Creating Sun Prints with Cyanotype

Cyanotype printing is a UV sensitive photography technique that's super easy and magical!

This process, which originated in the mid-1800s, has been used by photographers, artists, and architects to quickly and easily create copies. Cyanotypes are beloved because of their beautiful blue hue and were used to create early architectural drawings. This is how blueprints got their name!

I spent a bright morning making prints in my backyard using Jacquard's Pretreated Fabric Sheets. The pack comes with 10 pieces of chemically coated fabric and was very simple to use. 

Cyanotype Supplies

Check out our selection of  cyanotype supplies! We have everything you need to get started!

Step 1: Arrange Objects on Your Cyanotype Sheets

In a shaded area, set up your composition. Remember that your pretreated cyanotype sheet is light sensitive, so every shadow and mark will show up if you're not careful. 

I foraged plants from around my neighborhood and my garden for one of my cyanotypes. 

In a dark area, I arranged the plants on my cyanotype. Since the cyanotype sheets are fabric, it's helpful to put something stiff under your composition for easier transport. I used a cutting board, but any flat object will do. 

Use cut paper in your composition

Try laying cut paper on top of your cyanotype sheet to create interesting shapes. You can lay anything on the sheets that will block light, from found objects to photo negatives! 

Step 2: Set in the sun

Let your pieces bake in the sun for 10-15 minutes. As a rule of thumb, it's more desirable to have an overexposed piece than an underexposed piece. Overexposure will result in a more high contrast piece that is deeper blue.

HELPFUL TIP: Place a piece of glass on top of your exposed cyanotype sheet to hold everything in place and to create a sharper image. I just used a piece of glass from an old picture frame. 

Step 3: Rinse

Once your sheets have turned a bronze color, they are ready to rinse.

Remove all objects from your material. Once rinsed, all the blue areas will turn white.

Agitate your fabric pieces in water for 5 minutes, changing the water twice. 

Once you're done rinsing, hang to dry. The blue will continue to darken over the next 24 hours. If you don't want to wait, dip your pieces in a solution of 20% hydrogen peroxide 80% water. You will see the blues darken right away! Make sure to rinse in plain water once more.

Cyanotype Printing: Video Tutorial

Step 4: Enjoy Your Pieces!

I adore the pieces I created! There are so many fun things you can do with these. They are ready to frame and hang in your home or use them for other sewing projects. I love to sew and plan to stitch my fabric together into a quilt. 

I hope you enjoy cyanotype printing! Please share your work with us. Send us your pieces at or comment below! Happy crafting!

Want more earth-friendly DIYS? Check out these sustainable tutorials: 

By Jennie Lennick
Designer, entrepreneur, and lover of crafts! Boss Lady at Jenny Lemons in San Francisco

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