Sun Prints

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This activity uses a special paper that can create images with exposure to the Sun. Collect objects of different shapes and sizes and use them to make interesting patterns on your sun print. Most of our objects in the example blocked out the light, because they were opaque. Experiment using semi-opaque objects like mesh or colored glass, or test out reflective and refractive materials to see what images you can get.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sunprint® paper
  • objects (as many as you can find)
  • flat container of water
  • a sunny day


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Diffraction and Interference
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Science Museum of Minnesota, 1995

Funding Sources:

  • Unisys
  • Science Learning Network
  • National Science Foundation