Tracy’s cyanotypes

I created some cyanotype prints at an online workshop, run by Rachel at ‘I Printed That’, a studio in Rochester where she runs cyanotype, linocutting and screen printing workshops. As there are no actual face-to-face sessions at the moment, Rachel is hosting them online and I found it easy to log in and follow the 20 minute session. The next online cyanotype workshop is in August and you can buy the papers through her website at, where I paid £7.06 for 5 round sheets of paper.

Cyanotypes were first created in 1842 and are still popular today. Objects of your choice, but preferably quite flat, are placed on paper impregnated with chemicals. The objects are held down on the paper, in my case with a sheet of glass and some pegs, then exposed to UV light outside. I exposed the papers for 7 minutes in direct sunlight, but on cloudy days the exposure can take up to 30 minutes apparently.

After exposure I removed the objects and you could see the outlines. The paper was then washed in cold water to remove the chemicals and to fix the image. I was very pleased with the images I created, but the faeries were really fast and quite difficult to catch! ;o)

I had created 2 more images the evening before, using paper from a friend who bought the rectangular shaped cyanotype papers online. You can see where I accidentally moved some grass part way through the 10 minute exposure, leaving a much lighter shape. The final picture is an actual cyanotype created in 1853 and which featured in a photography magazine this month.

6 thoughts on “Tracy’s cyanotypes

    • The paper is always blue, which is why they are called cyanotypes, from the word ‘cyan’. Derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘kyanos’, meaning dark blue.
      Mine are a deep navy blue as they were exposed to a lot of UV light in direct bright sunlight. Apparently if the paper is exposed on a cloudy day there is less UV so the blue will be a lighter tone.

  1. I’d never heard of this Tracy but it’s very interesting. I’d love to see them ‘in the flesh’ so to speak. Very imaginative to think of using keys and aren’t you lucky to have faeries at the bottom of your garden. It must be a magical place!

    • I’ve seen cyanotypes before but I didn’t realise the paper could be bought online and all they needed was UV light. It was fun to do but over quickly! I shall bring them to the art group for you to see.
      I let the faeries go straight away and they’ve gone back to the bottom of my garden ;o)

  2. These are lovely. I took my kids to a free work shop a few years ago at the Rochester Visitor Centre where we all produced pictures using this method. We produced some fairly decent pictures – I’m not sure if we still have them. I had forgotten all about it until I saw your post. I love the fairy picture!

    • That sounds a fun workshop that you and your daughters did. I’d like to see your pictures if you ever find them. The faeries didn’t mind being squished for a few minutes, they were very patient!

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