Tea-toning cyanotypes

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by micek, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. micek

    micek Member

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    I have tried toning cyanotypes with tea with varying degrees of success (or failure). Often, but not always, stains spoil a print that might otherwise been successful. I have tried hot tea, warm and cold, I have tried "stand" toning and have also done it moving the tray without interruption while the print is being toned. I have tried different teas and different papers, but there seems to be no predictability at all as to when a print will be spoilt by a stain or not. Any tips, please?
     
  2. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    Have you tried bleaching the print first?
     
  3. micek

    micek Member

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    Yes, I have tried toning bleached and unbleached prints.
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Sounds like the results I've gotten too. I've tried twice to do this (the best result is posted in my gallery) and have not been able to get something that looked better than the original, however they do smell nice! Admittedly, two attempts doesn't add up to much, but I'm interested in other processes too, so I've not put a lot of effort into it. If I find anything I'll be sure to pass it along.

    - Randy
     
  5. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I've mostly used tannic acid from Bostick & Sullivan rather than tea, and I haven't had blotchy staining. It does impart an even warm tone to the paper base after a while, though.
     
  6. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    Hi Micek,

    My best results have always been from THE worst & cheapest & most disgusting tea available!! Someone once told me that they have more tannic acid in them than the more refined, or tastier & expensive teas. Also, I usually toned in cold tea. My favourite colours to attain are the darkish olive greens. If you don't want the borders to be toned then you can use masking tape (which will come off without tearing the paper).
    David.
     
  7. UKJohn

    UKJohn Subscriber

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    Hi Micek,

    I have recently experimented with tea toning and found the results pretty pleasing.

    I tried two brands of tea:

    i) Sainburys' Red Label, seven bags where placed in a 8" x 10" tray and cold water straight from the tap was added. The bags were left to stew for 10 minutes before removing and adding the Cyanotype. I found that it took about 3 hours to get a desirable stain and I gently agitated every fifteen minutes or so.

    ii) PG Tips Pyramid Bags, again seven bags added but this time I boiled a kettle, let it cool for 5 minutes, then poured straight into the tray. The bags were removed after a couple of minutes once sufficient strength/colour was receached, this of course is subjective. I continuously agitated gently for 10 minutes until the desired effect was achieved.

    I both cases on removing the Cyanotype it was rinsed for a few minutes in running water before hanging to dry. Also, I found that staining occurred quicker if the Cyanotypes were placed face down.

    About a dozen small Cyanotypes have been done this way and as yet I have not had any problems with staining or blotching. Maybe I've just been very lucky...

    The paper used was Somerset Satin.

    Cheers

    John
     
  8. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    I'm no expert but have had some good and repeatable results to my cyanotype images in Tea.

    I use PG tips (Pyramid) bags as does UKJohn. I make mine using 2 bags in 4 mugs of boiling water (approx 700ml). Allow to cool to room temp and then remove the bags. I make 2 solutions together and change halfway through toning as solution goes murky. Agitation is constant for first 5 mins and left to stand after that.
    In my limited experience the key to an even tone and not blotchy staining is to presoak your predried images in clean water for 5 mins before immersing in the tea. And to change the solution when it goes murky with a similar brew.

    Cheers

    Phill
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yellow Lipton's teabags from a sale at the local shop has given me some very good results. My tap water (and thus the tea) is slightly on the acid side, which makes a HUGE difference. Try tea with lemon (a pinch of citric acid)?

    Anyway, the (unbleached) print gave really black shadows, bluegray midtones and pinkish highlights.
     
  10. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    My results match Ole's. I won't drink Lipton, but it's the preferred brew for toning cyanotype. The paper also has some effect (mostly on what you get for a highlight stain). I cold-brew the tea (like making "sun tea" for iced, which is pretty horrible for drinking if you once learn how to make real iced tea), double strength (two bags per cup, brew til pretty darned strong), and stand soak the unbleached prints; I get pretty nearly neutral blacks and gray tones on a slightly tea-colored base. I do notice that some prints I toned in a region with slighty alkaline water have blued a bit more since, so I'd go with acidifying the tea a little, also.
     
