Introduction: Sunprinted Pillows

About: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to explore all sorts of art making both in my teaching and in my own work...check out my sit…

I am a full time Art Teacher in NYC, because I have my summers off , during those months I enjoy visiting my niece and sharing projects with her that she can then use in her 4th classroom during the school year. I like to think of it as Auntie Camp.

Last week I introduced her to a solorprinting technique (sun prints or cyanotypes) on paper. We had so much fun and results were lovely. Fortunately she lives in a rural area and can create the prints outside with her students. I have done the process indoors with my kiddos using large sunny windows to expose the foliage imagery.

Then we got the idea to try printing on fabric.

Step 1: Supplies

The supplies needed to print the fabric are as follows;

*foliage (assorted leaves and plants to create the desired image)

*fabric (we used white 100% cotton muslin)

*cyanotype chemicals (the listed product was purchased from Amazon, I have used it many times with paper and for this experiment fabric. There are other brands on the market.




*glass container

The supplies for the pillows are as follows

*backing fabric (we used a solid blue 100% cotton fabric for the backing)

*scissor, pins

*sewing machine

*pillow forms (The pillows I made are 24" purchased from Amazon)

Step 2: Getting Started

Mix the chemicals in a glass container according to the directions included in the package. measure the fabric according to the size pillow you want to make, giving about a 2" excess (for example my pillow forms were 24" so my muslin was cut into 26'X26' pieces)

The fabric is taped to the boards. In a fairly dark or shaded area, we went inside the garage, a large brush is used to paint the solution on the fabric.

When the fabric is completely dry, and this can take a while, carefully place your foliage on the fabric.

Carry boards into the bright sunshine to expose pattern. Leave exposed anywhere from 3-15 minutes depending on the intensity. ( sorry those last two images of the exposure process are blurry I had the camera set on live)

Step 3: Finished Printing

Once sensitized foliage is washed await remove all the dye from unexposed areas.

Fabric pieces are removed from the boards and left to dry, best to keep the fabric in a shaded area in case there is a bit of chemical left.

Step 4: Ready to Make the Pillows

First the fabric for the back side of the pillows needs to be cut.

Because my sun prints were on 26"X26" fabric I measured my backing 26"X44"

Then cut the fabric pieces in half so I now have two 26"X22" pieces to use as the backing.

Step 5: Front to Back

Keeping right sides together , place one piece of backing on sun print. fold down center edge approximately 6" and pin securely. next place second backing piece on top and again fold in 6" pin securely. This creates an opening in the back to insert the pillow form.

Sew around all edges of fabric (approx 2" seam)

Step 6: Finishing Touches

When all edges have been sewn turn the pillow covering right side out and insert pillow form.

This is one of my nieces finished pillows. We collected cat tails, ferns, and queen anne's lace to create kind of a swampy design!

Have fun!

DIY Summer Camp Contest

Second Prize in the
DIY Summer Camp Contest