Cyanotypes Part 3: How To Develop Cyanotype Paper

In our earlier articles, we embarked on a fascinating journey into the world of cyanotypes. We started by making our own cyanotype paper, a process that involved coating paper with a light-sensitive solution. Then, we moved on to the exciting phase of exposing our cyanotypes to sunlight, creating unique prints on the paper.

Now, it’s time to unveil the artwork hidden within these exposures by developing our cyanotypes.

The development process is a simple and important step in cyanotype creation. It involves rinsing the exposed cyanotype paper with plain tap water. This washes off the unreacted chemicals, revealing the stunning blue print beneath.

The cyanotype paper is rinsed with water to develop the print.

As the water flows over the paper, the transformation is fascinating to watch. The yellowish areas of the paper turn white, and the silver-grayish areas turn a deep blue. The resulting cyanotype prints are unique pieces of art, each telling its own story.

The final cyanotype print, a beautiful blue and white image.
The final cyanotype print, a beautiful blue and white image.

One of the most captivating aspects of developing cyanotypes is the transformation that takes place right before your eyes. As the water washes over the paper, the image comes to life, revealing intricate details and patterns.

The cyanotype process can be meditative, with the rhythmic sound of water and the gradual appearance of the image creating a serene and satisfying experience. This hands-on involvement in the creation of your artwork adds a personal touch that makes each cyanotype truly unique.

Many Cyanotypes
Develop many cyanotypes at once and dry them on a clean window screen

Creating cyanotypes is a rewarding process that combines art and science. From preparing the cyanotype paper to exposing it to sunlight and developing the prints, each step offers a unique experience. In our next article, we’ll discuss how to display your cyanotypes, the final step in this creative journey.

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