Ever wondered what happens when you combine ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide? No, you won't get an explosion, but the ingredients could actually kill you! The chemicals are indeed toxic (if you smell almonds, it may be the last thing you smelll!) but if you work with care, you're in greater danger of staining your clothes than you are of dying. It's all a part of the fun: these are the chemicals you use to treat paper or fabric for creating cyanotypes!
Cyanotypes are made through a photographic printing process first discovered in 1842. A little bit of chemistry and a little bit of sunshine are the main ingredients you need to make one of these beautiful cerulean-toned prints.
I made this short video to walk you through the first step of the cyanotype process: treating the paper. I purchase my cyanotype materials from Bostick & Sullivan. They come with comprehensive instructions on how to safely mix, use, and store the chemicals.
Here on Saint Simons Island, we're battening down for a storm tomorrow. But once the sunshine returns, I'll make a video showing the next part of the process: creating negatives from digital photos and exposing your pictures in the sun!