Toning Cyanotypes

Personally I really love the blueness of cyanotypes but toning is something I wanted to try – and here is my process and thoughts:

The first part of the toning process is to bleach the dry cyanotype. First of all the cyanotype has to have been dry for at least 24 hours. The ones I have experimented on are much older so are completely dry.

The bleach solution I use is soda crystals in water, I’m a bit random when it comes to quantities but I use about 2-3 teaspoons in a litre of water in a shallow try.

The cyanotype is then agitated in the solution until the image disappears- this is pretty scary the first time you do it! Once all the blue has been bleached the cyanotype is rinsed in running water before being put into the toner.


I have used tea as my toner for this image.  I have read that the tannin in it chemically binds to the iron in the emulsion and changes the colour. Coffee and wine are also commonly used. I used about 4 teabags in 1 litre of hot water.

I agitate the cyanotype in the tea (I’ve used black tea and green tea) for a few minutes before washing in running water again before leaving to dry.

The toned cyanotype is a very different thing to the original blue cyanotype.  I still prefer the blue cyanotype but I am thinking maybe I haven’t experimented enough or maybe I need to try other images.


Any comments, suggestions, ideas or questions please get in touch.