As Summer wanes, I thought it may be fun to soak up some sun by making Cyanotype Prints! This method of "printing" is an easy and striking way to capture your nature collection. This is a great project for kids, but it's just as fun for adults. It can be done rather quickly on a sunny day, making it conducive to short attention spans.
Begin by hunting for natural materials. Look for leaves, feathers, sticks, bones, or anything that might have an interesting shape. The items don't have to be flat, but flatness does produce a crisper print.
Cyanotype paper is light-sensitive, and must be kept wrapped in darkness until you are ready to make your print.
Once you have your collection ready, lay your paper on top of a firm surface like cardboard. Arrange your items into a satisfying composition, careful to not overlap.
Then, you can place the accompanying acrylic sheet on top of the entire blueprint sandwich to keep the floaty items, like feathers, from flying away in the wind.
Make sure there is solid sun exposure with no shadows, and then you wait 1 - 5 minutes depending on how much sun is shining. The paper will change to a lighter blue as it is exposed to the sun.
After the blue has faded, remove all of the items and rinse paper in cold water for about a minute. You can add lemon juice to a tray of water if you wish to achieve a darker blue. (I did not do this). Then dry your print in the sun on a paper towel. The blue will deepen as it drys creating an x-ray effect.
The directions say that you can flatten your print under books. You could also cut it up for use in a collage, or cover a homemade book, or paste into your nature journal. I'm thinking of using the print as a basis for a textile design. Let me know if you have tried making cyanotypes and what your experience with it has been!
Speaking of textile design, Pat and I installed the wallpaper that I designed via Spoonflower, in the cottage bedroom. This is the removable wallpaper that acts like a giant sticker. So, it will be easy to pull down when we get tired of it, or repaint the room or whatever. It was fairly easy to install, but I think it helps to achieve zen before beginning hanging your paper. They should add that to the instructions. Let's just say, I am glad that we only had a small wall to try this out. Anyway, Spoonflower also included a handy scraper to eliminate bubbles. All in all, I would do it again to achieve a statement wall. What do you think?
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.