I fell in love with cyanotypes while on a kindergarten field trip. After hanging up our coats, they led us into a large room in the forefront of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, stocked with tables, chairs, and enough art supplies to make Grayson Perry salivate.
We each were seated in front of three large sheets of blue paper. The art director explained that the sheets would turn white in the sun, and any part kept in shadow would turn blue.
Here’s a DIY project that will help light up your home.
Decoupage Solar Print Lampshade
- Light sensitive paper (purchased online or at a shop that sells art and education supplies)
- “Naturals” (leaves, grass, flowers)
- Decoupage glue
- Large, flat piece of cardboard (a sewing cutting board is great for this)
- Clear acrylic, plastic wrap, or glass pane (optional)
- Tub filled with water (large enough to submerge entire sheet of paper)
- Smaller bucket for glue
- Paint brush
- Lay cardboard down, then paper, then naturals on top. (Because ultraviolet light causes the reaction in the paper, do this in a dark room away from the sun.) If it’s a windy day, lay a piece of clear acrylic, plastic wrap, or glass on top to keep design from shifting.
- Set in sun. Exposed areas of paper will begin to fade from blue to white. Depending on how many clouds are in the sky, this process could be done in minutes or hours.
- When the areas of uncovered paper have turned completely white, submerge in water. For a deep Prussian blue, let paper soak for at least 5 minutes. Hang sheets to dry.
- After paper has completely dried, place between two sheets of parchment paper and iron. Then plot design layout on shade. (I taped—and re-taped—the sheets to the lampshade until I found an arrangement I liked.) Then, trim edges of paper to fit.
- Pour glue into bucket and dilute with water. (Equal parts water and glue.) Remove tape and use paintbrush to glue paper to shade. When dry, paint a layer of decoupage glue over entire surface of lampshade. Attach shade to lamp when dry.