Second graders in art this week made cyanotypes. We tried it two different ways. We did it with paper with one class and with fabric in another, and we found that the watercolor paper treated with cyanotype stuff worked much better than the fabric. At Lewis Ginter Botanical garden they have an exhibit up this month of giant cyanotypes on fabric made by Studio two three. They seemed to have no trouble but maybe for elementary school, paper is a lot easier for them.
A cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan blue print. Cyan is a lovely shade of blue, so that print turns out blue and white.
You could easily try this with a class or on your own at home in 2 ways: you could buy pretreated fabric or paper and lay objects on it and leave it in the sun, then wash it off, or you could treat the fabric or paper yourself (slightly cheaper, but with less exact results) and do the same.
Either way you do it, the results are fun and feel like a science lesson. We used clear plastic that the students glued beans to in patterns on one day, then allowed that to dry overnight and had them lay the plastic on top of the fabric or paper the next class out in the sun. Even the fabric that turned out kind of funky was a fun process!