Sunshine-Printed Pictures DIY



Enjoy this activity with kids of all ages on a sunny summer day. This interactive art and science project makes sun-sational pictures designed by kids … and printed by the sun! Plus, it's a great way to show how important protective shade, sunblock, and clothing can be in summer months.

Choose your favorite accents! We used:

    Watch the weather and choose a day or two when there will be lots of sunshine for this activity. The brighter the sunshine, the better your results!

    • Choose the accent(s) you’d like to use. Decide if you’ll create a scene or just make a variety of interesting shapes. You’ll only see the shape of each item in your finished print, so that gives you lots of opportunities to be creative. Kids will love transforming a leaf shape into a spiky prehistoric bush, handprints into sea anemone, and hearts into flower petals!
    • Lay a sheet of dark construction paper (one for each print) on a sturdy, portable surface (we used an upside-down cookie sheet). Make sure it is something you don’t mind being outside for a day or two.
    • Each child arranges accents to create the pattern or scene they like. Lightly place letter stickers (or cut them out and leave the backing on) to spell words, names, and more.
    • When the design is set, you’ll need to cover each project to hold the accents in place. Lay clear plastic wrap over your project and secure it to the cookie sheet. The clear covering allows the sun to shine through and holds the designs in place. A piece of clear acrylic plastic works too!
    • Leave your projects in direct sunlight for several hours. If the sunshine varies, it may take an extra day to get a good contrast. Sneak a peek and see if you can tell where the paper has faded to know when it's ready. 
    • It’s time for the big reveal! Remove your clear covering and the accents from the paper. Wow! Let kids marvel at how the paper faded around the accents.
    • Discuss how the accents protected the paper from getting damaged by the sun’s rays. (This is a great reminder for the importance of sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and other protective summer wear.)
    • Give kids crayons, markers, and any other art supplies to decorate and add details to their sunshine-printed pictures! 

    Want more FUN with the sun? Try other arrangements to see all the cool combinations kids design. This will become a favorite sunny day activity for everyone. 

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