Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2016

Hello Cyanotype, meet Hydrogen Peroxide

You've exposed your cyanotype print and it just looks weird. You put it in a tray of water, and it looks better after a while, but still not all that wonderful. You dry it and wait three days for it to oxidize, or you could do something really fun: drop it into a tray of water with a little hydrogen peroxide. Be sure so say "Bam!"

Cyanotypes: What we've learned

Success! After a year of crazy-making problems, we think we're there. We may not be perfect, but we are functional. Here are a few things we changed along the way.
We are using the Photographers Formulary New Cyanotype Kit. We ground and mixed the chemicals. It all seems to work. We did have better results adding more citric acid than the few drops the instructions recommend. When we only added a little we got yellow stains.
We tried coating with a glass rod, but we never seemed to get enough emulsion on the paper. Also, we tended to get horizontal stripes where the subtle change in pressure of the rod affected the thickness of the emulsion. Perhaps it's the paper we used. Even though it uses more chemistry, we had better results with a sponge brush. After we decided that we wanted more emulsion, we tried applying one thick coat versus two thin coats. Two thin coats (the nail-polish system, as Jaime calls it) worked better. We allowed the first coat to nearly dry, than added …

Cyanotype Success at last

I think we're on the right road at last. We've made several changes to get to this point. Using the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 helped. It's the first printer that didn't fight us every step of the way with software issues, density problems, refusal to feed transparency material and clogged jets.

Having a printer we could trust let us get our adjustment curves closer to right than they've ever been.

We also made a few changes to our procedure. We gave up on coating with a rod. We just couldn't get the dark blue we wanted. Now we use a sponge brush. We coat, dry a while and coat again. It may use more chemistry, but it seems to be working.

We had a mental breakthrough on drying coated paper as well. We'd been letting it sit, but today we hung it on a line. It dried with less puddling, and a lot more quickly as well.

We'd been using a small contact frame. It worked, but it meant we could only expose one sheet at a time. We liberated a flat board, found some fo…

The joy of test grids and new printers

We were so excited to have the Epson CX 7400 as a replacement for the Epson 1270. Excited until we went to use it for the second time and discovered that the black wouldn't print any longer. We ran head cleaner, we tried the Windex on the paper towel trick . It just wasn't going to work.
Heroic Eric™ came through with a different printer. A wonderful Epson Stylus Pro 3800. We were thrilled to have yet another printer to calibrate. But this time, much to our amazement, it went well and seems to have worked. We have our best test grid results so far. Here's hoping that translates to actual prints soon.