Sun Sensitive Fabric

Ultraviolet light creates colorful color-changing artwork with sheets of solar sensitive cloth.

Photographic paper has long been a popular warm weather activity for kids and adults, but did you know that you can use fabric, too? With Sun Sensitive Fabric, just lay objects on the UV reactive cloth and expose it to the sun's rays. After ten minutes, rinse the fabric with water and lock the images in place. You even have multiple colors to choose from! Try making images from red, green, or even yellow fabric. Get out in the sun and enjoy Sun Sensitive Fabric!

Experiment Materials

  • Sun Sensitive Fabric
  • Cold water
  • Small objects
  • Adult supervision

Experiment

  1. Start out by finding some flat objects that will leave a good shadow. Get creative. Look inside and out. Some of the best items we have found are leaves, scissors, cutout letters, charms, geometric blocks and stencils. Lay out and plan what you want to do as a design first.
  2. Keep in mind taller items may leave extra shadows or unclear patterns. Take out the fabric and lay it flat.
  3. Take the fabric out into the sun and leave it for about 10 minutes. You can do this on a cloudy day, but leave it out for about 20 minutes for full processing.
  4. Bring the fabric inside and remove all of the objects. Rinse fabric under cold water for about 2-4 minutes. Hang to dry.
  5. Use the fabric to make handkerchiefs, pillowcases or doll blankets. Use your imagination.

How Does It Work?

Sun Print Fabric appears to be normal cloth until exposed to the sun. Once sunlight hits the fabric, it's clear that there's something different about this cloth. Sun Print Fabric is treated with a special light sensitive chemical that changes color when the sun hits it.

Materials like Sun Print Fabric are a fantastic way for young scientists to engage with the power of the sun. Although the sun's rays are invisible, they have great influence when they react with the world around us. Students can use Sun Print Fabric as a hands-on introduction to photosynthesis in plants, sun protection application, or photo development.