Toning with Tea

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by wm blunt, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    This one is probably for Kerik. Toning with tea sounds interesting but what about the archival qualities ( with or without sweetener). Wondering if this is something that has been done thru the years or just recently.
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Staining with tea has been done for a long time, and I don't think the "archivality" shold suffer much.

    The only process I know of where tea works as a toner is cyanotypes, where I believe archival qualities might in fact be improved.
     
  3. Brook

    Brook Member

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    How does the color change from toning with tea?
     
  4. maxby

    maxby Member

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    Here is an example of a tea stained photo that I did for my daughter. I have used a strong chinese tea and immersed the FB print in it for 15min. Hope this helps

    Tea stained photo
     
  5. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Toning with tea is not actually toning. Instead, it is a form of staining.

    In "toning", the color of the silver image is changed. In "staining", the color of the paper is changed.

    For examples of tea staining, check out Tom Baril's flower book - I think it was called "Botanicals".
     
  6. Brook

    Brook Member

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    Hey Ole,
    Does the tea actually tone the cyanotypes, meaning change the cyan tone?
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Brook, it really does tone cyanotypes. The blue changes to a steely black, or deep brown in slightly alkaline solution. I think there's one of mine in the galleries - partially Lipton'ed...

    -----------

    No there isn't. I'll have to rectify that - when I get home, unless I've left it on the net somewhere.

    Found it! HERE.
     
  8. Brook

    Brook Member

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    Ole, now you have me iching to give it a try! Any other advice? Do you tone with dried prints? Any favorite tea recipies/ dilutions? I am in the middle of coating some paper for van dykes, I think I will add in a few sheets of cyanotypes and give a whirl.
    Thanks for the idea!
    Brook
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good strong tea is fine, I have heard that Earl Grey-types are no good but haven't tested that. Same for "herbal" types - not enough tannins, I guess.

    I used 2 bags in 1/2 liter of hot water; leave teabags in until the brew has cooled.

    If your water is alkaline you may get a browner result than I get with Norwegian tapwater, which can be quite acidic at times. If so, adjust pH with citric acid (think "lemon"). Put print in, agitate, watch. Sometimes the toning works faster than the staining, maybe it depends on the paper. You can get pink highlights and blue-black shadows, or shades of brown, or tan highlights and almost neutral blacks.
     
  10. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Toning with tea is a nifty trick, I've found that cheap-o tea tones better, since it has darker color and less flavor compounds.
    Tea actually stains the paper, and I believe that the tannins interact with the silver compounds.

    A while back (sometime in the early 90s) I did some tea stained prints (light yellow stained, not too dark) that were still good after 10+ years on display at my mom's house.

    IIRC i used 4 or 5 bags of tea in a liter of water to obtain a very dark infusion, let it cool down and inmerse the prints into it. After that a short wash in running water was all they needed.
    I have tested it on both FB and RC papers, generally the FB papers will take the stain better, but the Ilfospeed and Fortespeed did take it a lot slower.
     
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Lemon?

    If I stain my prints with tea and lemon do I get more yellow?
     
  12. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    Cheaper tea bags are usually best. I got better results from Tetley tea bags than I did from Keemun (loose black tea).Sorry haven't tried Red Rose. Make sure the "solution" is cooled to around room temp or the stain will happen very quickly. I didn't let it cool and couldn't pull the print out fast enough. If left in too long, the print will end up looking the colour of very old newspaper (even if the tea is cooled). Not a very nice effect IMO.

    I noticed some prints had areas around the edges that didn't stain, were left white. I thought it was due to poor washing, but Tim Rudman also noted this in his toning book.
     
  13. rjr

    rjr Member

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    What about Tea & Milk? Creamier base or smoother tonality? <g>
     
  14. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Since lemon tends to dis-color the tannins me guesses you'll get very little stain.
    Try a scrap piece in a cup of tea :wink:

     
  15. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    If I use Iced Tea, will I get a cold tone print?

    You can also stain with coffee. I've read in a couple books instant is best.
     
  16. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I did some "tea toning" a couple of years ago. I used cheap Wal-Mart tea, about 4 bags to a quart of water. The prints were made on Ilford Warmtone RC paper and the solution was very HOT. I expected the RC paper to not work well but it actually did nicely without any damage. The paper had previously been toned with KRST. The photos were of the house where my grandparents lived when I was a kid. The tea gave the paper an aged look that went well with the subject matter.
     
