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  1. #1
    worldbmd's Avatar
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    Cyanotype mixing

    Hi all! I just received Cyanotype kit from Photographers Formulary and have a question regarding mixing the chemicals. I'm currently on break at work so I don't have the specifics with me, but from what I remember reading last night was something to the effect that you mix all of the contents of bag A with a gallon of water, and the same for bag B. Since dry chemicals have a longer shelf life than wet, I want to only use half of each dry chemical. Does anyone know if I can do this, just roughly mass out half of each chemical and mix with half the amount of water? I don't see any reason why I can't, I guess I'm just hesitant on how exact I have to measure out half of each. Any suggestions? Could I just eye-ball half or should I take it to a digital scale?
    Photography is transforming random distributions of photons into something more, something beautiful.

  2. #2
    ann
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    is this the standard cyanotype formula or the new cyanotype formula?

    the standard formula consist of two chemicals. and you could mix up only half of each bag. i would measure not eyeball.

    double check your liquid volume, i think that kit calls for 500ml of water.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

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    I think you have three options.

    1. The exact approach would be to find a scale to measure the materials. You can find 500g digital scales with 0.1g resolution for US$25 or thereabouts from various suppliers on the web. You could probably also find something that would work just find at a sporting goods shop that specializes in gun supplies - used for those who like to reload their on rounds.

    2. Cyanotype is not rocket science, and you don't need to be exact. Since A and B or each single component solutions (ie, there is only ne dry component) its perfectly OK to measure by volume using whatever measurement tool is convenient to you. My recollection is that the bags are fairly small, so perhaps using a teaspoon would work.

    3. At the end of the day, what you will find is that the ratio of A and B and their individual dilutions is not all that important. Research will lead to a wide variety of recommendations of what that ratio should be. The approach that I have taken is to leave the chemicals in their dry state, and mix them when the time comes to sensitize paper. I have a collection of small plastic spoons (disposables for stirring coffee on international plane flights) that I use to measure out and mix only enough chemical of a single printing session.
    Louie

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    worldbmd's Avatar
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    Good thats what I was thinking. I have access to a digital scale here at work or back at school in the chem lab. And yeah Ann, its the new kit I believe, the easier one where you don't have to crush your own stuff ;-)
    Photography is transforming random distributions of photons into something more, something beautiful.

  5. #5
    ann
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    no, i meant the new formula, there is the classic formula, which consists of only 2 chemicals. which sounds as if that might be the one you have,

    then there is the "new" which has a variety of chemical and i would not recommend spliting that in the manner we have been discussing.

    i believe the "new" may be a mike ware version.

    then they have a liquid version. but that doesn't sound like what your talking about.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldbmd
    Hi all! I just received Cyanotype kit from Photographers Formulary and have a question regarding mixing the chemicals. I'm currently on break at work so I don't have the specifics with me, but from what I remember reading last night was something to the effect that you mix all of the contents of bag A with a gallon of water, and the same for bag B. Since dry chemicals have a longer shelf life than wet, I want to only use half of each dry chemical. Does anyone know if I can do this, just roughly mass out half of each chemical and mix with half the amount of water? I don't see any reason why I can't, I guess I'm just hesitant on how exact I have to measure out half of each. Any suggestions? Could I just eye-ball half or should I take it to a digital scale?
    I would pay particular attention to how you mix the Ferric Ammonium Citrate and Ferricyanide (Part A and B respectively) to make your stock solutions. You can be less precise when mix the working solution, though I would strive to keep things consistent since you are new to cyanotype printing.

    You should probably mix small volumes of part A since if you do not consume - use the mix up very quickly chances are you will end up with a mouldy solution unless you add a preservative.

    Actually what I would do is mix the entire batch, Part A and Part B, put a squirt or two of 100% thymol in Part A to prevent mould growth. That way you can learn the process and have a consistent mixture of chemicals, thus eliminating one variable of the printing-learning cycle.

    New Cyanotype is a Mike Ware invention, it has it's positive qualities such as no bleeding when processing (no stained highlights), higher DMAX values, a single solution for the sensitiser. Unfortunately it tends to be paper specific. Details can be found here:

    http://www.mikeware.demon.co.uk/

    Dr Wares article is worth reading, IMO, since it give some insight to the Traditional and New Cyanotype.

    You can gain some of the advantages of the New Cyanotype process when using the Traditional Cyanotype process by mixing the coating solution with 2 parts A to 1 part B and by processing the exposed paper in an acidified water bath. A glug (about 50 to 100 ml) or two of white distilled vinegar per liter will help clear the print. Process for 5 minutes. Follow with a 10 minute water bath. Hang print to dry.

    Don't under estimate the importance of accuracy and consistency when printing cyanotype. Unfortunately many times the process is taught or presented as an easy no brainer process (which it sort of is) but with the implication that sloppy-lazy work habits will give good results, they won't.
    Don Bryant



 

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