Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunprint Pillow

On designsponge I saw this tutorial for a photogram wreath wall hanging.  The tutorial uses inkodye, a photosensitive dye to make an image of an evergreen wreath on a piece of fabric to use as a wall hanging.  As a kid, I remember making lots of sunprints of various plants on sunprint paper but I had never seen the process on fabric.  I immediately bought the smallest jar of the blue ink from the manufacturer's website.  Of course, a few days later, they were selling larger bottles of it on Fab.  I wish I had gotten the larger bottle because the process really uses a lot of the dye.  There are all sorts of amazing things I could have made with this stuff, but I liked the image on designsponge so much, and wasn't feeling too creative, so I stuck pretty closely with the tutorial.  

I painted the dye onto a piece of unbleached canvas fabric which I binder-clipped to a piece of cardboard.  Since evergreen clippings are not so easily come by in Southern California, I collected California poppy leaves from the garden and arranged them into the shape of a wreath.  When I made Easter/Passover eggs this past spring, I discovered that California poppies made the best leaf impressions of anything in our yard.  In the tutorial they just pinned down the branches onto the cardboard, but mentioned that you could hold them down with glass for a clearer impression.  I took the glass out of a picture frame and placed it over the leaves.  The glass didn't lie completely flat over the leaves because of the binder-clips however. If I did this again I would use something else to hold the fabric in place over the cardboard so I could hopefully get a clearer impression. 

When you paint the dye on the fabric it is almost clear, but after a few mins in the sun it starts to turn purple.  In the designsponge tutorial they weren't super clear about which picture was from which stage in the process and in the comments people were asking how they got this purple colored dye since inkodye only comes in red, orange and blue.  This is just the initial color that the blue ink turns in the sun.  I left mine in the sun for about 16 mins.  After taking the whole sandwich apart I washed the fabric in the washing machine twice to get out all the excess dye.  After washing it it turns blue.  

I sewed the sunprinted fabric into a pillow, using plain unbleached canvas for the back and an Ikea pillow insert as stuffing and gave it to my Mom as a Christmas present.