Wet cyanotype

This article is an excerpt from Cyanotype on glass and ceramics written by Galina Manikova with information and lots of links where one can learn more.

Writer and photography / Galina Manikova

Galina Manikova bookThis is a new trend, but nothing new about the process or the idea. There are several people claiming to have invented it, or to have a copyright on it, which is another myth.

You can create wet cyanotype on dry pre-prepared sheets of photosensitised paper (or chosen substrate) or directly into the wet chemicals as they are applied to your chosen paper or other substrate (wet into wet). Introducing wet elements to the print as it develops corrupts the process leaving interesting marks and colourations.

Cyanotype is a very tolerant and versatile process that allows you to do almost anything to it, abuse it in many ways, and you might still get some very good outcomes.

I do not like when people write in their comments and process descriptions: “I have no idea about how that happened”, or ” I do not remember what I have done”… there is no mystery to any of it… there is always a logical explanation.

Wet cyanotypes can be left in the sun for a few hours to develop or for several days or weeks. During developing you may see the print turn blue, then the colour might disappear only to come back with strong rust and grey tones.

I have earlier posted a video from YouTube about an option of layering with wet cyanotype.

There are plenty of other videos on YouTube and if you google on this process, but I warn you: there is a lot of a very wrong or false information out there! So be aware of that.

I combine wet cyanotype process with botanical printing, toning and hand-coloring. I use pigments, oxides, salts and organic/botanical tannins and amino acids.

The book about toning cyanotypes by Annette Golaz covers some of the options, so I will not repeat and quote from this book. I recommend you to get this book and read it! My work is a part of that publication.


  • Coat the emulsion on anything you want. It can be paper, ceramics, glass, textile or wood.
  • Let the emulsion dry (sometimes I just drop this stage).
  • Place your stencils, fowers or plants over the coated plate/page
  • Spray some vinegar/citric acid/table salt
  • Add other chemicals or botanicals
  • Add soap bubbles
  • Cover the print with plastic
  • Put your negatives over the plastic (if you want)
  • Expose outside in the sun for several hours (days or weeks)
  • Wash well
  • Dry and put a protective covercoat (optional)

It is also possible to add different substances like coffee, tea, plants or flowers not only for the effects on the emulsion and the chemistry of the process, but also in order to create some additional texture and forms. Both tea and coffee can also be mixed together with pigments, inks and salts ahead of the applications.
Wet cyanotype by Galina Manikova
Wet cyanotype by Galina Manikova
One of the most popular additions to wet cyanotypes is turmeric. It can also be used for anthotypes, creating images with turmeric alone. The same is true for madder. Here is an example of one of “the original wet cyanotype methods as invented by:…”

And more videos about wet cyanotypes here:



Wet cyanotype by Galina Manikova

Buy Galina Manikovas’ book “Cyanotype on glass and ceramics”

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