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How to make Cyanotype Prints


(Toning instructions below)

Step 1  Choose your design. Your design choices are nearly endless, both in the type of object you choose to print and in the scale or size of the object you choose to print.

Here are some great ideas that might trigger some even better ideas for you to create beautiful Cyanotype prints: Flowers & leaves (either real or silk), photo-negatives (please call if you want to learn how to turn a photograph into a negative), drawings on clear transparency film, people and found objects like buttons, safety pins or feathers. Other ideas include string, lace, beach glass and just about anything else you can image!

Step 2   Remove CYANOTYPE Material from package. In room light, away from sunny windows, remove your Cyanotype Material from its light-safe black bag. If you are outside, remove your Cyanotype Material its light-safe black bag in the shade. Keep unused Cyanotype Material safely sealed in its black bag and stored it in a cool dark place until you are ready to use it.

  • If your Cyanotype Cotton or Silk is wrinkled, it can be safely ironed using the matching setting. Do Not Use Steam.

Step 3   Lay and arrange your design. Lay and arrange your design on to your Cyanotype Material. The area where you lay your design will block the sunlight and will remain white and the exposed area will become blue, once rinsed in water. If printing on colored Cyanotype Material, the design area will remain that color and the exposed area will become blue.

  • If you are printing a mural (a large piece of Cyanotype Paper or Cotton) you can easily lay out your Cyanotype Material directly outside and then quickly lay and arrange you design.
Tips: To secure your design you can either:
  1. Clip your design into a printing frame (different sizes available on our website).
  2. Pin or tape your design down.
  3. Lay a piece of Plexiglas over your design.
  4. Just leave it unsecured.

Step 4   Expose in the sun. Take your Cyanotype Material with your design on it outside to expose in the sun. If it isn’t a sunny day, there is still UV light outside. It will just take a longer exposure time to get the best results. Making a test print is a recommended step so you can know for sure what your final print will look like.

There are also UV light box units available on the market that can be used instead of the sun for consistency and convenience.

Please call us if you are interested in learning more about where to purchase a UV Light box.

Exposure times: 5-20 minutes

Time Printing Chart
20 minutes  
10 minutes  
5 minutes  

Step 5  Remove your design. After exposing your print, bring print inside and remove your design.

Step 6   Rinse in water. Rinse you print in water until the water looks clear (approx.. 5 minutes). You can also choose to rinse your print outside using a water hose, a bucket of water or a lake or in the ocean.

The goal is to rinse the areas where your design was placed to wash off any unexposed Cyanotype treatment.

You will notice immediately that your print will come “alive”. The design area will become bright and the exposed area will become a striking cyan-blue.

Tips:To speed up the developing process, drizzle or spray some hydrogen peroxide onto your print after you’ve rinsed it. You will see an amazing reaction. Your print will immediately brighten in the light areas and darken in the blue areas. Then rinse one more time in water. Your print can reach this rich intensity without using hydrogen peroxide. Just wait in 24 hours and it will oxidize naturally.

  • To dry your Cyanotype Paper print, blot dry between two paper towels.
  • To dry your Cyanotype Cotton or Silk print, either hang up to dry or dry in a clothes dryer.


Make a Yellow Print

To tone your blue print to yellow, soak your blue print in a solution of 1 gallon of water and 2-3 Tablespoons of TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate), a powdered soap found in hardware stores. Some laundry detergents contain phosphates and can be used. Let your blue print soak in this solution for 5 minutes. The blue will change to yellow. Remove your yellow print from the phosphate solution and rinse it in water for 2-3 minutes. Beautiful Yellow!

Make a Sepia Print

To tone your yellow print to sepia, soak your yellow print in brewed black tea (5-6 tea bags: 6 cups water). The more tea bags you use the darker your print will appear. Stir your print occasionally then move your print and rinse in water briefly. Beautiful Sepia!