Cyanotypes are light-sensitive sheets of paper, and they’re a lot of fun to play with on a sunny day.
On the day I write this, the weather outside is the opposite of sunny, which makes for lackluster cyanotype exposures.
While cloudy days aren’t ideal weather conditions for exposing cyanotypes, cloudy-skies are the IDEAL condition for sensitizing our own cyanotype sheets.
The video embedded above this text has a text-track with annotations for each step in the process. Click the “CC” button to see the annotated steps.
Cyanotype Paper – How To Make Your Own
Before you can make your own cyanotype papers, you’ll first need to assemble your cyanotype ingredients.
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If you’re using a previously-created batch of cyanotype chemistry, then you’ll want to filter parts A and B, before you combine them.
Mold tends to grow in cyanotype chemistry, and we want to filter that mold out, so it doesn’t leave a layer of fuzz-scum on our finished cyanotypes.
If you’re using a new batch of cyanotype chemistry, then you’re ready to start using it as soon as you mix parts A and B in equal amounts.
For the purposes of our instructions, I will be combining 52 grams each, of Part A and Part B.
This amount should yield 100-ish grams of usable cyanotype chemistry, which should be sufficient cover approximately 200 3×5 cards.
Cyanotype Paper – Sensitizing 3X5 Cards
Once your chemistry is mixed, you’re ready to brush the mixture onto your sheets of paper.
I like to secure smaller papers by using a little bit of sticky-tac, placed on a rigid sheet of cardboard.
Once you’ve secured your blank paper sheets, you’ll want to soak your Hake brush with some cyanotype chemistry.
A non-metallic Hake brush is essential for cyanotype making, because the metal ferrule of a traditional paint brush could cause undesirable reactions in our chemistry.
Once the Hake brush is fully loaded with cyanotype chemistry, simply move the brush over the blank index cards in a smooth fashion.
If you’re making full-coat cyanotype sheets, then the cyanotype chemistry will go straight to the edges of each paper.
If you’re making white-border cyanotype sheets, then the cyanotype chemistry will be brushed onto the center of the paper, leaving a uniform-ish white border around it.
Cyanotype Paper Drying Methods
By mounting our cyanotype cards to a piece of cardboard, we’ve made it easier to move them to a new drying location.
Set your finished cards to dry somewhere with subdued lighting; they’ll be dry in about 30 minutes.
Once the cyanotype cards are dry to the touch, then they’re ready to either be used, or stored for future enjoyment.
Now you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need for creating cyanotype cards!