Cyanotyping on Fabric

The cyanotype, or blueprint, processes dates back to 1841 when it was discovered by Sir John Herschel. Although cyanotypes were originally produced on paper, they work very well on a variety of surfaces such as wood, card, leather and natural fibre fabrics. Cyanotypes are contact prints, meaning that the imagine is the same size as the object or negative that was used to create it. The white images on a Prussian blue background can range from delicate and subtle to sharp and angular.

To make the light sensitive solution, you mix ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. Taken from the recipe of Barbara Hewitt’s book ‘Blueprints of Fabric’, we used 30g of ferric ammonium citrate and 15g of potassium ferricyanide which we stirred into 250ml of warm water.



Mixing the potassium ferricyanide.



Mixing the ferric ammonium citrate.


Mixing the two together to create the light sensitive solution.



Fabric stretched onto a frame with the solution painted on. It is important to avoid putting it in any area where there is a lot of sunlight around. As soon as it is exposed to the light, the solution will start to react and the colour will begin to change.

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Once the fabric is dry, we used the exposure cabinet to expose the solution to light. We printed our images/designs/drawings onto acetate and placed them underneath the fabric. Once exposed, the fabric is washed to remove any excess solution and the designs are are left white.

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An example of the different shades of blue that can be created, depending on the fabric and the length of time the solution is exposed for.


4 Thoughts on “Cyanotyping on Fabric

  1. Jennifer Wilburn on November 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm said:

    These blueprints are really effective… great work. How long did you leave the prints in the exposure cabinet?

  2. Alain Corbiere on December 12, 2013 at 12:02 am said:

    Hello from Amiens University !

    A very inspiring “thought” indeed ! A colleague of mine, Sylvie Gosselin, will be working on Cyanotype with her students, and I hope some of their works will be exhibited in June for the fashion show at St Barts. I shall encourage them to contribute to this blog.

    To contact me :

    Alain Corbière, English language teacher, and BLUE WOAD coordinator at the Université de Picardie Jules Verne.

  3. Alain Corbiere on December 12, 2013 at 12:04 am said:

    Sorry for the spelling mistake : !

  4. Leseine Mathilde on February 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm said:

    We are so glad to meet you in few months!

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