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  1. #1

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    Another cyanotype question

    I have a supply of completely unusable RC paper and thinking that I might be able to use to make cyanotypes. The idea is to completely fix out and wash the undeveloped paper, and then coat the paper with cyanotype chemistry. I think it would work, but I'm not quite sure about the gelatin and the RC base. Everything I've read says that a non-buffered or slightly acidic paper base is the preferred medium. I'm just looking right now to see if I can get this to work, and not looking to make a piece of art from it. Has anyone tried this, and if so, how did it work out for you?
    Frank Schifano

  2. #2

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    Yes, I have coated fixed-out paper with cyanotype chems and achieved some lovely prints (if I do say so myself). But I used fibre based paper, not RC. I have never tried RC paper actually, but it may lend itself to the same methods I use for fixed-out fibre based (baryta) paper. The method is not difficult but does take a bit of practice and, as noted, I have no idea how it would work with RC paper. In a nutshell, it involves using a product called Tween 20, a bit of warmth, a puddle pusher (coating rod) and foam brushes.

    Here is a cyanotype image on fixed-out oriental seagull fibre based paper.



    For more information on the technique I use to coat paper see my post from the other day (warning: it is a self promo post for a book I wrote about the method) http://www.apug.org/forums/forum42/8...yta-paper.html
    Last edited by CraigK; 12-17-2010 at 10:59 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typos

  3. #3

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    Looks good, looks really good. I see that Tween 20 is a non-ionic wetting agent, so Photoflo might be a good substitute there. I've seen the coating technique done with a bristle brush instead of a foam brush or puddle pusher, and the coating was very nice and even. Now, to order the ferric ammonium citrate.
    Frank Schifano

  4. #4

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    Yes, photoflo may work. I prefer tween for pt/pd though, I would sometimes get odd reactions to photoflo. But for cyanotype, it may be perfectly fine.

    The trick to getting a good coating on fixed out paper is partly chemical (tween or maybe photoflo) and partly mechanical (try using a puddlepusher to get even coverage of the image area first, then finish up with a foam brush...no need to be super delicate with it either, brush with some vigor). Also make sure to use lots of solution. Coating fixed out paper is not for the parsimonious worker. Start by doubling the amount you would use on cotton paper and then double coat. That means 4x the solution you are used to using.

  5. #5

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    Thanks. That's good to know. The materials for making cyanotypes is dirt cheap anyway. Not at all like making pt/pd prints. That stuff gets pricey fast. Too rich for my blood right now.
    Frank Schifano

  6. #6
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    that's a gorgeous print Craig...

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fschifano View Post
    Thanks. That's good to know. The materials for making cyanotypes is dirt cheap anyway. Not at all like making pt/pd prints. That stuff gets pricey fast. Too rich for my blood right now.
    Yes it is way cheaper. And if you look around, you can often find out of date paper for next to nothing or free.

    Some of my favorite prints have been made with materials that probably added up to less than 25 cents!!

  8. #8

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    CraigK

    Alright, I totally envy that print, whenever I try to get Cyanotypes with blues that deep I end up with something that is really hard to rinse. I finally gave up and just bought a box of tea bags and make tea stained Cyanotypes. Your print has inspired me that I might be able to do better than I am now.
    "Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
    "Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"

    Me

  9. #9

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    Actually, Cyanotype on baryta is an excellent way to not only learn to coat fixed-out paper, but to get really, really nice prints. As you noted, the depth of the blues can be huge. I have never, ever achieved those kinds of tones on cotton paper.

    But there are a few things you need to keep in mind when coating on fixed out paper.

    1. Always, always double coat...use LOTS of solution, for cyanotype the more the better, just work it in as much as you can and squeegee off the rest.

    2. Dont skimp on the tween (or photoflo if it works). Don't worry if it gets all foamy as you scrub it into the paper. The bubbles come off with the squeegee (I use a plastic shower and tub squeegee..don't use a windshield wiper blade, they leave bits behind)

    3. Avoid drying the paper between coats with a hot dryer...the paper will start to turn green/grey. Use cool air.

    4. Expose promptly. I have found that leaving the paper to rest for even a half hour or so after it is dry allows it to start turning colour.

    5. Wash well....you may want to try wash aid. I do for most of my prints.

  10. #10
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    CraigK, does your print look that good in person or is it "enhanced" at all? Not that I'm doubting you, just curious. Really something to aspire to in cyanotype!

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