Exploring Photography with Kids: Cyanotype

Hi Parents! This week we are exploring photography with kids. Today we have links to learn all about Cyanotype!

Cyanotype is one of the first methods of photography. It uses a light sensitive paper. You can place objects on top of the paper (which is blue) to create a negative shape (white) of your object. It works really well with natural elements such as leaves, flowers or feathers but you can also use cut out paper shapes, string, small toys, letter magnets, beads, or whatever you please!

Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. (Wikipedia)

Here are instructions and some examples of different things to use for your cyanotype:


We recently discovered this beautiful children’s book where the artist Julie Völk uses the cyanotype technique for her illustrations:


Julie Völk

You can find the paper at Modular or order it online here:


(or of course on Amazon)

You can also create CYANOTYPE ON FABRIC:

Check out these really cool examples on fabric here:


You can order fabric that has the chemicals already on it: https://monochrom.com/sonstiges/foto-analog/cyanotypie-stoffboegen

Or make your own:

Here are the chemicals you would need: https://www.frischgeschnitten.com/Farben/cyanotypie-set-blaudruck-stoff-holz.html

Note: Cyanotype is non-toxic and does not present any significant health risk or danger. That said, care should always be taken to avoid ingestion, inhalation and contact with skin when handling the cyanotype chemicals and fabrics.

Here are the instructions on how to use them:

In a very low lit room, mix components A and B with ratio 1:1. Only mix as much as you need, as the chemicals only last for 2-4 hours. Coat the surface of the fabric with the solution and let it dry in the dark. You can do two coats if you want the color to be more intensive. You can also just dunk the fabric into the solution and then hang it up to dry.

Place the object or objects you want on the fabric and them leave it in sunlight for 1-30 minutes depending on intensity of the light. Rinse with cold water for at least 5 minutes until the water runs clear.  The oxidation period will develop the blue color. To accelerate the process, you can bathe the material in diluted Hydrogen Peroxide solution, and then rinse again with water. Hang to dry or leave on newspapers. If you do not use the hydrogen peroxide method, it will continue to develop over the next 24 hours or so.

The fabric can later be washed by hand using a non-phosphate soap.

Please Note: We are not paid to advertise and cannot attest to the reliability or quality of the products offered.

Send us pictures if you try this out at home or a message if you have any other tips or tricks! Be sure to follow us for more fun posts to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s