Sun Prints & Moon Journals - Collage Friday - Eva Varga

October 19, 20134

It has been a great week!  We have managed to squeeze in so much learning that it’s hard to believe we have also had quality time with friends and family.  Our endeavors and opportunities this week provided us with a greater understanding of the moon’s phases as we began a year-long moon journal project.  In addition, we explored chemical changes and solubility with ultraviolet light.

sun prints

Sun Prints

My girlfriend brought over a package of large sun print paper so we took advantage of the beautiful day to sneak in a little science.  Sun Prints were originally developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science in 1975 and have been popular in art and science classrooms ever since.  The magic behind this classic activity involves a little chemistry – specifically chemical changes and water solubility.

In the presence of ultra-violet light, two molecules embedded in the paper interact to form a new molecule. Their interaction is initiated by the specific wavelengths of ultra-violet light. The new molecule is colorless so that as the blue molecules are converted, the white of the paper base begins to show through. As the chemical reaction takes place, the areas of the paper exposed to the sun will fade from blue to white.

Areas of the paper covered by objects still contain the original blue molecule, so they remain blue.  According to package directions, when you see most of the color disappear from the paper,  the print has been fully exposed and you are to put the paper into water. This does two things …

First, the original blue compound is water soluble, thus when you immerse it in the water, the blue compound is carried away, leaving only the white paper base. Second, the new colorless compound is not water soluble, and therefore does not wash away. However, water stimulates another chemical change … an oxidation reaction that turns the colorless compound into the deep blue of a finished sun print.

The result is a cool piece of art.  I love that Sweetie did organic items (leaves, seeds, shells, a bird skull, etc.) whereas Buddy used his new Boeing 747 model.

moon jounals

Moon Journals

As we got underway with the World MOON Project earlier this month, the kids have been joyfully pointing the moon out every night. To be honest, it took us a few weeks to get into the habit, but now they delightedly point it out.

Presently, they are recording their observations on a simple sheet I printed out from the curriculum, but as we sat down this week for the first descriptive writing assignment (an essay requirement for the project), they both stated they’d like a special nature journal for the moon. “I’d like to put a poem I wrote about the moon in it and do some special art projects about the moon,” Sweetie exclaimed.

I have been wanting to start year-long moon journals for a long time.  They didn’t have to twist my arm. We will be purchasing a new journal this weekend.  In fact, I have the perfect art project already in mind. You can see some of my moon journal ideas pinned on my Nature Study & Journaling board.


  • We prepared three of our favorite meals this week – it was all about comfort food: corned beef and cabbage, meatloaf, and meat biscuits.
  • I made homemade vegetable broth with the left over veggie scraps.
  • The kids performed well as their fall recital.
  • Even better, my mom (Grandma R) was able to drive down to see the recital.
  • Mom taught me how to can tuna!!
Homegrown Learners


  • Phyllis at All Things Beautiful

    October 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I love both the sun prints and the moon journals. I have tried to do moon journals before and was not able to keep it up enough to complete a journal. I think yours are beautiful. Looks like it was a great week.

    • Eva Varga

      October 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      We’ve also tried in the past, Phyllis. We’re giving it another go .. this time with smaller journals. We don’t expect to journal daily but at least a few times each month. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

  • handstitch

    October 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    What a terrific week of living to life’s fullest! Can I move it? I love sun printing…especially on fabrics. Now, I am experimenting sun printing with rust objects on silk. It’s fascinating how nature teaches us so much if we dare to observe and play. I haven’t done a moon journal–add to my ever-growing bucket list. Thanks for the inspiration, Eva.

    Did you video taped the recital? I would love to see it 😀 And comfort food…I made a huge pot of pumpkin stew last night. But, corned beef & cabbage is one of my favorites. Yum yum.

    • Eva Varga

      October 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I’d never considered sun printing on fabric! What a great idea! Speaking of silk, at the Renaisance Faire we observed a woman painting on silk and we were inspired. I’m hoping to get the materials to do that soon – we’d love to make personal pennants. 🙂

      We did in fact videotape the recital. I plan to upload it soon. 🙂

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