Sun Prints for Cards Cyan­otype De­vel­op­ing

CardMaker - - Sun Prints For Cards - By Deb­o­rah Nolan Ba­sic Cyan­otype Process

Sum­mer is the time to play in the sun—so what’s more fit­ting for a card maker than to make a sea­sonal card that lit­er­ally brings the sun into the cre­ative process? A cyan­otype, or sun print, al­lows you to take pictures with­out a cam­era, and if pre­made cyan­otype pa­per is used, you won’t even have to mix chem­i­cals to de­velop your masterpiece! Typ­i­cally, cyan­otypes are made with found ob­jects—leaves, flow­ers, feath­ers, keys— any­thing that has an in­ter­est­ing sil­hou­ette. Most pa­per crafters have many in­ter­est­ing sil­hou­ettes in the form of die cuts, so rather than make projects with nature, why not uti­lize what’s in the stu­dio?

The cyan­otype process is so sim­ple a child can do it; as a mat­ter of fact, mak­ing sun prints is a ter­rific, kid­friendly ac­tiv­ity and a way to in­volve young­sters in mak­ing cards. Cyan­otype pa­per can be man­u­fac­tured at home by ap­ply­ing iron salts to water­color pa­per, or it can be pur­chased pre­made. Both work the same way: The sun’s ul­tra­vi­o­let rays re­act with the iron salts, turn­ing the exposed pa­per pale blue while the pa­per be­neath the ob­ject re­mains un­changed. The cyan­otype print is then im­mersed in wa­ter to re­move the non­re­ac­tive iron salts. The end re­sult is a dra­matic white im­age on a deep blue back­ground.

Al­though typ­i­cally blue in color, there are three tech­niques used to achieve va­ri­ety in a cyan­otype’s ap­pear­ance: re­duc­ing, in­ten­si­fy­ing and ton­ing. Cyan­otypes can also be fur­ther em­bel­lished by stamp­ing and/or col­or­ing with a va­ri­ety of medi­ums.

Se­lect an item with an in­ter­est­ing sil­hou­ette. Step 2: As­sem­ble “print bun­dle” in this or­der: card­board base, cyan­otype pa­per with blue side up, die cut or other ob­ject and clear acrylic sheet. Se­cure bun­dle with bull­dog clips to keep ev­ery­thing flat and to pre­vent shift­ing (Photo 1).

Step 3: Place bun­dle out­side in un­fil­tered sun­light for 2–20 min­utes, de­pend­ing on strength of light. A bright, sunny day at high noon takes less than five min­utes; an over­cast day or wan­ing sun­light may re­quire as much as 20 min­utes. Ex­po­sure is com­plete when pa­per fades to pale blue (Photo 2).

Step 4: Dis­as­sem­ble bun­dle; re­move ob­ject to re­veal deep blue sil­hou­ette. This is the cyan­otype in its neg­a­tive state (Photo 3).

Step 6: Lay print flat to dry on a pa­per or cloth towel; the blue will con­tinue to deepen as it dries.

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

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