As we inch closer to spring, we’re finding inspiration in a variety of natural materials. From greenery and botanicals to sparkling sunlight, it’s a great time to start bringing elements of the outdoors into our homes—especially with Earth Day right around the corner.
We recently explored Cyanotype, a photographic printing process dating back to the 1800s, to create beautiful, nature-inspired banners to display in our stores. Follow along to see how we did it, and make sure to share your cyanotype creations with @arhaus and #arhausinspired.
Cyanotype begins with choosing a natural material to print on, like heavy paper, wood, or fabric. Because we wanted to create large scale banners, we chose this fabric that’s specially made for the cyanotype process. To prep, we soaked our fabric in a mix of cyanotype chemicals and let it dry in the dark. This step in the process is very important because it’s actually sunlight that will “print” the images we’re capturing.
After our material was completely dry, we laid it on a flat surface and got to work. We experimented with arranging a variety of natural items on top of the fabric, including leaves, branches, and grasses of all sizes.
After we were happy with our arrangements, we carefully taped down each piece of greenery and placed a thin sheet of plastic over top. The plastic helps hold the greenery in place and keeps the surface clean.
Then, our fabric was laid outside in the sunlight. Exposure to the sun is what creates cyanotype imagery. Over time, you will see the fabric begin to change color.
After about 40 minutes, we brought everything back indoors, removed the leaves and grasses, and rinsed our fabric with water for about five minutes—a crucial step that “cures” the cyanotype. Afterwards, we hung each banner up to dry, making sure to keep it away from sunlight.
The result? A variety of striking cyan prints that capture the beauty of nature.