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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
After several rainy days, the sun finally came out of hiding behind the clouds to lend its rays to the Dover Town Library’s “Crafternoon.” For the third Wednesday in a row, the library has hosted a craft-filled afternoon for visitors. In previous weeks, library visitors made grass heads and pet rocks.
This past Wednesday, the library welcomed the sun to their “Crafternoon” as they made sun prints.
The craft only required five simple things: cardboard, sun-sensitive paper, an acrylic sheet, a shallow tray of water, and lots of small objects to print. Making the sun prints was just as simple, as Dover Town Library visitors discovered.
Nancy Tegeler, Head of Children’s Services, and a volunteer from Dover organized the craft in the Community Room and helped families make their sun prints by explaining each step of the process. The children personalized their prints by arranging a variety of objects - such as stencils, buttons, foam stickers, flowers, and leaves - on top of the dark blue sun-sensitive paper. Sandwiching the paper and arrangement of objects between a piece of cardboard and a thick piece of acrylic, Tegeler and the library volunteer helped children bring their sun prints outside to expose the paper to light for about five minutes.
Within minutes of lying out in the sun, the color disappeared from the paper, while the paper underneath the objects remained dark blue. Once inside again, the children submerged their prints in a tray of water for about a minute, which reversed the colors on the paper. Like magic, the parts of the paper covered by the objects became white and the rest of the paper became dark blue again.
While the children were a bit too young to fully comprehend the science behind it, most understood that sun prints are made because of ultra-violet (UV) rays from the sun. The blue molecules of the paper react to UV light and form a new, colorless molecule. Once the paper is submerged underwater, the colorless molecules react to the water and then become dark blue, while the blue molecules that were covered by the arrangement on the paper are water-soluble and are washed away, leaving that part of the paper white.
The “Crafternoon” participants were able to take their custom made prints home with them the same afternoon, providing them with a unique reminder of the creative and educational opportunities their library offers.