I created a basic digital negative of one of my photos, and using a Photographer’s Formulary liquid cyanotype kit, made my first cyanotype. Using Arches Cover (Arches Velin) white uncoated paper. I brushed the emulsion on, let it dry, then used a very basic sandwich for exposure to the sun.  All I used was a 11×14 frame, took the glass and cardboard backing out, then used some spring clips around the outside.

Exposure to UV was kind of hit-or-miss as the late Winter sun was going in and out of clouds. I timed it to about 8 minutes, which might have been a tad too long. Also my choice of photos probably could have been better, as the photo is pretty subtle, and it seems cyanotypes like contrasty negatives.

A first photo, quite soon after washing, so the cyanotype has not gotten its characteristic blue color yet.

Soon after original wash, iPhone shot.
Soon after original wash, iPhone shot.

Once the cyanotype was exposed to air for a while, it developed the characteristic blue color.  Also the highlights seem to have popped quite a bit as well.

After exposure to air for about 10 hours, iPhone shot
After exposure to air for about 10 hours, iPhone shot

I liked that I could do this printing process completely at my house without having a dedicated darkroom.  I coated the emulsion in a bathroom with a low-wattage incandescent light bulb, used the sun for UV, and development was with plain water.  Also from what I have read in Peter Mrhar “Cyanotype”, there are lots of options for bleaching using washing soda, toning with other natural things like coffee, black or green tea, oak bark, tannic acid, etc.  There is another technique using cyanotype, gelatin, to coat glass, similar to coating for wet-collodion or hand-coated silver-gelatin glass plates.

All-in-all a very versatile technique.

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