How to make a solar print

Who knew the sun was so artistic!

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.


  • turmer­ic;
  • an­ti­sep­tic;
  • sheet of pa­per;
  • plant leaves;
  • glass plate;
  • fun­nel with piece of cot­ton wool;
  • paint brush;
  • binders.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Mix turmer­ic with an­ti­sep­tic and fil­ter through a fun­nel with a piece of cot­ton wool. Use a paint­brush to cov­er a sheet of pa­per with the re­sult­ing so­lu­tion. Press the plant leaves to the pa­per with a glass plate and se­cure it in a con­ve­nient way – with binder clips, for in­stance. Leave it un­der the sun for 1 day. This re­sults in a yel­low plant-leaf pat­tern that can be pre­served with con­tact lens so­lu­tion.

Process de­scrip­tion

Turmer­ic con­tains a dye known as cur­cum­in, which is de­stroyed and los­es its col­or in the sun­light. The boric acid from the con­tact lens so­lu­tion re­acts with the re­main­ing cur­cum­in, yield­ing new or­ange com­pounds that are more re­sis­tant to sun­light.

A more col­or­ful ver­sion of this ex­per­i­ment is in­clud­ed in the “Cyan­otype” set from the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion.