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  1. #1

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    Cyanotype on Canvas

    Hi, I'm trying to do a cyanotype on some raw cotton canvas that I bought, using the classic formula found here.

    However, even after exposing for an hour in sunlight, I got quite a faint print that was light blue in colour. What should I do to improve the print quality? I tried the same formula on normal cartridge paper and it turned out fine, so it could be something to do with the canvas. The canvas doesn't absorb the chemical very well and I have to do several strokes with my brush to get it fully coated - could that be a problem?

  2. #2
    Gadfly_71's Avatar
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    The canvas may have sizing left over from the manufacturing process. You may need to wash the fabric first.

    -Andrew

  3. #3

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    I know a lot of people do cyanotype on cloth but it's usually something fairly fine. Might be interesting to try the same thing working with primed/gessoed canvas and then putting a few coats golden-acrylic absorbent ground. Might not be the look you want though.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the advice, I'll wash the canvas and see if it works!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeyf View Post
    Thanks for the advice, I'll wash the canvas and see if it works!
    Don't use any soap. You want to avoid making the cloth alkaline and soap may do that. If anything, I might add a bit of white vinegar to the water to acidify it just in case.

    I haven't used canvas but have done 9'x9' cyanotypes on muslin successfully. I sensitize by dunking the entire prewashed and dried fabric in a bucket filled with cyanotype sensitizer, then wring it out and hang to dry in a darkened room over some newspaper with a plastic dropcloth underneath.

    I've attached an example photogram.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tif272.jpg  

  6. #6
    Gadfly_71's Avatar
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    I learned the hard way. It was kinda funny too. Earlier in the day I'd done a Vandyke on a canvas tote and it had worked perfectly. Of course I hadn't washed it first because it wasn't necessary for VDB (quite the opposite actually, you really need the fabric to be sized for Vandyke). Then I tried cyanotype on the same material (I bought several blank canvas totes) and it washed away, just like yours. D'oh!

  7. #7

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    Just to update, I tried it again with the canvas pre-washed in vinegar as advised, but it still didn't work. Most probable the best way would be to soak it in the chemical, but I didn't hav enough to try that out. Nevertheless, I did a print on watercolour paper which worked perfectly.

  8. #8

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    There was a tip on a couple of sites dealing with cyanotypes on fabric. For development it is recommended that 3% hydrogen peroxide be added to the rinse water. This is said to produce deeper blues.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9
    JOSarff's Avatar
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    seeyf:

    Just a quick question, what is your location? That may have some impact on exposure. Otherwise try Gerald's suggestion.

    Joe
    There is no such thing as taking too much time, because your soul is in that picture. -Ruth Bernhard

  10. #10

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    I'm in Singapore. No more chemical to try it out anymore though, but I'll keep that in mind for future use. Thanks!

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