Cyanotypes in the winter

Seeing that the UV light given off by the sun is a fundamental ingredient to making a cyanotype, making them in the winter months can be difficult, but not impossible.

I’ve read up a lot about using artificial UV light to create them but the lamps powerful enough are expensive, ebay (as always!) seem to be a good source of face tanning lamps which can be used for creating cyanotypes but these can be anywhere from £40 up, I wanted a cheaper option so I looked down the Energy Saving UV fluorescent route.

Energy Saving UV fluorescent lamps cost about a fiver but being such a low wattage means that the don’t give off a huge amount of UV light so I thought I’d start small any try contact printing a few 120 negatives.

Here’s my test rig:


Using a 15w lamp and an old fizzy pop bottle covered in foil as a reflector to direct as much precious UV light onto my print as possible.

Here we have it fired up:


15 Minutes of exposure later and we have a (sort of) presentable print:


By no means are you going to produce spectacular results, given the nature of cyanotype they aren’t that detailed so contact printing isn’t going to yield brilliant results but it is definitely worth a try.  So if you fancy some winter cyanotype action and have given up due to the cost, it can be done, so long as you stay small 🙂