by: Jenny of Hank+Hunt

A few weeks back while wandering Ballard with Megan from Not Martha, she brought me to the coolest toy store.  In this beautifully curated shop were packs of mini sunprint kits on a table. At only 4″ by 4″, these little wonders instantly screamed garland to me. Yes, it happens quite a lot to me. All creatives are a bit mad about something, right? I just happen to be mad about garland. I wanted my garland to say Happy Birthday, so I purchased two packs and here’s what I did.


Print out your letters, 3.5″ tall. I used the Bebas font for my letters. Cut them out, using an exacto knife for the insides, or not; filled letters would look pretty cool, too. I used a notebook as my flat portable surface, and placed two sunprint papers on top. Each kit comes with one piece of acrylic, so I was really happy that I bought two kits because it cut my project time in half since I was able to do two letters at once. Place your paper, blue side up. Add your letter, aligning to the bottom, like I did, or center it in the middle of the paper. Place your acrylic on top.

I did this all inside and carried my acrylic topped letters outside. It is really grey in Seattle. I honestly tried to do this in the overcast, but it did NOT cooperate. I’m sure a bright overcast will work — just increase your time — but it was raining and I timed up to 40 mins before I stopped counting. Luckily, texting with Sharon brought in some sunshine spurts from the OC, and I was able to quickly get all 10 letters done.

To print, set your letters in the sun. Directly in the sun. Trust me, it works faster. Check on it every few minutes. In about five minutes, the exposed area will get pretty white… not 100% white; it looks more bleached out blue than true paper white.  Bring in your first set of letters, take off your acrylic and letter template. Using a small shallow bowl with water, completely submerge your exposed paper. Wiggle it a bit, flip it over if you like and watch it turn deep blue.  It reminded me of developing photos in high school, with all the chemical baths and the dark room. Ah, here I go getting all nostalgic on you. Sigh.

Take out papers, pat dry with paper towels and lay flat to dry. Once all your letters are dry, some will be curled a bit. Layer each letter between two sheets of paper towels and iron gently on your lowest setting. Seriously, just a few seconds will do.  Flip each letter over and tape twine to the back to hang.

It was so simple, my boys were helping until they got bored with the issue of printing with clouds. Lucky for us, I still have a bunch of paper and we’ll be having more fun in the sun soon. How great would this banner be if the boys make their own names for above their beds?