Contact print frame

P1010586-wMy penny plain contact print frame, front and rear view.

P1010583-w-300x225 P1010584-w-300x225

Materials needed:


A glass plate, cardboard of the same size as the glass, 4 clamps and some tape.


The cardboard is cut halfway through and reinforced on the back by some tape.

Open contact print frame for inspection of progress.


Some links to more elaborate DIY constructions:

Alternative Photography

Camera obscura



Herschel, Anna Atkins, Prussian blue – some links

Sir John Frederick Herschel and his invention/discovery of cyanotype:

Mike Ware:  John Herschel’s Cyanotype: Invention or Discovery?

International Photography Hall of Fame: Sir John Frederick William Herschel

Kshitij Nagar: Sir John Herschel: How Photography Got Its Fix

Chemistry and Light: Cyanotype process

Anna Atkins

Encyclopaedia Britannica: Anna Atkins English Photographer and Botanist

Joanna Moorhead: Blooming marvellous: the world’s first female photographer – and her botanical beauties

The Guardian: Blue prints: photography pioneer Anna Atkins’s hand-crafted images – in pictures

see also references in:  Cyanotype – In the footsteps of Anna Atkins

Prussian blue:

Amercan Chemical Society: Molecule of the Week  – Prussian blue

Alexander Kraft: On the Discovery and History of Prussian blue

John Griswold: The Accidental Color That Changed The Course Of Art

Digital negative transparency

There are numerous internet sites which propose how to produce a digital negative.

Some links:

Robert Hirsch

Christina Z. Anderson

Dan Burkholder

MP Photography (especially cyanotype)

Eyes On Photography (especially cyanotype)

and more.

And of course on paper see references in previous post.

A concise handout to get started ( workshop on cyanotype):

négatif-numérique (PDF)

References alternative photography (cyanotype)

Josef Maria Eder, Rezepte, Tabellen und Arbeitsvorschriften für Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik, Verlag von Wilhem Knapp, Halle (Saale), 1942, 18.-19. Auflage.
Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, Delmar , CliftonPark, 2007, 2nd ed.
Jill Enfield, Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photogrphic Alternative Processes, Focal Press, New York & London, 2014
Malin Fabri & Gary Fabri, Blueprint to cyanotypes, Malin Fabri, Stockholm, 2006
Peter Mrhar, Cyanotype, Peter Mrhar, ?, 2013

Drying sensitized paper

Use adjustable coathangers and hang the sensitized paper in a coat closet protected from light .

This technique is especially usefull for sensitized textile.  The lower hanger may be weighted for stretching!


An alternative is to use a paper box with an iron plate at the base. Small magnets keep the paper in place and prevent buckling (depends on number of magnets and the humidity of the paper). Be carefull not to touch the sensitized part and cover the iron plate with some plastic (e.g. plastic bag) to prevent unwanted chemical reactions.


Cyanotype – In the footsteps of Anna Atkins

Sunny day today! Preparing a workshop on cyanotype printing. So out into the garden.

The idea to print plants by the cyanotype process dates back to the 19th century when Anna Atkins published the first ever book with photographic reproductions of plants (Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions).

Yesterday I sensitized some paper with the cyanotype mixture  (J. M. Eder: Rezepte, Tabellen und Arbeitsvorschriften für Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik, Verlag von Wilhem Knapp, Halle (Saale), 1942, 18.-19. Auflage, p.225) and had it to dry overnight.



Today picked up some plants (there are plenty) and put them under glass to press them firmly onto the paper for good contact in order to have clear contours. Five minutes exposure were sufficient to get some results.


Next step: wash out the unused chemicals (more or less 20 minutes).P1000150-w.jpg




As I wasn’t happy with the colour I added some hydrogen peroxide (10% solution to the water.)






Now the very last step: let it dry.




More on cyanotype:


  • Ammonium iron(III) citrate (‘green’ variety) (important: iron(III), green)
  • Potassium ferricyanide (important: ferri not ferro) –> [Red Prussiate of Potash, rotes Blutlaugensalz, ferricyanure de potassium]