Cyan­otype In­ten­si­fy­ing Process

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The blue color of a fully de­vel­oped cyan­otype will be deep­ened in the in­ten­si­fy­ing process, and hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide, cit­ric acid, lemon juice or vine­gar can be used as the ac­ti­vat­ing agent. In ad­di­tion to in­ten­si­fy­ing the hue, these prod­ucts can also be used to shorten the de­vel­op­ing time.

Step 1: Pour dis­tilled wa­ter and 1–2 tea­spoons of hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide into shal­low pan and mix well.

Step 2: Place exposed cyan­otype in per­ox­ide bath face­down and agi­tate by gen­tly tap­ping on pa­per through wa­ter; the goal is to keep the wa­ter mov­ing.

Step 3: Af­ter de­sired shade of blue is reached, rinse print face­down in pan un­der run­ning wa­ter for 2–5 min­utes to stop col­or­in­ten­si­fy­ing process.

Step 4: Lay print flat to dry on pa­per or cloth towel; blue will con­tinue to deepen as it dries.

Step 5: When com­pletely dry, re­move any warp­ing by putting print be­neath stack of books overnight or by iron­ing on low heat (Photo 7).

Cyan­otype Ton­ing Process

Ton­ing is a two-step process that al­ters the ac­tual hue of the print. First, the re­duc­ing process is used to leech the blue color from the cyan­otype, and then the print is im­mersed in a se­cond bath, which changes the for­merly blue ar­eas to brown, black or pur­ple, de­pend­ing on the agent used. Two pop­u­lar and con­ve­nient ton­ing agents are black tea and cof­fee.

Step 1: Fol­low steps for Cyan­otype Re­duc­ing Process but do not al­low it to dry.

Step 2: Brew black tea us­ing mul­ti­ple tea bags and boil­ing wa­ter; al­low the tea to steep for at least 20 min­utes. Use tea as is or di­lute with wa­ter (more wa­ter equals lighter color). Al­ter­na­tively, add 5–6 tea­spoons of in­stant cof­fee to one cup of boil­ing wa­ter; mix well. Add mixture to 11/2 quarts of tepid wa­ter.

Step 3: Sub­merge wet print in a tea/cof­fee bath for at least 30 min­utes—the longer the soak, the darker the re­sult.

Step 4: Once print is de­sired color, re­move from tea/ cof­fee bath and sub­merge in dis­tilled wa­ter bath for 10 min­utes to re­move ex­cess tan­nins.

Step 5: Rinse print un­der run­ning wa­ter for 3–5 min­utes.

Step 6: Place print flat on towel to dry (Photo 8).

Color Em­bel­lish­ing

A cyan­otype can look fab­u­lous just as it is, or it can be dec­o­rated with col­ored pen­cils, ink, mark­ers, paint or pas­tels. The light ar­eas are per­fect for col­or­ing and will re­ceive most hues with­out cloud­ing. The dark ar­eas are dif­fi­cult to com­pletely cover un­less the medium pro­vides opaque cov­er­age or is darker than the cyan­otype it­self (Photo 9).

Cyan­otypes can be de­vel­oped and em­bel­lished in many more ways than shown here, but the ba­sic pro­cesses of re­duc­ing, in­ten­si­fy­ing and ton­ing are great new ways to play in the sun while adding fresh tech­niques to your bag of cre­ative tricks! •

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