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Making cyanotypes is a fantastic new experience for every photographically minded individual. Just pick out your desired objects or negatives and start printing. All you need is the sun and a way to rinse your prints afterwards. Your resulting image will be white wherever your object was, and a deep, dark, beautiful blue in the negative space. How to make a cyanotype sun print Choose your design.
Your design choices are nearly endless.Here are some ideas: Drawings or photographs that have been printed on transparencies or acetate. Actual objects such as leaves, flowers, string, toys, letters, hands, jewellery. Experiment with photographic negatives, x-rays, cut outs or clipart, lace and sheer fabrics. Use your imagination - try anything.Once you have chosen your design, lay it on the cyanotype material.
To hold your design in place during your sun exposure, use a piece of clear glass or Plexiglas for a tight contact, or lay your design loosely if there is no wind. You can also choose to pin your design down onto a piece of cardboard or foam core.
Expose your sun print. First make a test print by exposing your design in the sun for different lengths of time on a small section of cyanotype material (use the test print chart below as a guide), then choose the best exposure time to get the blue you want.To print on both sides of the cyanotype material, first expose one side to the sun using your desired exposure time, then turn the material over, lay the same or different design on the second side and expose it for any time you choose.Once you have exposed your sun print, remove your design.
Rinse your sun print. When you rinse your print in water for a few minutes (until the water runs clear) your cyanotype print will begin to appear immediately. The print will be cyan blue and your design will be white or if you choose a coloured fabric, your design will be that colour.Further experimentsMake a yellow print. To tone our blue print to yellow, soak your blue print in a solution of 1 gallon of water and 2-3 teaspoons of TSP (Tri sodium Phosphate), a powdered soap found in hardware stores. Some laundry detergents contain phosphates and can be used. Let your blue print soak in this solution for 5 minutes.
The blue will change to yellow. Remove your yellow print from the phosphate solution and rinse it in water for 2-3 minutes. Make sepia print. To tone your yellow print to sepia, soak your yellow print in brewed black tea (5-6 tea bags: 6 cups water). The more tea bags you use the darker your print will appear. Stir your print occasionally the move your print and rinse in water briefly.
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