The Good, The Bad & The Experimental...
Updated: Feb 1, 2021
The best thing I've found about keeping ALL your work squirreled away in boxes (the good, the bad and the downright ugly!) is that when you want to try a new technique, or maybe one you've dabbled with before but not quite got it right, you already have a decent stock of pieces that you can play with without fear of disaster. This was the case recently when I decided to have another go at toning some of my cyanotypes. Toning is a good option when you have under exposed or over exposed results from your dried cyanotypes. If the print is too light you can simply soak it for a bit & stick it in a toner bath for a bit to darken it down and change the colour from the traditional cyanotype blue to brown/red/black/green depending on what toner formula you are using. Coffee, black tea or green tea are the easiest as most people have them around the house already. I had three underexposed prints like this so I soaked the prints for a bit in clean water then stuck them in a coffee bath for between 1 and 2 hours.
Also in my box of rejects I had several 2-3 year old cyanotypes that were way too dark so I bleached those back for a few minutes using a bath of soda crystals and water until they were a fair bit lighter and then toned them in the same coffee based solution I'd used the day before. The other experiment involved embossing a shape around the prints while the paper was still a bit damp to give a kind of printing plate look. Needless to say I have never tried this before so it didn't go quite as well as planned (plus I did in on the front of the print and not the back which looked terrible) so that particular experiment looks like it needs a bit more refining. Every day is a school day.