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Creating with BLUEPRINTS Printables!

This is one of the most fun art forms that we have encountered! It is fun, easy and the results are sophisticated and always original! The product comes with instructions that are quite good. However, we have put this page together for you to give you some additional tips and ideas.


What is this stuff?

This is a product made by the Blueprints Company. They have created a product using fabric and paper that is treated with blueprinting chemicals. When it is exposed to direct sunlight a chemical reaction takes place and the area the light hits turns a rich navy blue. Any part of the paper that does not get exposed to the light stays the base color of the fabric or paper- Super Cool!

How do you start?

First you need to get the fabric and/or paper from us or another supplier. The second thing is that you need to understand some of the basic principals. You are dealing with sunlight so make sure that it is directly overhead. If the light comes from a sharp angle then you may get shadows that you don't really want. You may also not get enough light exposure for the chemical reaction to take place.

The next point is that you want to be aware of shadowing. If you take an object like a fern branch and you lay it on top of the paper and expose it to light you will get the image of a fern branch to show up on the paper or fabric. However you may also get a slight shadow or the edges of the fern will not be very crisp. If you want this sort of look (and it is nice for some designs) then, no problem.

If you are going for a very crisp edge or are using something with very fine detail you will want to place it down on the paper or fabric and then place a piece of thin window glass over the top. The glass will press the items down against the fabric or paper very tightly. This will keep the sun from creeping under the edges. By doing this you will get a nice crisp edge! Be sure to use thin untinted window glass for this so that the sunlight will get through at full strength.

What elements can I use?

The good news is that anything that will leave a silhouette can be used. Plants, dried flowers, raffia and related materials give a very nice effect. You can also use found objects like bottle caps, stones, coins etc. (those types of objects are usually a bit too thick to use the window glass trick).

The instructions that come with the product give extensive use of creating negatives using your favorite old black and white photographs. They go into it so thoroughly that we will not bother to go into it here.

Rubber stamp addicts are going to love this part- You can take your favorite rubber stamp images and stamp out individual images or entire scenes on clear transparency plastic. You can then lay the plastic over the fabric and voila! I do recommend placing window glass over it to make sure that the transparency sheet is right up against the paper or fabric. The effects are incredible and even the smallest details will show up. Be sure to stamp in black with a permanent ink pad.

If you are a fine artist and like to make your own drawings you can use the same technique using permanent markers directly on the transparency plastic or running it through a copier.

I want step by step instructions!

1) Buy some treated Blueprint Paper or Blueprint Fabric (only the kind from the BLUEPRINTS Co.). Picture shown below is for the treated paper.

2) Get all your materials together- This can be found objects, ferns and plants, stamped transparency plastic (acetate), photo negatives, etc.

Image on left is rubber stamped images on acetate.

3) Lay out your design roughly on a sheet of paper that is the same size as the treated paper or fabric. Once you like your design go to the next step.

4) Take out a sheet of treated fabric or paper and place it on a movable surface (like a thick piece of cardboard or a foam board).

Foam board shown above

Then transfer your design elements onto the treated paper or fabric. Do this in a shaded or indoor area. Do not spend to much time doing this as the paper begins the chemical reaction as soon as it is out of the bag.

The fabric and paper is a green tint when it comes out of the bag. As it is exposed to sunlight it becomes blue. The true colors really appear only after step 10.

5) When you have transferred your design completely you can then put a piece of window glass on top to press the materials down against the fabric or paper. This is an optional step.

What you are looking at is a white piece of foam with a piece of treated blueprint fabric on top. Then a stamped piece of acetate is on top of that with a couple of fern branches. On the very top is a piece of window glass.

6) Carry the whole thing outside and place it in the sun. It is best to do this when the sun is directly overhead to avoid strange shadows. It also gives you the brightest light with the best exposure.

7) Leave it out for 10 to 20 minutes. We have found that 20 minutes really gives you a good print.

8) Take your fabric or paper out of the sun and take all the materials off of it.

9) Take your fabric or paper and wash it under cold water until the water runs clear.

10) Dry your fabric or paper. If you are using fabric let it dry and then iron it. When you iron it the images really pop out! If you are using paper be sure to dry it on a flat surface to avoid ripples. If you want you can press it with a weight to encourage it to stay flat.

10) Enjoy your creation!

What can you make with it?


If you are working with the treated paper you can use it in your card making, paper collage and other paper crafts applications. The results can be so beautiful you may just want to frame it.

This was done by photo copying the image onto transparency plastic (acetate). This print was done on paper.


If you are using the fabric squares you can create pillows, little handbags, use them as quilt squares, etc. We like to put it on jean jackets!

The tie-dye look was done by twisting the fabric and then laying it out in the sun.

The large image was hand drawn and then photo copied onto clear acetate.

This was done using a stamp on clear acetate.

The images were done using rubber stamps on clear acetate.

The fabric is also available in yardage as a special order. We have made giant quilts and clothing using this yardage. It can be expensive but the results are worth it.

This quilt is made from White and Turquoise treated fabric. The artwork was done by stamping on very large sheets of clear acetate. The wrinkled look of the corner panels was done by twisting fabric and then laying it out in the sun. The middle circle panel was done by drawing it out on a large sheet of paper and then photo copying it onto clear acetate.

A huge sheet of window glass was placed over each panel to keep the acetate right up against the fabric while it was in the sun.

This quilt has been in storage that is why it is so wrinkled. The fabric is 100% cotton so it can be ironed perfectly flat.

Close up of a panel

Close up of a panel joint. The images are quite clear and detailed. You can see that one of the fabrics was white and the other was turquoise. The Blueprints Co. also makes a magenta colored fabric.

Have fun!!

© 2011 California Paper Goods