How to Make Cyanotype Tea Towels


This blog was Part 2 of 3 of the May 2020 Craft in Style Subscription Box. Now, you can shop The Cyanotype Tea Towel & Napkin Kit here. Part 1: How to Make Cyanotypes here. Part 3: How to Make Cyanotype Cotton Napkins here.

Do you love gorgeous deep blues? What about vintage photography techniques? Then you must try Cyanotypes! Cyanotypes are a photo process that creates white images on a deep blue background. It’s all made with the sun and doesn’t require a camera, a darkroom or any heavy equipment.

supplies to make cyanotype tea towels diy pop shop america

The blue is formed from the reaction of ferrous ions (from photo reduction of the ferric ammonium citrate) and potassium ferricyanide. So the chemicals do need safe handling. If you receive any of these supplies from Pop Shop America please be sure you are comfortable handling them. The basics are: don’t drink them, don’t put them in your eyes, and don’t pour them on your skin. You know, the basics!

Working with cyanotypes is fairly simple, once you get the hang of it. And you can make all kinds of gorgeous creations! You can make gorgeous printed art like this. Or you can make cotton napkins, banners, you can print clothing. There are so many things you can do!

But now we’re making gorgeous Tea Towels! So let’s get started.

ix together solution a and b for cyanotypes

use a brush to apply cyanotype liquid to fabric

Supplies to Make Cyanotype Tea Towels

Cyanotype Tea Towel & Napkin Making Kit
Cotton Tea Towels
Liquid Cyanotype Solution (2 Parts)
A Foam Brush
A Container to Mix your Cyanotype Liquid

Plus: Objects to make Stylish Designs
Such as: Seashells, Feathers, Gemstones, Lace, or More

First, start by mixing equal parts of Cyanotype Solution A and Solution B. Once your solution is mixed, you will need to use it in a few hours, so be sure to only mix what you plan to use.

If you are working with the Craft in Style Box, I would recommend keeping half
of your solution for your other projects.

brush the cyanotype mixture on with a brush

coating tea towels with liquid cyanotype diy pop shop america

Once your solution is mixed, apply a coat of the liquid across your tea towels. Be sure that your tea towels are evenly and completely coated.

Once your tea towel is completely coated, place your tea towels in the dark to completely dry. It doesn’t have to be a darkroom – any closet will be perfect.

Once they are dry, it’s time to expose your cyanotypes out in the sun. Exposing this type of cyanotype can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

diy cyanotype tea towel tutorial pop shop america

There are a couple of things you need to consider:

First, be sure that you know your composition and what you want it to look like before you set up your objects and set it outside. Spend some time with this process layering your objects to see what you like. Feathers, lace, and dried flowers all look gorgeous. You can also turn photographs into transparencies for highly detailed images. The sky is the limit so get creative!

Second, you need your objects to hold firmly in place the entire time. This will ensure that you have a clear crisp silhouette or outline of the object. If you are exposing your cyanotypes outdoors, make sure breezes won’t affect your design. You can also use a strong photo light to expose them indoors but I find outdoors to be the easiest!

You will know your cyanotype is done when you can lift the edge of your design and reveal and stark difference in color.

wash the cyanotype diy pop shop america

Once your cyanotype is fully exposed, run the tea towels under gentle water for 5 minutes to rinse completely. Allow your tea towels to dry.

Now your tea towels are ready to be used!

finished cyanotype tea towel diy pop shop america

Hang them around your oven, or set them underneath hot plates while you are serving food to make your dishes even more gorgeous! Your cyanotype is permanent.

indigo dyed flour sack kitchen towel pop shop america

If you want to wash your tea towels again, use a gentle and short cycle and hang them to dry. And viola gorgeous tea towels that you can customize to your style and have a beautiful bright blue!

cyanotype tea towels craft in style may pop shop america

Love this diy? Then don’t miss the Cyanotype Tea Towel & Napkin Making Kit here! It’s full of everything you need to complete this project from beginning to end. It’s so much fun.

Let’s Be Friends!

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