Cyanotype Fabric Printing

In this post, I’ll show you how to do a sun-print on fabric!

Cyanotype fabric printing is a combination of sun-printing and fabric dyeing. Cyanotype is the grandfather of the sun-printing process and one of the earliest photographic techniques ever developed. The printing technique was discovered around 1948, and it produces a distinctive, vibrant Prussian blue monochromatic prints.

Cyanotype was used well into the 20th century as a method for reproducing photographs, documents, maps, and plans. The prints were often referred to as ‘blueprint.’ It is also famously known for making impressions of biological specimens in the field (“photograms”). The Cyanotype technique can apply to various organic surfaces including fabric. By organic, meaning any natural material such as cotton, linen, silk, canvas, wool, even leather. I like creating these sun print on fabric because the Prussian blue it produces is undoubtedly like no other. Here is how I produce Cyanotype on canvas tote bags. 1. Combine Jacquard Cyanotype Sensitizer set solutions A and B in a 1:1 ratio and then apply the mix on the tote bag. Avoid sunlight while doing this because the chemical is sensitive to UV light.

Cyanotype solutions
cyanotype instruction
cyanotype coating-2

2. Let the fabric dry completely in a dark space.

3. Position the negative image on top of the tote bag. In this case, I want to achieve a clean exposure of my typography, so I’ve laid plexiglass on top to ensure full contact between the film and the fabric.

cyanotype on fabric setup
cyanotype film expose 1

4. The amount of time to get a well-exposed image is depended on the sunlight, and it takes many trial and error to get the hang of it. In this case, it took about 20 minutes of bright and direct sunlight.

cyanotype film expose 2

5. Rinse the fully-exposed fabric under running water for 10-15 minutes.

6. Dry and iron as needed.

cyanotype on fabric instruction

Product used: Jacquard Cyanotype Sensitizer SetGet a cyanotype print tote bag!

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