Cyanotype is a traditional photographic printing process developed in the mid-18th century and is distinctive for its rich blue color. How it works: When cyanotype-soaked paper is exposed to sunlight, a chemical reaction occurs. However, it won’t show up until you put the paper in water. Then it immediately turns blue!
So how do you make a print?
1. simply fill each bottle (Type A and Type B) with water, shake and allow to infuse for 24 hours to dissolve the powders.
2. Mix equal parts of SOLUTION A and SOLUTION B under dim lighting to create the cyanotype sensitizer. Mix only the amount you need immediately, as the sensitizer is only stable for 2-4 hours.
3. Coat paper with the sensitizer and allow to air dry in the dark (e.g., closet). Paper can be double coated for denser prints.
4. Expose in sunlight (1-30 minutes, depending on conditions) or under a UV light source, placing objects or a film negative on the coated surface to create an image. (Note: overexposure is almost always preferred to underexposure.) The fabric will look bronze once fully exposed.
5. Process prints in a tray or bucket of cold water. Wash for at least 5 minutes and change the water regularly until the water is clear. Do not use soap. When wetted, the print will change from a bronze to a blue color. To process prints immediately for the final deep blue color, submerge washed prints in a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution, then rinse.
6. Air dry prints on a clean clothesline or on newspaper or blotting paper. If peroxide was not used in step 6, the prints will oxidize more slowly to their final deep blue color over the course of about 24 hours.
If you are looking for more challenges with cyanotype, you can also try it with photos:
Place objects on the paper to block the light: Anywhere the sunlight can’t reach will stay white and leave a photographic impression on the paper (this is called a “photogram”). To print photos, simply print the photo on a transparency and place it on the paper instead of an object. You can even make prints from drawings by first drawing on transparency film – the possibilities are endless! Exposure time depends on external conditions, but is usually 3-10 minutes.
Make photographic prints by first creating a film negative. To easily turn any image into a film negative to make photographic cyanotype prints, visit Jacquard’s online negative generator at www.JacquardCyanotype.com