Cyanotype - Nature Print
This outdoor-inspired children’s art activity is made with our Creative Kids Nature Print Kit. Join me for a one-on-one art lesson via the online tutorial to create an artwork with the greatest artist of all, nature.
I am so passionate about art as a means of nurturing a healthy self-esteem in children. Frame this one and hang it on the wall...so your child can smile proudly every time they walk by.
You will need:
- Cyanotype mixtures A & B
- Foam brush
- Watercolour paper
- Wide jar or old bowl. (Your foam brush needs to fit inside it)
- Clear Perspex sheet (white coating removed from both sides)
- Bulldog clips or clothes pegs
- A nice sunny day… or at least, not a rainy one.
Step 1- Time for a little chemistry
- You will need to make the Cyanotype liquid using the powders which are already in the bottles. Carefully fill the bottles up with water from the tap. You do not want to waste any of your processing fluid, so be sure to have the tap running nice and slowly.
- In an old jar, mix equal parts of Cyanotype mixtures A & B. A Little goes a long way, so you really will not need much at all. Perhaps just a cap or two full of each
Step 2 - OOOOOhhhhh it’s dark in here.
Find a dark space to prepare your artwork; I used my garage which only has one tiny window but if you don’t have a garage, you might like to consider doing this step in the night time with just a little light on.
- Cover your sheet of paper in the cyanotype mixture using a foam brush. You can also use a watercolour brush, but the foam brush will provide the most even finish. The fluid is a very light yellow/green colour, but be assured, it will turn blue. More fluid will not mean a darker or brighter finished artwork.
- You can paint your fluid all the way to the edge, or leave a white border. I really like the look of an uneven white border; I think it adds to the organic effect of our artwork.
- Leave your artwork in a VERY dark place to dry completely. Face down in the wardrobe works really well.
Step 3 - Breathe in the fresh air
- Head outside and forage for organic matter to use in your print . While you're just starting out, flat leaves and flowers work best. You might be surprised what looks interesting… sometimes weeds have the most unusual shapes. I've used a little fern growing in a weedy patch of my garden and a “money plant” that my husband grew for me.
- Break off any parts of the plant that you don't want to be included in your print. I’ve broken off a few leaves from the bottom of my fern so that the plant appears to grow out of the bottom of the paper.
Step 4 - Quick sticks!
You’ll have to work quickly during this step. All parts of your artwork which are exposed to the sun will turn blue… and you really don't want to be left with a plain blue sheet of paper.
- In the darkest place you can manage, place your pre-painted (and dried) paper.
- Layer the leaf on top of the paper and position it exactly where you want it.
- Place the perspex sheet on top of the paper and the leaf and secure tightly with pegs. Don’t clip the pegs on the area you have painted or you will be left with a peg mark. If you have painted all the way to the edge, it might be best to avoid using pegs and simply sit the perspex on top.
- Place your artwork on a flat surface in the sun to process. The painted area will be exposed by the sun and depending on the harshness of the sun, will take somewhere between 10-30 minutes to process.
- The exposed area will turn blue first and then a bronze/grey colour. Once you see the bronze tones, your artwork is ready to bring inside. PS: More time is better than not enough.
Step 5 - Scrub a dub dub.
- Remove your leaf from the paper and rinse immediately. You need to do this so your shape doesn’t disappear and also become blue when you hang it. I like to rinse my paper in the sink under running water. Once the water runs clear, I know it is sufficiently clean
- Admire your artwork and consider what a great team you and nature make!