I previously had done some bleaching and tea toning and didn’t really like the results, but it is always fun to re-explore techniques with some modifications. I made some rather overexposed cyanotypes, where I had double-coated Arches Cover Velin.

I used some of my digital negatives from my ziatype workshop way back when and since I knew this would be for experimenting, I took a couple of the harder ones from that group.

FIrst up, Maddy from a steampunk shoot at a trolley museum. I exposed this for an hour, added a bit of hydrogen peroxide to the rinse water, and got a very deep blue print.

Cyano Steampunk, double-coated, 1hr, morning sun
Cyano Steampunk, double-coated, 1hr, morning sun

I then bleached the print using Washing Soda, 11g in a liter of water. I only bleached it back partial so that I could see more of the detail in the shadow areas and retained some of the deep blue. I then used some cheap black tea, 6 tea bags to a liter of water. I then let it soak for a while and checked it about 15 minutes. After an hour, I liked the way it looked with a bit of brownish-pink highlights. The scan doesn’t exactly capture the subtle colors.


I also used the Goodspeed Opera House shot, but I didn’t scan the darker cyanotype. On this one, I tried to keep the blue color by only bleaching the lower the section and the building, keeping the blue in the sky. Unfortunately, I had my thumb on the left upper corner, so it kind of looks a 2nd sun. Ah well.


Fun experiments though.