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Sun Bleaching Paper: A Kid-Friendly Project That’s Perfect for Summer

Let the warm weather activities begin! Entertaining your kids in the summer months can be a little daunting — filling all the daylight hours while keeping the kids interested is no easy feat!

Here’s one awesome way to fill a few of those summer days: sun bleaching paper! Not only is this a crafty, creative project, but can be educational, too! Your kids can learn a little about how sunlight works and about UV radiation.

How to sun bleach paper

Materials you’ll need for sun bleaching paper:

  • Blue or black construction paper
  • Creative objects (stencils, leaves, fruits, etc.)
  • A beautiful sunny day!


Place your objects on the construction paper in a sunlit area outside. Leave paper out in sunlight for at least 3-5 hours. Remove the objects from the paper and you’ll see that the sun bleached the uncovered areas, but the paper under the objects is still fully colored.

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A few tips on making your sun-bleached creations even better:

1. The darker the paper, the better

When sun bleaching paper, use a darker colored construction paper (like blue or black) to guarantee the contrast in the shapes and stencils. Plus, the darker the paper color, the faster it will fade. For the kids with short attention spans, get the darkest paper you can find!

2. Create a melting effect

Express your abstract style with a melting effect. Place a few crayons on the paper to create a dissolving pattern. This is a super cool way to make a few new art pieces for your kids’ rooms. Just throw it in a cute frame, and voila!

3. Give your kids freedom to express themselves

Let the kids find things that interest them! Have a little dude obsessed with toy trucks or trains? Let him put those to work on his construction paper.

Half the fun of this project is allowing them the freedom to be able to put whatever they would like to see on their artwork. Everything from bird feathers to harmonicas are completely allowed sun bleaching privileges.

4. Sun-sensitive paper

There is such a thing as sun-sensitive paper that will help speed the sun bleaching process along. Instead of waiting a few hours, you can purchase sun-sensitive paper at craft stores and see results in as little as 3 minutes. This project would be perfect for a quick piece of artwork for a last-minute gift.

5. Create an entire scenery with your sun-bleached work of art

If you have the resources, correlate your objects to recreate a piece of scenery with your sun-bleached goodness. It’s pretty spectacular if you’re able to make something that is visually connected, and I can guarantee it will turn out spectacular. The scenarios are endless as to what you could create!

6. Consider the weight of the object

Just because the stenciled object is pretty doesn’t mean it will hold up outside for a few hours. Choose objects that will stay put for several hours and will not be blown away by the wind.

7. Pick the perfect spot

Choose a spot that will have continuous sunlight for several hours. Since the sun does move throughout the day, it’s important to know where the sunlight hits and make sure the paper will be well lit.

The dyeing process for sun-bleaching

Another type of sun bleaching paper requires dye (which you can get at most craft stores) for the outside of the stencils or objects. For this process, place your object on white paper and paint the dye onto the page around the object, as if it’s a stencil. This will create a white object and allow the backdrop to be your favorite color!

craftsy family

Summer is solved!

Craving new, fun ways to connect with your kids? You’ve come to the right place! Thanks to our exclusive, addictive, on-demand shows, and hands-on project kits, the creative possibilities are endless this summer.Check It Out


Rosemary Rivas

Now can you take this a step further and show ways this can be done with fabric, perhaps leaf printing?

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R Olcott

This isnt sunbleaching the first image is an cyanotype… how would the paper turn white where the object is if the paper is bleached by the sun? wouldnt it be dark where the object is..

Renee Boyett

That’s what has me so confused about this article. The opening image isn’t sun bleaching but something else entirely.

Connie Bridges

Well, we’re they using step 6 for the opening image? In other words, did they use white paper and dye the surrounding background? Not what I would call sun bleaching but it might explain that first image.

Rosemary LaPadula

First picture is sun bleaching with a stencil.


They explained at the end of the article that you can use white paper, place the object on the paper and brush on a sun sensitive dye. All explained at the end of the article…….


This process wiuld make more sense to me if there were pictures of before and after . I have done somthing similar but with sprsy paints and get the same effecr


Ladies, the first image corresponds with item #4, sun-sensitive paper, not the super low-cost project of letting the sun bleach the color from your construction paper “collage”.


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