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Cyanotype Prints: An Easy Photography Project


Cyanotype photography is a simple and fun camera-less technique for creating wonderfully striking prints. It requires UV light so is a perfect activity to do in spring or summer on a sunny day.

Cyanotype photography

My daughter Sofia is doing art GCSE and is always exploring different mediums. We were introduced to cyanotype photography by my uncle who uses this technique – amongst others – to create wonderful art works. It involves laying an object on cyanotype paper (paper pre-coated with an iron salt solution, which is pretty cheap to buy), before exposing it to UV light.

5 easy steps to creating cyanotype masterpieces

Step one

Head outside and collect any interesting things you find. We’ve so far stuck with flowers and leaves that have eye-catching shapes. 

Step two


Indoors away from direct sunlight, remove your cyanotype paper and arrange the object/s on top.

Step three


Place a plate of glass carefully over the top. We used the glass out of an old picture frame. You don’t have to do this but it flattens the object for a crisper end result and helps prevent movement.

Step four

The paper turns blue as it exposes

Leave in sunlight for three-to-five minutes on a clear sunny day and up to 20 minutes if it’s overcast. When the paper turns a mid-to-dark blue it’s ready. It is not an exact science and we’ve had a couple that are slightly over- or under-exposed. Experimentation is the name of the game.

Step five

Remove the object/s and rinse under the tap for several minutes to remove all of the chemicals. The print will become darker. Then just leave to dry. Easy!

Cyanotype prints

A few of Sofia’s efforts below. As you can see, these have had different exposure times. It’s fun creating different effects and there isn’t really a right or wrong. Enjoy the process!

If you want to experiment further, you can coat your own paper, card or even material with a cyanotype chemical mix. This is next on the to do list.


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

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