Blueprints (Cyanotypes)


  1. Safety

  2. Materials and Equipment needed

  3. Simple Step-by-Step Instructions

  4. Stock solutions

  5. Making Sensitizer
    and Coating Paper

  6. Exposure

  7. Processing

  8. Notes

  9. Other Recipes

  10. Paper

  11. Negatives

  12. Special effects

  13. For more

(click images for larger views)  
[PICTURE-blue bug]

on graph paper, from a high contrast negative of an original etching
(83k jpeg)
[PICTURE-blueprint house]

from a halftone negative, with resulting moire pattern from being screened again in scanner
(20k jpeg)
[PICTURE-streaky engnes]
blueprint on grayish paper,
from streaky fogged negative; infrared original photo
(~20k jpeg)
[PICTURE-foot on car]
blueprint on light lavender paper
(sometimes I like to include the edges and everything)
(~20k jpeg)

(~20k jpeg)
[PICTURE-iver skating]
commercial blueprint paper

(33k jpeg)
[PICTURE-steve, turville point]
commercial blueprint paper

(33k jpeg)
Commercial blueprint paper comes pre-coated and is developed in ammonia fumes. (details below) These are two pages from a book made in 1981. Some fading around the edges of the pages can be seen in the large views. (The reddish-yellowish tint on the right sides is from the scanner being partly open.)


Materials and Equipment needed

Simple Step-by-Step Instructions


Mix one part ferric ammonium citrate solution with one part potassium ferricyanide solution.


Coat and dry paper in subdued light.


Expose until gray, approx. 15 minutes in bright sun; 2 seconds in blueprint machine; approx. 400 units with arc light or platemaker; or leave sitting out most of the day in room lights or outside on a cloudy day. Times are approximate; make test prints first.


After exposing, develop in running water a few minutes until most of yellow is gone and image is visible.


Place in solution of ~1 oz. (or ~30ml) hydrogen peroxide and ~1 quart (or ~1 liter) of water, with agitation until print turns dark blue. Remove immediately.


Wash in running water for about 5 minutes.


Dry flat or hang up.


Clean up: Dump hydrogen peroxide solution. Rinse out cups, brushes, spoons, trays, etc. Wipe up spills. (otherwise things will have blue stains)

Detailed Instructions

Stock solutions:

Making Sensitizer and Coating Paper



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Another recipe:

Mix and use as above.

Solution A

ferric ammonium citrate 50 grams (or 1.8 oz)
water 250 ml (or 8.5 oz)

Solution B

potassium ferricyanide 35 grams (or 1.25 oz)
water 250 ml (or 8.5 oz)

Small amount:

ferric ammonium citrate 1.2 grams (or ~1/2 tsp)
potassium ferricyanide 0.6 grams (or ~1/8 tsp)
water 20 ml (or 2/3 oz)

Mix all together, use same day, as above.
20 ml solution makes about five to ten 8"x10" prints.


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Other methods for making negatives:

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Special effects:

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For more information:

the first two are technical, the others are more general

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return to oatmeal box cameras and alternative photography page

back to [PICTURE-centipede] the Wendy Mukluk home page

email - ekelana at gmail dot com

last update 8-4-03