Tutorial: My variation of the Cyanotype process

I’ve been trying out some new techniques lately and here is one of them. This might not be the exact way to do this technically but it works for me. I plan on doing a new series in large format, so for now experimenting and having fun creating small pieces is all part of the process.

Materials needed

- Transparency film for ink jet printers (I used 3M brand)

- Brush, 2” works well

- Water color paper, acid free, and natural materials, synthetics don’t work as the chemicals can react to each other (any brand or weight will do, whatever is on sale)

- Plexi glass, or reugular glass, (old picture frame come in handy for this)

- Clothes pins

- The Chemicals

to just get up and running quickly I bought the basic kit

but you can mix your own, buying in bulk to save money, I plan on doing this as I move forward.

You need two chemicals:

100 ml water and 25g green ferric ammonium citrate is mixed together.

100 ml water and 10g potassium ferricyanide is mixed in a separate container.

The two solutions are then mixed in equal parts.

- extra containers for mixing and storage, I like to use glass Mason jars but anything will do.

- safty glasses and gloves, although these chemicals are not too toxic it’s still better to keep it safe.

the process.

Give your self some space to work, and wear gloves and eye protection. The process is really pretty simple.

1. Create/ scan image into Photoshop, Invert image to create a negative. Black on the film becomes white in final print.

2. Print out image on ink jet or toner printer.

1. Mix Chemicals 1 to 1.

To make the active chemicals simply mix equal quantities of both solutions.

3. Coat the paper, evenly, I like to use a good regular house paint brush. After coating let dry in a dark spot, I like to hang the sheets using cloths pins. It takes a while for paper to dry so leave it over night or spedd up the process with a hair dryer.

The coated paper is now ready for exposure. the great thing about this process it that it’s only sensitive to UV light, so you can work under regular house hold lighting, no need to worry about special bulbs.

4. Exposing

First i taped the coated sheet to a piece of plexy glass, you can use any flat surface, next I taped the negative on top of watercolor paper, and then sandwiched another piece of plexy glass on top, using clamps to hold secure.

next I simply placed the “sandwiched” negiteive in the the Sun, for exposure. You can she the paper start to change color, turning from tanish yellow to a more grey, blue, wait about 10-20 minutes, take a break and go make a coffee.

once it is slate grey, place another sheet of paper, or cover quickly and bring inside.


Now simply rinse in your bathtub or sink. This washing removes chemicals not yet exposed and starts the oxidizing process of chemicals, which brings out the blue color.

Continue washing until the white areas are all white, removing any yellow residue.

5. Drying.

Hang it up to dry, out of any sunlight, the image will continue to deepen and process into a deep Prussian blue.

let dry overnight, and thats it, a very simple fast process, I wasn’t totally happy with the results of this image, I was trying to create a sparkle water effect from one of my photo’s, this one was a bit too abstract, but this is part of the creative process as I will try another image!

that's it!


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