  11. micek

    micek Member

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    Thank you all for your replies. I think I'm going to try a combination of presoaking the print and adding lemon to a double solution of Lipton tea.
     
  12. jimread

    jimread Member

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    I have been doing Cyanotypes for a number of years, having got the formula out of the 1947 BJP Almanac, I quite like the way a print appears in the wash water and the simplicity of the process.

    I have also visited this thread quite a number of times.

    I have a copy of Malin Fabbri's book Blueprint to Cyanotypes and found out about toning them a few weeks ago and have been experimenting ever since. Initially I used tea, Tetley and Yorkshire and at first only got rather yeuky and muddy prints.

    I then obtained some Tannin from the local homebrew shop and have been able to get tones from black through to a nice warm brown, and I've been able to keep the highlights reasonably light.

    Interestingly I seem to be able to tone in much less time than I read about, I kept seeing hours when I find I can do it in minutes. I've just done one and decided to do it as black as I could get it. I bleached for about 1 minute in washing soda, 1/4 teaspoon in 1.2 litre and then toned in Tannin 20 grams to 1 litre for 9 mins. the paper I used for this one is Canson 'Montval'.

    Some years ago I put a 1/2 a Cyanotype print on a window cill and in two days it had faded, some parts of it going yellow, it did not recover in the dark either.

    On Friday morning the 16th June I put 1/2 an old Tea toned print, one of the muddy ones in the same place. This time of year the window cill gets full sun after lunch. I've just been upstairs (10:00 pm) to have a look and to compare it with the 'good' half and its fine.

    I will post again as soon as something happens or a week passes.

    Regards - Jim Read
     
  13. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Jim
    Can you elaborate on the homebrew shop and what tannin did they have available etc?
    Cheers
    Phill
     
  14. jimread

    jimread Member

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    Dear Phil,

    The shop is called; Hall Green Homebrew. 23 Redstone Farm Road. Hall Green. Birmingham. B28 9NU. 0121 777 4835

    The tannin, dashes upstairs to get some, is called Young's Wine Tannin, made by Youngs Ubrew, in Tipton, www.youngsubrew.co.uk and costs 95p for 50grams. The label states that it adds zest and helps to preserve your wine.

    I've had some diluted in a container for a month now and no sign of it going mouldy unlike the tea.

    You can see some of my prints at;
    http://www.jrbham.btinternet.co.uk/index.html

    Regards - Jim
     
  15. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Jim

    Thanks for the info. I will try and pick some up locally. Out of interest how do you use it. Is it very different from Tea>

    Cheers

    Phill

    PS you work is excellent, i'd like to see some in person
     
  16. jimread

    jimread Member

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    Dear Phill,

    I think its a bit cleaner than tea the paper doesn't get so stained, not that I mind it doing so, adds to the ambience of the print I think and in the window cill test (where did the posts go to!!??) the paper doesn't go as yellow, I have noticed that in certain lights one can see a yellowing though it doesn't show up in the scans.

    For Canson Montval and Somerset Velvet I used 20 grams in 1 ltr and for Fabriano 5 and Fabriano Artistico 5 grams in 1 ltr. I also tried 5 tea bags (Yorkshire) well brewed in 1/2 ltr + 10 grams Tannin also in 1/2 ltr but this went mouldy in a couple of weeks, Poooooh yeuk!! ( though of course it may be the weather)

    What I have found with the Tannin is more cinsistent results and can aim for what I want in the way of warmth and colder tones by varying the bleach times.

    You would be welcome to see some prints if ever you are in Birmingham, it's a long way to the A14 and as for getting past Cambridge well, not to mention the (inevitable)crash on the M6! I used to be a rep for an engineering co and used to call in Thetford occasionally, always a late night return that day.

    Regards - Jim