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  • Writer's pictureDarcy McVicar

Cyanotype Printing - Something for Everyone

This article discusses the cyanotype photographic printing process, which uses a light-sensitive chemical solution to create prints on paper. The process is easy to do, but you will need to make test prints on each day you make a print. The prints will fade over time in direct sunlight, but they will be more vibrant if you make them in a darker environment. - Cyanotype printing is a photographic printing process that produces cyan blue prints. English experimental photographer John Herschel brought the idea in 1842, and it has been used ever since. The process involves exposing a photosensitive material to light, producing a photographic image on a chemistry-coated surface. Photograms, drawings, engineering sketches and copies of blueprints can all be produced using this method. John Herschel was an important scientist as well as an experimental photographer who created the cyanotype technique. He discovered that when sunlight was exposed to certain chemicals on a surface, it would create a permanent image. His work was very influential in the development of photography and other types of art forms. Sir John's invention has been used by photographers and scientists alike throughout the years to produce beautiful images with ease and accuracy. Cyanotype printing was discovered in 1842 by astronomer and botanist Sir John Herschel. He noticed that the reaction of certain chemical compounds with ultraviolet light produced a deep blue-violet colour, which he named cyanotype. Anna Atkins, a botanist and photographer, was one of the first to use the new process to create photographic prints of her algae specimens. By exposing them to sunlight they were printed onto cotton paper. The process required a negative of the original image to be used as a template for printing photographs onto cotton paper. This process is called cyanotype printing and it requires the paper to be exposed to sunlight in order to make test prints. The prints need full 24 hours of sun exposure, otherwise they may fade or not become prints at all. Bright light can also cause the print to fade, so it's important to keep it in a dark place until the entire process has been completed. Once the paper has been exposed for 24 hours, a chemical reaction occurs causing the image on the paper to change from white colours into Prussian Blue. This is why cyanotype printing was popularly known as blueprints. It is a technique where you can paint your own paper and create your own print. To start, you will need some paper ready for the process- watercolour paper works best. You will also need some glass or perspex to lay your first paper on. As I used 8 sheets of paper, I had an ample amount of solution left over. Make sure you have a flat surface to place your piece on, it can be inside or outdoors as long as it is well lit with the sun. You can also use paper or fabric to make prints. Cyanotype printing is a photographic printing process that uses a sensitive chemical solution to create an image. The paper or fabric needs to be coated with the solution before it can be exposed. After it is exposed, it needs to be handled with water wash out in order to fix the image. Depending on how many papers or fabrics you want to create prints from, you will need to mix different amounts of powder chemicals and water for the sensitive solution. When the chemicals react with the paper or fabric, it creates a cyanotype image on its surface. This process is called the Cyanotype Process. It is used to create Prussian Blue images, and involves the mixing of two chemicals and applying them to a light sensitive surface. The solution is then exposed to UV light, creating an image. Once washed with water, the oxidisation process takes place and a Prussian Blue image is formed. Photograms are also created using this method. A photogram is created by placing objects on a light sensitive surface, then exposing it to UV light which creates a shadow of the object on the surface.

This is the basis for Cyanotype printing. When done with a digital camera, a desaturated digital image is taken to create the print images. The resulting photo is then turned into a cyanotype negative using a negative generator. This negative can be printed onto acetate or jacquard cyanotype paper to create positives. The process of making cyanotypes is relatively simple and requires few materials; this makes it an easy and inexpensive way to turn images into cyanotype prints. It's also possible to make photograms and create full-resolution photographs with your printer. To print cyanotypes, you will need white photo inkjet paper that has been coated with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Once the paper is in place, you can print images of handwriting, drawings, text, or photographs from your printer onto the coated paper. For images with a lot of detail, it is best to use a clear acetate film so that the image can be easily transferred from your printer onto the paper. Cyanotype printing is a process that allows photographers to create photographic prints and photographic reprints from original negative images. By using a digital camera, my photography can be printed as an authentic cyanotype on an overhead transparency. An inkjet printer is used to create the reversed image, and then the transparency is used to transform a few sheets of cyanotype paper into the final print. The shadow created by the negative image gives each of my first prints an original look, as each sheet of paper will show different qualities when exposed to light. This is the process of cyanotype printing and it involves our method of using simple sheets of cyanotype paper with clear acrylic placed over it to make our design. The paper is then exposed to the sun, which causes a reaction and leaves behind a beautiful Prussian blue tone with white shapes where light was blocked. This process can be done with foliage or fabrics, by placing them onto the sheet before exposing it to the sun. Cyanotype printing is an old and beloved process for making prints of fabric. It involves making a cyanotype solution, washing your image onto clean absorbent paper, drying your fabric and then laying it flat on the paper. You should experiment with different PROPORTIONS AND OTHER VARIABLES BEFORE MAKING A final print. Once the cyanotype solution is applied to the fabric, it's important to hang your fabric in direct sunlight or under a UV light source while avoiding whites labor. After exposure, you must wash away the unexposed parts of your image before developing negatives in the sun or under a UV lamp.

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