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diy video: sunprint corkboard + tray

by Grace Bonney

i’ve been dying to try my hand at sunprints for some time now- so yesterday i spent the better part of my afternoon creating a custom corkboard and tray for my desk. even though summer sun is fading, there’s still plenty of light left over to create a custom botanical (or lace!) print for your home. in the video below i’ll walk you through the steps to create your own sunprint using fabric and then turning it into a personalized framed corkboard and accessory tray. i hope you’ll enjoy the project and give it a shot if you have a few extra hours this weekend!

*ps: i’m heading out a little early today to catch up on some book work so i’ll be back tomorrow with a full day of posts*

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CLICK HERE for the full project steps after the jump!


For Sunprints

-Sunprint fabric (I bought mine here)
-Materials to place on your fabric (leaves, flowers, vintage keys, doilies, etc.)

For Corkboard

-Frame with frame back
-Roll of cork drawer liner (like this)
-Short tacks (like these)

For Tray:

-Fabric Mod Podge (right here)
-Tray (I used a small disposable pack from Verterra)


**Sunprint fabric begins to change when you expose it to light so you’ll need to move quickly for these first steps**

1. Remove your fabric from the light-safe back and quickly iron it away from any windows or natural/direct light. (Wrinkles will appear as discolorations on the final print)

2. Find a spot with direct sunlight, lay your fabric down and place your items on top of the fabric. If you’re working with leaves, I found that pressing them ahead of time (in between book pages, etc) makes for a cleaner print.

**Indirect light or shade won’t produce the correct effect, so be sure to find a spot with bright light**

3. Leave your print in the sun for at least 10 minutes. I left mine in the sun for 30-40 minutes to get a darker blue.

4. Rinse your prints in the sink until the water runs clear.

**If you’d like to change your print to a yellow color add “washing soda” (not baking or club soda like I originally tried) to your rinse. It will slowly change the blue areas to a pale yellow. (See below). To get a sepia/brown color soak the print in a tea bath.


5. If you want to wash your fabric, make sure you use a phosphate-free detergent. Then toss them in the dryer (or on a line) until they’re dry.

6. When you finish press them with an iron to get a clean, smooth finish.


1. Remove the glass from your frame so you’re left with the frame and the backing.

2. Cut your cork sheet to just slightly smaller than the width and height of the frame backing (any larger and it will be tough to place back in the frame)

3. Remove the adhesive backing and attach to the frame back. If you find a cork product without a peel-off back just use some glue or spray-mount to attach it to the frame back.

3. Place your sunprint on top of the cork, so the print is facing outwards. I cut mine just slightly larger than the cork/frame back so I could staple it to the back of the frame. If you don’t want to staple it, spray mount it to the cork so it doesn’t bunch when you place it back in the frame.

4. Place the frame back/cork/fabric combo back into your frame and secure it with the metal prongs attached to the frame.

5. Hang on your wall, attach papers with your tacks and you’re good to go!


**This is a slightly messy project so be sure to lay down a layer of plastic or cloth where you work so the glue doesn’t dry on any of your home surfaces**

1. Cut your sunprint to fit the interior of the tray, or a shape on the surface that you like (I cut mine so it would fold over the edges a bit)

2. Cover the surface of your tray with a layer of mod podge so the fabric will stick to it.

3. Lay your sunprint fabric over the tray and smooth out with your fingers to remove any air bubbles or wrinkles. Let dry.

4. Go back over the fabric and edges of the tray with a layer of mod podge- don’t worry if it looks like white glue- it will dry clear.

5. Let your tray dry in the sun or in a safe place for at least 2 hours.

5. When your tray is dry cut off any excess fabric and fill with your favorite accessories!

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  • These are gorgeous – love the tray expecially. What is the longevity of these decorations? Is there a good way to make sure they remain colorfast? I’ve read somewhere that cyanotypes (sunprints) fade a LOT over time with light exposure. Also that they don’t like a basic/acid-free environment like most paper does?

    • hi silverkeys

      they’re bound to fade a tiny bit, but if they’re as air tight as possible and framed behind uv protected glass (which most frame shops will use if you ask) you should be ok.


  • OMG, sunprint fabric?!? I always buy those little packs of sunprint paper that are for kids, but this is great and adds so many more possibilities! What a find!

  • oh la la…..suddenly have the urge to leave work and do nothing but sunprints for days and days

  • Love the different colours. And those doilies used on the yellow fabric remind me of your business card, Grace. So pretty.

  • So simple and pretty, what a great idea! Your video tutorials have been great to watch!

  • i love sunprints! the fabric seems dangerously addictive….there is also a sunprint fabric ink that you can use to make your own fabric. I can’t remember what the brand is, but they have it at Pearl Paint. Great projects!

    • kim

      i bought that last week actually, at erie basin in brooklyn. it’s so gorgeous, it’s an antique from the late 1800s.

      grace :)

  • I have been wanting to do some sunprints for a loooong time and all i’ve been able to find is small square paper…so happy to know of another resource for these projects! Can’t wait to make some prints. Thanks Grace.

  • I did cyanotypes in college. It is fun working with the actual chemicals, but a lot more time consuming. It should be fun and easy to try the already chemically treated fabric!

    To help with things laying flat, use the glass out of your frame, place it on top of the fabric while it is exposing. The glass will just help keep things in place and won’t skew the development!

  • thanks for sharing both results look really lovely. i love the ink colour of the tray very pretty. I’m posting some of Anna Atkins original cyanotypes on my blog.. if you don’t mind i would like to link this post to mine.. as it shows a modern day interpretation. great fun ideas.

  • This is the most awesome thing I’ve seen in awhile! I forgot all about sun prints… Thanks so much for all you do, Grace :)

  • That’s so funny. The kids and I were making sunprints this morning. We used a cookie cutter which looked really cute and also an old key.

  • That’s beautiful. I really want to try. but if I can’t find sunprint fabric or paper here in China, is it possible to make the sunprint fabric by myself? big thanks :)

  • I too was unaware of the fabric! what a fun project – it is pouring rain in Seattle just now, but in a few days (like 182) we will see the sun again and I’ll try it.

  • I’m wondering if we want to do a tray and we can’t find one that is a paper material- can I cover a glass tray from the flea market? Will the mod podge stick to the glossy material?

  • Wow, this is amazing work!! I love this idea so much. I wish I could make one too but I am not sure I am as crafty….