152: Cyanotypes

Cyanotypes are a photographic printing process that was originally used to make blueprints, before the artist Anna Atkins used it for photography means. This process would create a permanent image that could be accessible whebever needed by the artist or client.
The main chemicals needed to create this blue dye are: Ammonium Ferric Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide.

Mixing process:

  1. Mix 10g of Ammonium Ferric Citrate to 50ml of 20˚c of water inside a brown, labelled bottle.
  2. Then mix 4g of Potassium Ferricyanide to 50ml of 20˚c of water inside a brown, labelled bottle.
  3. Afterwards, turn off all the lights in the darkroom, as when these two mixtures are mixed, they become light sensitive. However red light is ok to use.
  4. Poor the two mixtures into a tray and mix well
  5. Using a brush, coat your piece of paper thoroughly with the mixture.
    (Note: If possible, wear plastic gloves as this chemical mixture can leave a yellow stain.)
  6. Allow the paper to dry either naturally in the dark or with a hairdryer.

Once this is all done, you are now ready to go off and make your cyanotype!

The process of getting your image is effectively very similar to that of a photogram; you place the object/negative/acetate image onto the paper and then expose it for several minutes. This exposure can be done either in the sunlight (although the timing will vary if it is overcast or sunny) or it can be done underneath UV light as well.


Once you have your image, you need to wash away any of the light sensitive material that may still be on your piece of paper and let it dry. And then you have your print!

photo 1(4)

For my image, I used a piece of tissue that I ripped up and wrinkled to give some texture to the picture, before placing a leaf and some coins in there as well. The pictures came out well, and I can definitely say that having objects that can give some shape and depth work better in providing a more stimulating picture to look at in the end.


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