July 16, 2010

Solar Prints

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About a month ago, I came across a blog that had a neat project called Solar Prints.  The project used light-sensitive paper.  At the time, I had no idea where to find such a thing.  However, a few weeks ago, while I was looking through the cool science kits at Hobby Lobby, I found the light-sensitive paper.  I was thrilled and purchased some for later use.

This past week, the day before my son’s Cub Scout Den Meeting, the leader asked me to sub for her since she was really ill.  I quickly flipped through my son’s  book for some ideas.  There it was on page 227 of the Bear  Handbook – Solar Prints.  I shouldn’t have been surprised. Cub Scouts is such a fun program!

Here are the instructions:

  • Purchase special light-sensitive paper at a hobby shop or nature center.  You can also use dark construction paper.
  • Collect fallen leaves, flowers, grasses, etc.   You can also use other things like keys, a bracelet or whatever you’d like.
  • Arrange your items on a piece of glass or clear plastic.  I picked up some frames at the dollar store and I used the glass from the frame.
  • Cover your item(s) with the light–sensitive paper (coated side down) or construction paper. 
  • Next add some cardboard (I used the backing from our picture frame) and use clothespins or clamps to hold it all together.
  • Keeping the glass side down, find a sunny place, then turn the glass side up.  If using the light sensitive paper, expose the paper to sunlight for 1 – 5 minutes depending on the strength of the sun.  You can do this in overcast weather as well; you will need the full 5 minutes.
  • Remove the objects and immediately place the paper in water to “fix” the image.  Set paper aside on a paper towel to dry.  Once completely dry, you can flatten by placing your paper under a heavy book if needed.
  • If you are using construction paper, you’ll need to leave it in the sun the entire day and maybe two days.  You'll be watching for the paper to fade. Then remove your items and your project is completed.
  • You can frame your solar print to display.

The boys LOVED it!  It was fun and looked so neat!  In this photo, my son used two different leaves, some pine needles and a grass with cool grain looking things at the top - and yes, I realize my scientific vocabulary is lacking. ☺

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*This post was originally written for and posted at Latter-day Homeschooling.

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