How to Use Sun Print Paper to Make Amazing Art Using Cyanotype Process

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Learn how to use sun print paper to make art. 

Bringing nature inside is one of my favorite things about my current bathroom project. With most of the bathroom done, I’m ready for the fun part: the accessories. I’ve ordered a few pieces of art online, but there is one piece that I was really excited to create.

I’ve been dying to work with sun print paper and the bathroom is the perfect place for a sun print! This paper is so cool and works through the cyanotype process.

how to use sun print paper

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How To Use Sun Print Paper

Go on a nature walk.

forest in autumn

We went into our backyard, which is currently covered in leaves. Look for items that are sculptural and have interesting shapes. I knew that I was making 2 pieces, so I tried to find leaves that had very different shapes. One is curvy, and one is more angular and pointy. Ferns would make lovely prints, but ours have all died for the season. Dandelions would also be beautiful!

Figure out your layout ahead of time.

You have to work quickly once the paper is open. My pack of paper came with a piece of acrylic. It had a plastic protective coating that needed to be removed.

Before you go outside, assemble the sun print sandwich.

sun print

Cardboard or a hard surface goes on the bottom, then sun paper blue side UP, leaves or other items, with the clear acrylic piece to hold the items in place on top.

Place in a nice sunny spot.

There should be no shadows that hit the paper.

Let it sit for 1-5 minutes.

sun print in progress

I feel like I waited longer, but I live in a shady area and it’s late in the season. It’s done when the paper is pale blue. The cyanotype procress is magical to watch!

Gently remove the acrylic and the leaves.

sun print

The image is a reverse image of what it will be.

Bring inside and rinse with water.

rinsing the sun print paper

The directions said that adding lemon juice to water for rinsing will make a darker blue, but I didn’t notice a difference with mine.

Let dry on paper towels.

sun print in progress

They darken as they dry. Once dry, you can flatten them by placing them under heavy books. Then they’re ready to be framed.


leaf print on sun paper

botanical art print


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  1. Those will look so gorgeous in that room and they are so much meaningful because you made them with leaves from your own property.

    1. Thanks Rane! I was hoping the girl would be into it, but alas, youtube ain’t gonna watch itself, you know…. They turned such a pretty cobalt blue.

  2. This is so cool! Can you buy the sun paper at a craft store, because I was surprised by how easy and quick this is. It looks like one of those expensive prints, too, and that shade of blue is perfect for a bathroom. I agree that bringing nature inside is a great way to decorate. It’s why I like Mid-Century Modern so much, I think. Thanks for the post, and have a great day!

    1. Hi Lela! Some craft stores might carry it, but I’ve never seen it in person at one. If they do, it’s probably near the kid’s crafts section. I got mine from amazon after buying an empty kit at the thrift store one day. 😉 I keep meaning to make more with fern leaves. The blue is my favorite. I’ve also seen fabric dye that does this. So cool!

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