Experimenting with Cyanotype

Chris and I went up North for a few days rest and to visit some good friends. We were so excited by the invitation and grateful to get away from the store for a bit. For something fun to do, or in case of rain, we brought up a Cyanotype kit that we have been selling lots of from Jacquard and were curious to try ourselves.

Everyone seemed keen to try it out and we brought up a few yards of cotton muslin to use with it. I ripped pieces the size of a tea towel for each of us with a few small pieces left over. I was a little unsure of all the chemistry and steps involved in making a cyanotype print, but it turned out to be fairly simple and straightforward, just some sound planning and reading the instructions a couple of times.

Here’s what we did and how it turned out for us!

First we presented the idea, read the instructions and started planning what sort of things we wanted to print in the sun. We filled each of the two bottles in the kit, with water (not too too full) and shook them up until they were both well mixed. These sat for 24 hours to cure.

We did not want to mix our solution in drinking glasses, so came up with a plan to cut the top off of an old water bottle and use the top of the water bottle (with the cap on) as our measure and the bottom half of the water bottle as our solution jar.

We waited until the next evening with low light to prep our fabric, with equal parts from both A and B jar in our solution jar. With a small 1 1/2 inch wide house painting brush, we brushed the solution on the fabric on top of a garbage bag on the dining room table. We were a bit nervous of spilling and putting chemistry where we would eat, so took lots of precautions to be safe and clean. (We looked it up when we got home, and it turns out to be non-toxic!)

Once our fabric was painted with the solution, we put them in the bathroom cupboard where it is dark, to dry. Once the fabrics are dried, you are ready to go. We had been thinking and planning a bit about this while our solution cured and then while the fabric dried. I was looking forward to using lily pads and flowers on mine.

It was sunny the next day, but a bit windy, so we decided to take the glass top off the coffee table and use it to hold our materials down on the fabric. We went one by one gathering all the materials we wanted to use and then got our fabric from it’s dark cupboard, put it inside our cooler where it is dark and brought it down to the dock to make the crafty magic happen.

Initially the fabric appeared bright green, which was alarming at first but we just worked with it and it did not mean anything as the green disappeared after the sun exposure.

All items were arranged on top of the spread out fabric (you can use paper as well) then glass on top (not necessary but it was windy). Then you wait for up to 30 minutes.



We then put some lake water in the cooler and rinsed our cloth in there, dumping the coloured water into the woods.

The results were great! We used lily pads, pine cones, spruce branches, ash leaves and just to be different (‘not a hippy’ he said), one friend used all his fishing lures, rod and net to create his unique cloth.  It was a busy day of us each taking our turn with the glass and watching the finished results appear. Success was enjoyed by all. We sewed all the plant pieces together to make a long door panel for our hosts' bedroom door and the fishing cloth was put away to show off when he went fishing.

I highly recommend this activity!


Here are some other awesome results to check out by more experienced artists.

https://www.instagram.com/kevin.rose.schultz/

https://www.instagram.com/juliawhitneybarnes/

https://www.instagram.com/dikalphoto/

https://www.instagram.com/clairecartwright.studio/

Or explore for yourself to see more amazing creations!

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/jacquardcyanotype/

Or for a brief look at the history of the process:

http://www.alternativephotography.com/cyanotype-history-john-herschels-invention/

Cyanotype

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