Family-Friendly Craft: One Way To Participate in World Cyanotype Day

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If you are looking for a fun and easy family-friendly craft, why not participate in a project for World Cyanotype Day?

The official World Cyanotype Day is the last Saturday of September every year.

Sometimes the projects are personal explorations of the medium, while other times people engage with their communities to create collaborative pieces.

Cyanotype, in some form, has been on my “creative projects to try” for many years. In fact, I have had my eye these pre-treated cotton cyanotype squares for (I think) almost decade. Yikes, just typing that reminds me how quickly time flies.

So when I learned about World Cyanotype Day via Amy Jasek’s call for contributors on Instagram, I felt it was the perfect way to dip my toes into the cyan-blue waters of this art form.

But first…the basics.

Family-friendly crafts: Participate in World Cyanotype Day PINME

What Is Cyanotype?

As per Wikipedia, cyanotype is,” a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints.”

So how does that translate to photography?

Well, the “maker” mentality has been alive and well for hundreds of years. So, it’s not surprising that someone took the original process and applied it to a different medium.

In this case, Anna Atkins, “created a series of cyanotype limited-edition books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection,[3] placing specimens directly onto coated paper and allowing the action of light to create a silhouette effect. By using this photogram process, Anna Atkins is sometimes considered the first female photographer.” (Wikipedia)

How Do You Create A Cyanotype?

Cynaotype photograph of skateboarder
Photo by Giovanni Calia from Pexels

The high-level process to create a cynaotype is this:

– Mix specific chemicals to create the solution (a.k.a. sensitizer).

– Apply the mixed solution to the medium of choice (i.e., cotton-based water color paper, cotton fabric, etc.)

– Create a negative image to be used in the design. The negative image can be a printed transparency or cut out of construction paper. You could even use a weeded HTV design since that is basically a negative on a transparency. You can also use natural objects like leaves or dried flowers.

– Place the negative over the treated paper or fabric.

– Expose the negative and treated paper to UV light.

– Wash the image in water to develop it.

– Hang to dry.

So what has kept me from attempting such a simple list of tasks?

I know I need some time to fail before I succeed. Sure, the process is simple, but the nuance is not.

For starters, I have always known I would need to figure out:

– What are the best types of images or objects to use as negatives?

– How long should the image be exposed to the sun? And, what time of the day is best for optimal sun exposure?

– What is the best combination of chemicals?

– How can I be most efficient with my materials?

And I haven’t set aside the time to investigate how to do it right.

How Does My Family Participate In World Cyanotype Day?

So when I saw Amy’s call for contributors for her World Cyanotype Day project, it seemed like the perfect family-friendly craft and a way for everyone to try something cyanotype-related.

Not only can people contribute to a piece of cyanotype art, but they can also craft for a cause. Talk about win-win!

Let’s Lend A Hand To Amy’s Cyanotype Project

Image Credit: Amy Jasek

Here is Amy’s explanation of what the project means to her and the project’s goal:

2020 is an especially unique year, one that highlights just how interconnected we are all.  From one person to another, one house to another, one town to another:  the connections branch and grow, reaching into every nook and cranny of this beautiful place we get to call home. 

Earth has been called the Blue Planet – blue sky, blue sea, blue the hue that the light of the sun turns the natural salts of a cyanotype when it’s placed outside beneath those stellar rays.  

To celebrate World Cyanotype Day this year, I need a hand – LOTS of hands – and I would like for you, dear people of Round Rock, to lend them to me. 

On Saturday, September 26th, I will be making a large scale cyanotype collage at my home, but I won’t be alone:  you will be there with me, represented by paper cutouts of your handprints, and whatever unique piece of you makes you feel connected to your community, to the world.” 

World Cyanotype Day Can Be A Family-Friendly Craft

I think Amy’s call for submissions is the one of the best options for a family-friendly craft if you like cyanotypes.

No mixing chemicals, no timing of UV exposure. Just a simple trace, cut, and send. More info is below!

The video above showcases the exact steps to follow in order to participate in Amy’s celebration of World Cyanotype Day. Please note: she is accepting submissions from people regardless of whether or not they live in Round Rock, TX.

For a quick read, the instructions are these:

– Trace your hand on construction paper (preferably a darker color, because of the nature of the artwork they are being used for).

– Cut out your traced hand print

– Write – on the cutout, on the palm for example – your first name and something about yourself that you feel connects you to your community (just a word or two is fine).

– Deliver, either by US mail or in person, your hand print cutout to the Downtowner Gallery in Round Rock, TX by September 18th. The address is: Downtowner Gallery, 231 E Main St, Ste 160, Round Rock, TX 78664.

If your whole family participates, your contribution will likely look like the picture below.

World Cyanotype Day hands for Texas Girl Photography
Image Credit: Amy Jasek

Raise Your Hand If Your Family Will Contribute

I consider this a great family-friendly craft because it promotes family and community togetherness.

Plus, if you follow Amy on Instagram, your family can see the process as she documents how she creates her piece. So, even the youngest of children will be able to understand because they will see how their “hand” became part of a piece of art.

Looking for More Family-Friendly Paper Crafts?

If you’re looking for additional family-friendly paper crafts, try making a handmade card for Cardz For Kidz! by using a dollar store lei.