This past week I spent time redecorating my entryway. Now that it is blue, I needed to find some blue accessories. This was the perfect opportunity to drag out my sunlight prints kit I bought at Barnes and Noble a few years ago. It has sat on my shelf (next to the pinhole camera kit) just waiting to be used. I have never done this before so I was all set to spend the day figuring out a complicated process. Boy was I wrong… It was so easy and it only took about 10 minutes per print from start to finish.
This type of print is called a cyanotype.
an item to make a print of (I learned shells aren’t the best and citrus fruit has to be cut very thin and completely dry) (I used flowers)
light-sensitive paper (mine came with the kit although I would love to know where to find more of it for future use)
cardboard for support to carry it in and out of the sun
a piece of plastic or glass (I used a piece of glass from a picture frame. It just holds everything in place in case the wind blows it but is not necessary for heavier objects)
direct sunlight (I placed mine in my driveway in a sunny spot)
tray of water (I used a baking pan big enough to fit my paper in)
lemon juice ( a few drops to add to the water to help bring out the color)
paper towels to blot dry (I used plain white towels because I didn’t know if the color from decorative ones would bleed)
choose objects to make prints of and figure out how you want to arrange them
take out a sheet of the light-sensitive paper (away from sunlight) and try not to touch it too much with your hands.
place it on the cardboard.
arrange the objects on the paper and place the glass over it to keep it from moving. (I don’t know if all light-sensitive paper is blue, but mine was. The treated side was blue so that is the side you place your objects on)
place this in direct sunlight on a flat surface (cardboard, glass and all)
when the paper looks almost white (again mine started as blue) the exposure is done. This takes about 2 minutes.
Take it out of the sunlight and take the objects off the paper
place the paper in your tray of water. The tray should have enough water to cover the paper and you can add a few drops of lemon juice. (I probably added about a dozen drops and I didn’t change the water from one picture to the next)
Move the tray around a little to make the water move. After a minute or two, take the paper out and place on paper towel
using paper towels, pat dry (mostly dry). find a flat surface (away from sunlight) to dry the paper. The dryer it gets, the darker it will get.
if the paper curls up a little just put between books to flatten when it is dry.
enjoy your piece of art
Above is the cyanotype I liked the best. Below are photos of the kit I used, the flowers during the process, and another cyanotype. Now I’m ready to find some frames!