Cyanotype is a photographic process that was first created for the use of blue prints of buildings. The cyanotype process has remained one of the cheapest way to create a photograph. The Cyanotype cotton squares are a good way to start experimenting with this process. The pack consists of 25, 6’x6’ squares, in a light proof bag so you can get the full potential from each exposure. These can be bought in different colours. All of them have been pre-treated with chemical, ready to be exposed to sunlight and then simply washed. The fabric is high quality, it can be machine washed and also be exposed on both sides of the fabric.  The material is archival, therefore you can keep the picture for years without fading or tearing.  The squares are a simple concept, but do not have limitations when it comes to alternative process. You can imprint just about anything on these squares just by leaving the item on top of the square and exposing it to sunlight.

With items that cannot be permeated by light, this will create a reverse silhouette on the square. The object will be a light lime colour (using lime cotton squares) in detail and the background will become dark, when washed. This only takes 10 to 15 minutes, as the detail of the object cannot be captured. However if you take something that is light permeable, such as a negative, it will have to be left on the light sensitive square for longer to capture the detail. Almost as if you were using the sun, as an enlarger in the darkroom. On a good sunny day you can leave the negative on the square for a couple of hours, depending on how much detail you want to transfer, more light and time, the more detail essentially.img_1184

                                                                                  15 Minute exposure with cuddly toy

You can also use other forms of Ultra Violet light to expose the paper, like a UV box for example if you have access to one. This means you can be more accurate with your readings as you are not dealing with weather variables such as clouds. To receive the detail you require, leave it for 10-15 minutes in a UV box. However make sure to scan your negative first as the box will heat up and slightly fog the negative.

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Negative exposed for 30 minutes

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Negative exposed for 3 hours

Either way you do the process, you will be left with lime coloured picture with many tones from light to dark lime. Giving a ghostly but beautiful feel on a piece of fabric that cannot be captured as easy as this with any other processes. The fabric also has all the potential it did before, and can be used within clothes or even a blanket if enough of them are created.

  • Take fabric out of it’s light proof bag
  • Expose it to ultra violet light, exposure time can vary depending on what item you are exposing, (remember patience is a virtue)
  • Wash the fabric in water
  • Leave to dry
  • Be Creative

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Cyanotype exposed while folded.

By George Drake, Silverprint Ltd.