Local Artist Lauren Manninen

Lauren is an artist who has worked with many students through the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy's After School Enrichment Program, both in the schools and at EIAA's Music and Arts Studios. She received her bachelor’s degree in painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and studied abroad at the Osaka University of Art. Find Lauren on Facebook.

Instant art: Just add sun!

What reason do you need to go outside other than a sunny day? How about making some art? In this project we will use a sunprint kit to make beautiful blue images featuring found leaves, flowers or other obejects from nature.


  • Sunprint kit -There are several versions available from Amazon or Dick Blick
  • Basin of water for rinsing
  • Leaves, flowers or other flat objects
  • A sunny day!


  1. Spend some time looking around your backyard or park for interesting leaves, flowers, feathers or whatever you can find! Household objects work too. For example, lace makes some great patterns.
  2. Set up your workspace. Fill a basin of water that will fit the paper, find a nice flat place, and line up your found objects.
  3. Carefully take ONE sheet of sun print paper out of the black bag. Now the timer begins!
  4. Spend 30 seconds MAX placing your objects on the paper. - The paper is light sensitive, so you can’t leave it laying out while you gather your things. I find it helpful to work with the paper in my shadow to extend the time a bit.
  5. Place the piece of plexiglass that comes with the kit on top of your objects. Then wait for the paper to turn WHITE.
  6. Once the paper turns white, place in the basin of water, and rinse thoroughly. I like to let my paper sit in there for a minute or so.
  7. Remove from water and let dry in a flat place. The paper will return to a blue color over the course of a few hours.
  8. Admire the awesome prints you made! These look great framed or made into greeting cards. Or cut them up and use them for collage.

Each kit comes with multiple sheets of paper, so don’t be afraid to experiment. You never know what sort of fun things you can find to print!

Share your work and stay connected!

We are curious to see your project! Upload photos in the comment section below. If you have trouble, or want to share a short video, email us at info@eiaaprogram.org. Leave your school name in the comment box and we will share images with your school!

We want to stay connected to our creative students when we get back to the new normal. While you are here, learn more about the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy. While we don't have much taking place in real space/time during the pandemic, we will get back to our regular live and in-person classes. When we do, we'd love to have you as a member!

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