How are you, artists? Today we bring you a very easy tutorial for those of you who like to have your favorite pictures at home! Just with a cyanotype set you can develop your images in a handmade way and in a few minutes, we tell you about it:
What is Cyanotype?
The cyanotype is an artisanal technique of printing monochrome negatives. It is carried out by means of an emulsion that reveals the images on any absorbent support in various shades of blue.
In 1842, John Herschel invented this process while experimenting with photosensitive iron salts. Although Herschel was the inventor, the first prints were made by botanist Anna Atkins in 1843. Atkins made a photographic book on ferns and various plants illustrated with this technique.
How to Make Cyanotype?
The cyanotype process consists of reacting ultraviolet light to a chemical mixture. This mixture consists of ferric ammonium citrate (III) and potassium ferrocyanide under ultraviolet light. These chemicals can be found in any cyanotype set. Upon contact with light, the solution changes color to a blue called Prussian blue.
It is a very simple procedure but we explain it step by step so that you do not make any mistake!
1. To Make the Mixtures
To carry out the cyanotyping, two independent mixtures must be made and then put together:
- First solution: Dilute 25 g of ferric ammoniacal citrate in 100 ml of distilled water.
- Second solution: Dilute 10 g of potassium ferrocyanide in 100 ml of distilled water.
Of course, there are multiple ways to make the cyanotype mixture. You can also use our complete cyanotype set on 200 ml of water per solution.
Once you have the two solutions in separate opaque bottles, separate, with two different syringes, the same amount of each liquid (5ml, for example). They should be placed in an opaque bottle and mixed well.
2. Sensitizing the Paper
When the mixture is ready, it must be applied to the paper. For this it is not necessary to be completely in the dark, as it could seem, but it is necessary to take into account that it cannot give the light of the sun.
To apply the mixture, let it stand for a few minutes beforehand and spread it with a roller or a brush, it is recommended that the brush does not have any metal parts. When the solution is spread on the paper it must be left to dry in a ventilated place without sunlight.
Once we have applied the mixture to the paper and it is dry we have to make the exposure. As for the exposure it is necessary to cover the paper it can be done with any object that you want to capture, it is the case of Atkins. The botany covered the papers with the different ferns to capture them. Another option is to make it with negative photographs printed on transparent acetate.
The procedure is the same for both proposals: place the object, or negative, on the paper and cover it with a glass so that it does not move.
Once sealed, just place the images in the sun and wait 20 to 30 minutes. For reference, the images will be correctly exposed when the emulsion has changed to gray, silver.
4. Washing or Developing
Once the negative has been correctly transferred to paper and has acquired the necessary tone to be able to develop it, the paper must be passed through cold water. Three washes are carried out, in different tanks, for five minutes each. Then you only have to let them dry in a place where they do not get direct light!
This technique is so simple that it allows multiple variants and multiple games, with light, emulsions and exposures! We leave you the complete Wild Stories tutorial to print your favorite photos with this technique.