A how to guide
What you need:
- Heavy, absorbent paper like watercolour paper, or a canvas.
- Photosensitive solution (described below).
- A paintbrush.
- Some objects like feathers, leaves, bits of metal, paper shapes, etc.
- Photo negatives printed on overhead projector film (optional).
- A sunny window or space outdoors.
- A sink and running water.
STEP 1: The Photosensitive Solution
In order to make a cyanotype at home you must purchase the cyanotype chemicals. These are quite safe, however please do take care when using them. Wear gloves and old clothing when handling them, as they can stain your skin and clothing blue. Don’t use any utensils to mix the chemicals that you also use for food. An old takeaway container and a dedicated set of measuring spoons for mixing is just fine. Take care not to get any of the solution on anything you do not want stained. ,
STEP 2: Preparing the paper
Take your photosensitive solution and brush a thin layer onto the watercolour paper. This will leave a light yellowish-green tint to the paper. Allow this to dry thoroughly, and then package the paper in a black plastic bag to keep it out of the light until you are ready to use it.
STEP 3: Setting up the print
When you are ready to create your print, choose your objects and negatives, and arrange them how you’d like your finished photo to look.
STEP 4: Creating the print
Take out your photosensitive paper, and arrange your objects and negatives on top of it. Set this in a sunny window, or outside for at least 10 minutes. Depending on the strength of the sunshine that day, the print can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to develop fully. Once the light green colour on the paper has turned a dark greenish-grey colour, your image is fully developed and you can move on to the next step.
STEP 5: Rinsing
Take your objects and negatives off the paper, and rinse it thoroughly in cool, running water. This will rinse away any undeveloped solution and reveal the blue image. Once the water runs clean, the process is complete, and you can set the paper aside to dry, or hang your photos on a line. The blue colour will deepen over the next little while.
Step 6: Share your finished images
Make sure to share your finished images with us on facebook, instgaram and twitter!