Dare to Try a New Technique: Cyanotype

Because magic always happens when we step out of our comfort zone, we challenged DeSerres collaborator Chloé Comte with a DIY project using a mystery product. Discover this project that will have you seeing life in many shades of beautiful blue.
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We invited Chloé Comte to complete a DIY project from A to Z using a mystery product.
Through this experience, Chloé discovered a technique she had never tried before – and she loved it!
Check out all the steps to her creation as she experimented with the cyanotype technique for the very first time : an antique photographic process distinctive for its Prussian blue monochrome prints.

Technique by: Chloé Comte

Chloe Comte - DIY - Design


MATERIALS:

- DIY cyanotype kit (paper)
- Piece of glass or Plexiglas
- Water
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Clothes pegs
- Metal ruler
- Wooden gallery boards (8 x 10 in)
- White foam board
- Hot glue
- Thick cardboard
- Double-sided tape
- Cutting mat
- Precision knife
- 3M board tape

STEPS:

Creating cyanotypes:

Please read the instructions provided in the kit to fully understand the process.

Protect the surface you are going to work on so as not to stain it (chemicals can stain surfaces and skin).
In order to create cyanotypes with irregular edges, I tore the provided watercolour paper by hand using a ruler.

Wear gloves and fill the A1 and B bottles with water according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Once the products are ready, make your mixture in the measuring cup, stirring well with the wooden stick. You can make a lot of cyanotypes with very little product. Do not prepare too much in advance, because once the two solutions are mixed, the product cannot be reused. Then, pour the mixture into the cup.



Using the foam brush, apply the product to the watercolour paper sheets (in a shaded room, without direct sunlight). You can fill the entire sheet, or opt for an irregular outline. Once the product has been applied to the sheet, let it dry well away from light.


Store your coated papers in a dark place before using them!
Under a piece of glass, and in direct sunlight, place a printed transparent paper or object on your paper. Protect your artwork with a sheet of glass or Plexiglas to hold it in place. Let the magic happen for at least 10-15 minutes in direct sunlight.


Once exposure time is over, soak your "printed" sheet in a shady corner in a first water bath.

Once the water has turned yellow, replace it.

To obtain a more pronounced blue, add one or two drops of hydrogen peroxide to this second bath. Soak your cyanotype well by gently stirring the tray.

Finish with a final clear water bath and hang your cyanotype to dry.




Creating display boxes for your cyanotypes:


In order to display your cyanotypes, and to give them depth and relief, Chloé suggests creating boxes using wood panels, foam board and rigid cardboard.

Cut the rigid cardboard so that it is slightly smaller than the cyanotype and disappears completely behind it.

To make your work pop out of the frame, cut foam board strips as wide as you want to place the cyanotypes in the wood panels.



Use hot glue to create a frame using the foam board strips on the back of the cardboard.

Mount your cyanotypes to your cardboard with double-sided tape.

Use hot glue to mount your artwork in the centre of your wood panels.



To hang your frames on a wall, you can use Command 3M picture hanging strips, which can easily be repositioned without damaging your wall.



And there you have it, your own vintage yet modern, herbarium-inspired gallery using the cyanotype technique!