Cyanotype

Cyanotype is a photographic technique that is developed in water.  It was originally used to print blue prints from drawings on thin paper.

You will need:

  • Cynotype paper
  • A collection of objects, these can be natural or manufactured but should have strong shapes to them.
  • Transparencies and markers (optional)
  • A water bath big enough for your paper
  • A sunny, sheltered spot

Have the girls collect some natural objects (I’ve sometimes done this craft at the end of a hike) or you can have a collection of manufactured objects already.  Leaves, sticks, feathers,  keys, buttons and other items with strong profiles work well.  You want items that will sit flat against the paper and create a distinctive outline.

If you want to use transparencies, the girls can write their name or another message on it with the markers.  This should go under any objects being included in the print.

Have them plan out their design before they get the paper out of it’s protective wrapping.  You will get the best results if you work quickly. You can place a piece of clear glass over the objects to prevent wind from shifting them.

Once the girls have placed their items on the cynotype paper it needs to be placed in bright sunlight until it turns white.  This will take between a minute and 10 minutes depending on how bright the sun is that day.

After the paper has turned white, quickly place it in the water.  For distinct prints you want the time between removing the objects and placing the paper in the water bath to be as short as possible.  After a minute or so in the water the white areas on the print will turn blue and the blue areas will turn white.  Then you can remove the paper and set it somewhere flat to dry.

There are two major manufactures of cynotype paper for crafts: Sunprints and Sunart.  They are often available from science and/or educational stores or can be purchased online.

 

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