  17. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I'm speaking of RC paper, but I would go against many of the recomendations to wait until the tea has cooled down. In my experience I did not achieve an acceptable result from cool tea. The best results I've had were using a pre-soaked RC print soaked in very warm water then the water is removed from the tray along with the print. The tea is poured into the tray, while not boiling I've had best results with it still very hot. Let print sit in the tray and agitate randomly for a period of 5-10 minutes, beware, the prints tone will darken as it dries...much more than you'd probably think.

    I've never done this with fiber.

    For a darker look try about 3 scoops (tablespoons) of ground coffee with about 12ounces of water for 1 8x10print, again, in my usage it only seemed to work how I expected with hot water.

    Good luck!

    (I've had prints that were stained a year ago in only tea, only coffee and a combination of coffee and tea and none have shown any ill effect)

    Sidenote:
    I stained a print blood red with Kool-AID over a year ago, where it was very difficult to get correct and too much washing will remove the tone completely it definately works for creating 'wild' color youd normally not see. Try 2 packets of powder and about 6ounces of water (the less water the easier it stains, on RC glossy during the wash you can remove as much or as little of the stain as you want) for 1 8x10 let soak for 20 or so minutes with random agitation and wash until you get the tone you desire... it wont be sticky and touching the surface will leave fingerprints, it definately seems to 'keep' after staining as the print I created over a year ago still looks very red and doesnt seem to be eaten away or attract ants or anything of ill effect, seems crazy, I know...... but it really does work! (o yes, watch those hands unless you want red or blue stains on them you should wear gloves!)
     
  18. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    har har!
     
  19. Sino

    Sino Member

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    Now, these are good and creative ideas. I'll definately give it a try. Thanks guys. =)


    -Sino.
     
  20. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hey! If you tone/stain with Red Rose tea you get those cute little Wade Pottery figurines....you still get them, don't you?

    I've gotta try it. I've stained rice paper I've used for Chinese brush painting...never thought to use it for photos!

    (If I use sugar will my photos be sweeter???) :wink:
     
  21. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Last time I bought Red Rose I still got the little animal in the box, yes.

    I've toned cyanotype with cold-brewed Lipton and cheapo store brand black tea. Never tried other varieties, but the Lipton seems to work better (I think it's actually got more tannin than the store brand). The Prussian blue darkens, eventually (over around an hour) going to a strong, neutral black that makes the print look almost like a very matte silver gelatin print -- much more pleasant, for many subjects, than the rich blue (in portraits, for instance, the blue is disturbing to many people). The paper stains a very light tan, lighter than many off-white papers would be without toning.

    I have not tried toning silver prints with tea, but when I get my darkroom in a state to make silver prints, I'll have to try it -- cheap tea is CHEAP, and it's got to be safer and smell better than selenium... :wink:
     
  22. brennerp98

    brennerp98 Member

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    Warm-toned papers tone beautifully in tea. Specifically, I use Ilford Multigrade Fiber Warmtone.

    My process is similar to others: I take a large mug, boil water, put a Lipton tea bag in and leave it overnight (or until it cools off.)

    I find that 30-45 seconds is fine. Longer looks good when the print is wet, but when dried it is a bit too much for my taste (no pun intended.)

    What I like about this combination is that it comes out looking like the best cream-based papers; but I find the current cream-based papers to be "weird" to work with, and I don't like the finish. I get the beautiful tone, with a wonderful paper with a great finish.

    Paul
     
  23. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I tried some AGFA MCP and MCC in tea.
    Brewed a cup of Lipton tea (the cheap one), allowed it to cool overnight with the bag in the cup.

    The dumped a test strip with more white than black
    MCP: - Very fast staining, in about 2 minutes it was cream, 5 minutes yellow
    No blotches or streaks. The tone of the image seems a bit bluer (maybe it's just me)
    The edges of the paper seem yellow (like old newspaper) but the back is white

    MCC: took the stain real well, and the tonality changed fast as well.
    The tonality overall looks very pleasing, but the back of the print looks stained as well.