Life at the Cottage

Photographic Printing Process

Cyanotype is an old photographic printing process which creates a blue image or blue outline of an image by exposing with the sun, much like the “sun print papers” you can buy today. You  probably have seen prints where a leaf or object is placed on the paper and put in the sun to make an outline of the subject used. Supplies needed are:

  • Heavy water color cardstock
  • Ammonium Ferric Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide
  • Foam paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Bowl or container
  • 2 pieces of flat glass larger than print you are making

First of all, read directions and be careful with chemicals. I have not tried this with the “sun print papers” but plan on trying those in the future. You will need a dark room or somewhere dark to dry paper. Keep paper in the dark or a container until ready to use. This is a summary of the process I used to make my print.

I first selected a photo that was not too busy with detail. I fired up Photoshop and sized the image to the size I wanted. Then I made an inverted negative from my image and printed it on clear overhead projector sheets.

I sized the water color card stock to six 8 x 10 pieces and drew a pencil line very lightly just a fraction smaller than my negative. I mixed equal amounts of the chemicals in the bowl and used the foam brush to paint inside the pencil lines. I laid the card stock in a dark room to dry overnight.

I put down a piece of glass, then one piece of the card stock chemical side up, then my negative, and then a piece of glass sandwiching it together with clips. I took it out in the sun and put it on the sidewalk and timed the first one for  about 4 minutes and disassembled the sandwiched paper and rinsed it in a tub of water for about 5 minutes. Did the process again but adding two minutes to the time with each exposure until I achieved the results I wanted. This is not an exact science but trial and error with exposure times. Once you know how long to expose your paper to the sun, you can make more based on your best image. Just another way to use you photography skills. Keep creating art!


This entry was published on March 26, 2014 at 3:24 pm. It’s filed under Art Cottage, DIY, Tutorials and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: