Sun Printing Resources
Anthotypes, Cyanotypes, Lumen Printing
and Chlorophyll Printing
These printing processes use different light sensitive papers and plants to create beautiful images - you can follow these techniques at home using the video tutorials and downloadable resources here - also you will need some sun! Don't forget, you can email us with your address if you'd like a free pack with a few sheets of photographic paper, cyanotype paper and a plastic lens for the Summer School activities.
Make your own light sensitive paper by extracting coloured juices from plants and coating paper. Spinach, brassicas, rocket, wild garlic, beetroot, and coloured fruit works well, or try experimenting with turmeric or flower petals.
Download or view our Anthotype Guide below for full details on the process
Video on Anthotype Printing by Sophie Sherwood
Use photographic paper exposed in the sun to create subtly coloured images from natural items such as flowers, leaves and grasses. Experiment with different types of photographic papers - no need to use developer, fixing is optional.
Download or view our Lumen Printing Guide below for full details on the process
Video on Lumen Printing by Wendy Leocque
Cyanotypes are beautiful blue images created by the action of sunlight on a mixture of potassium ferricyanide and ammonium ferric citrate, invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. No need to fix, just wash the print in water after exposure.
Download or view our Cyanotype Guide below for full details on the process
Video on Cyanotypes by Wendy Leocque
Print images on leaves using the action of sunlight on chlorophyll and discover the effects you can obtain from different leaves. You don't need any specialist equipment for this process, although it can be time consuming!
Download or view our Chlorophyll Printing Guide below for full details on the process
Video on Chlorophyll Printing by Ruth Jacobs
Turmeric printing and Toning
Justin Quinnell demonstrates Turmeric Anthotypes, and toning using a borax solution.
Presentations on Anthotypes and Chlorophyll Printing
Watch two video presentations by Ruth Jacobs full of ideas and information from our Online Workshop.
Lumen Printing FAQs
How long do you expose it for? Can you over expose?
You should get a result in five or ten minutes, but you can also leave them to expose for an hour or so. The paper will change different colours as it’s being exposed, so you can choose when to stop exposing depending on your preference and experiment. You can't really over expose, although plant matter might dry and shrivel if the sun is strong, and light will travel through transparent items.
Does the image fade over time?
Yes - you can use fix but this may bleach the image. Or use a saturated saline solution - salt dissolved in water until it won’t dissolve anymore.
If you don’t fix them, how do you store them?
Keep them in a black light tight bag after they have been scanned or hide them in books for other people to discover.
Can you use colour photo paper?
Yes but it takes longer to expose and works best when wet.
Cyanotype Printing FAQs
Do you coat cyanotype paper in the dark?
You don’t have to have complete darkness, just keep it out of sunlight.
What are the chemicals involved?
Potassium ferricyanide and ammonium ferric citrate. 10g (A) Ferric Ammonium Citrate to 50ml tap water and 4g (B) Potassium Ferricyanide in 50ml tap water. Then mix A+B 1+1
How do you apply the coats? Is there an optimum number of coats?
Use a wide brush or sponge (kitchen sponges work!). Just one coat is fine, or two if you want a stronger colour.
Do you need to wash the hydrogen peroxide off again after toning?
No, you can just dry the print after immersing it in the hydrogen peroxide.
How do you tone using tea or coffee?
Process, wash and dry your print in the normal way. Then brew 10 tea bags or 10 tsp instant coffee in 1L boiling water, leave to cool, and submerge the print. (Take the tea bags out!) Keep checking your print until you reach the desired tone.
How is the circular matt achieved with the cyanotype?
You can use stencils with the prints to make a different frame or within the print itself, the possibilities are endless!
Can you print on fabric? Or other materials?
Yes! You might need more coats (drying in between each), and you’ll need to make sure the fabric is pinned down. Also try ceramics, wood, fabrics, even the human body! (although be careful with this last one if you have sensitive skin)
Has anyone tried a wet cyanotype on inkjet paper? Give it a go!
Chlorophyll Printing FAQs
How do you expose a photograph on it? Do you have to print the image on transparency first?
Yes, print the image as a positive on transparency film that is suitable for your printer, and you can print the same image twice on two separate sheets to help with contrast and make the images bolder.
Do the images last or will they fade?
They will probably fade if you leave them out in the light. Like with lumen prints you can keep them in pages of books or in a black light proof bag or in a drawer away from light. You can also use renaissance wax which blocks UV light and helps with them fading.
Anthotype Printing FAQs
Do you use real borax or borax substitute for toning?
Borax substitute, you can get it in supermarkets and hardware stores.