How to make a leaf print cushion using sunlight

Try your hand at the simple art of sun printing to create foliage-inspired fabric

Quick and simple to do, sun printing is a fun way to get creative with pattern design. Bring the natural beauty of newly appearing shoots and fresh spring foliage into your home with this simple cushion craft idea from Country Homes & Interiors

Before you start, you’ll need to go foraging for beautiful leaves and stems. Choose striking shapes with well-defined veins; these will produce the best results and also give a clearer impression.

You will need:

  • Plain cushion cover (choose a natural fabric such as cotton or linen)
  • Specialist sunlight-activated dye (we used Lumi InkoDye, col navy, £17.97 for 236ml, Fred Aldous).
  • Piece of cardboard, cut to fit inside your cushion cover
  • Paint brush
  • Selection of leaves and stems
  • Salt
  • Iron

Step 1

Wash and dry the cover, then follow the dye manufacturer’s instructions to mix up the colour you’ve chosen.

Step 2
Place a board inside the cover and use a brush to dampen the front so it sticks to the board. Apply the paint, then quickly press the leaves and stems onto the wet cover, so they cling on.

*Style tip: We’ve placed our leaves and stems haphazardly to create this relaxed design; if you’re after a more formal look, try arranging your foliage into a structured wreath shape.

Step 3
Shake salt over the cushion cover and place it outside in the sunlight. If it’s too windy to leave the cover outside, place it by a window in the sun. Leave until images appear (about an hour – longer if left by a window), then remove the leaves and brush off the salt.

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Step 4
Fix the pattern in place by ironing the fabric according to the dye instructions.

Looking for more creative inspiration? Find more craft ideas on Country Homes & Interiors’ page.

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