Nicole Small | One on One

Cyanotype – Considerations

From what I have read online, the Cyanotype process seems to be one of the easiest alternative processes to learn. This may be true, but in the beginning when I started working with the Cyanotype process I found it quite overwhelming having found such a large collection of information and not knowing where to begin.

I thought that I would list down a few basic key factors to think about prior to making a paper selection. I think it will be helpful to you if you should ever plan to explore the world of the Cyanotype.

1. Type of paper


Different papers under the same Cyanotype treatment will all produce different results, and to note, the heavier the texture the less sharp the final print will have.

Hot press: paper that is fine-grained and has a smooth surface.

Cold press: paper that has a textured surface.

Rough: paper that has an even bumpier surface than cold press. 

Some Comparisons:

Hot press paper:

  • ​smooth surface finish
  • ​colors are brighter
  • ​less absorbent
  • ​more time to play with the paint
  • ​good for precise brush detail
  • ​lifting off and corrections are easy

Cold press paper:

  • ​textured bumpy surface
  • ​colors are more flat
  • ​more absorbent
  • ​slightly less time to play with the paint
  • ​good for all styles of watercolor painting
  • ​tolerates some lifting off and corrections



2. Paper weight


Water is your friend in the Cyanotype process, selecting a heavy weighted paper would be your best option. Lighter papers can be used with success but the in and out water treatments will cause the paper to weaken and eventually rip, heavy weight papers will withstand frequent washing and chemical treatments, (140lb/300GSM).

In addition to paper weight options, papers that are 100% cotton rag and acid free should also be considered.


3. Sizing the paper


Sizing is added to increase surface strength and resists the penetration of solutions into the fibers of the paper. This is a step that is optional, but if you are curious to find out more about paper sizing please visit the following link:

Paper Sizing 101


One comment

  1. Pingback: Cyanotype – Mannequin Blues | Nicole Small | One on One

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