So here are the final examples of the cyanotypes I did on cotton. I never was able to determine why exactly they turned yellow, but I have ideas, and perhaps one day I’ll experiment more.
I tried washing the onesies beforehand, that didn’t work. I tried washing afterwards in cold water, but they started to fade. I tried prewashing cold without detergent for the last one, didn’t make a difference. The only thing I can think of right now, is that I was on well water at the time, whereas the cyanotype solution was mixed on campus with city water, but aside from that, I don’t know what I did wrong. Other people printed cyanotypes on cotton with no problem! For the record, they were a gorgeous deep blue until I took them home and put them through the washing machine.
I snapped this just to have a record of it before I sent these off to my friends (and their new baby) in Boulder.
The first part of this post is here.
Cyanotype prints can be made from just about anything, I’m told. It’s one of those old-time processes that melds very well with today’s digital technology, and all that are needed is two chemicals mixed together coated on something and exposed to the sun, washed in regular water, maybe with a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Besides contact-printing anything you can think of like with a lumen, it’s very possible to take any digital image, turn it black & white and then print it on a transparency as a negative. Mine were already black & white Tri-X scans, all I did was to invert them and have my local UPS store print them on transparencies for me, 9in on the long side.
The process works on cloth as well as paper, which is where I got the original idea for my project, as two of my friends just had a baby and I decided to decorate a onesie for their child to wear (image used on left).
I’ve had a few hiccups on the onesie: I’m on my third try, and my problem right now seems to be prewashing in detergent before coating: the wonderful deep blue color turns a sickly yellow after a regular machine wash, and I don’t know how many washes it can take, it’s possible it could just fade away. These pictures were originally taken back in November when my friends stopped by to play a show in a local bar. The original post can be found here.