What's Old is New Again: Sun Block Printing

The Gardenist

I am not sure how I feel about being old enough to see fashions and fads truly recycle themselves. I remember my grandmother and mother saying to me, "That's not new… I remember when blah blah was the fashion back when I was blah blah". Well, now I am saying it.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with my sun block printing kit. I loved it and it seemed at the time like something lots of other people did too. The resurgence of this pretty way to capture a bit of your garden for your home couldn't please me more, even if it does make me sound like my mother and make me wonder if I may need to begin lying about my age.

Sun printing (also called cyanotype) was originally developed by Anna Atkins (a British botanist, 1799-1871), who used the process to document and catalog plants. She felt it was more accurate than her drawings. There is a great telling of the story of the algea that she first documented at Venetian Red.

The process (as applied to more than just scientific record keeping) reveals beautiful results that are perfect for decor of all kinds.

Both Martha Stewart and Garden Design have nice write-ups about the how-tos. You can get printable fabric at blue prints on fabric.

You can also learn more about doing it yourself from a Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop.

I am excited to give this old craft of mine a new twist. Maybe I can even get my kids hooked on it, and one day when they are 30-something, they can say, "Hey, that's not new! I used to do blah blah back when I was blah blah..."

Shown Above:
1. Glithero Blueware Tiles
2. Once Wed
3-4. Garden Design
5. Martha Stewart
6. Rinne Allen
7-9. Glithero Blueware Tiles
10. Studio Glithero

Images: As credited above.