saw this:

Just in from the sun

Just in from the sun

The instructions said to put the paper in cold water to “set” the print. Okey, dokey. This is what happened when I put it in water:

After plunging into water

After plunging into water

Cooler and cooler! We took them out after the recommended 2-3 minutes and lined them up to dry.When they were just a teeensy bit damp, I put them back into the phone book layered in paper toweling to help them dry perfectly flat.

So! Now we have these super-cool prints to frame, make into cards, bookmarks, and other object d’art, AND we got a mini-lesson in botany. (My favorite moment was explaining fractals in ferns to my 8 year old. Geek joy.)

I think this would also be fun using found objects around the house or on a scavenger hunt. Gears, keys, doilies, and cool pieces of metal would all make fun shapes (And spark discussion about positive/negative spaces, too.)

I could also see using some of the fancier die-cut shapes from the Cricut as a stencil, too. Or lace. I could probably spend the whole day just trying things out from the studio!

Just a thought: maybe try this out with your kids, and get some nifty cards whipped up for the grandparents- cuz Grandparent’s day is coming up on September 13th this year. Or give the packet of papers TO the grandparents, and encourage them to make some cool, fun art with their grand kids!

Bottom line: fun and craftastic. Kits average under $15.00, and refill kits (of just the paper, which is all you need) is going for 12 sheets for under $7.00 US. Here are some links for thrifty buys:

Note: I purchased my own product for this review, and receive no compensation for mentioning the following companies. Just want to make it easier on you! ; ) !

Kitchen table crafting fun for all ages!

Kitchen table crafting fun for all ages!

And thanks to my friend Nicole for helping out!

If you’d like to purchase Solar Printing products, please support CTD and use our affiliate links:

About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. says

    I’ve never tried anything like this, but it sounds like a lot of fun! Your top photo, with the fabric in the background, totally made me think of a quilt. I’ll bet you could create a really cool modern artistic look by framing several and putting them on the wall together.

    Thanks for sharing your results!

  2. says

    It would make a lovely quilt…and I actually have some photo-reactive paints to try this same technique with. In the mean while, my favorite three are going to be framed and hung in our kitchen!

  3. says

    GardenMama– thanks for visiting…and your blog is gorgeous. Love your photography…. have a crafty day!

  4. LACY says

    I just did this with my daughter (5yrs) and it was great. It is a good party favor for a Birthday Party and a neat idea for earth day. Also you can buy them at NATUREPRINTPAPER.COM at a great price 40 SHEETS for 9.99.

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