Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cyanotype Sun Dyeing (Etsy)

A post on Tuesday! How odd! Not to alarm you, but I just wanted to share the results of my latest dyeing experiment.  I made 3 sets of onesies using flowers and plants from the Texas spring bloom and Sun Reactive Dye.  I've put them in my Etsy shop if anyone would like one (or two!)

You can see in this image how the dyeing process works.  I work inside in low-light conditions, similar to developing photos, to apply to dye and place the botanicals where I want them. The dye goes on completely clear.  A pane of glass helps hold everything in places while it is exposed to the sunlight for ten minutes outside.  

Where the dye is exposed to sunlight it "activates", fading slowly from clear to tan to purple and into a deep indigo.  Wherever the sunlight is blocked the dye remains invisible and is able to be washed out with a special detergent.  Using objects that are taller or more 3-dimensional can create shades  with different degrees of blue-ness.

This is a really fun method of dyeing. I like all the variables that the "natural" elements bring.  If a cloud passes over while I'm exposing the blue may come out lighter, or later in the day when the sun moves fast the edges of the image become less distinct.

For some of the more delicate images, like these pink flowers, I placed them down with tweezers.  The cats were *way* too helpful with this as you can imagine.  The presence of plants inside the house was too much for them to pass up.  

If any of you would like one of these for your family or as a gift I made 12 in a variety of sizes and they are listed for sale in my Etsy shop.  (FYI - Sales from Etsy don't support CiL (except indirectly, as they support me)).  I have ordered some more dye and looking forward to playing more soon!


  1. Best of luck on your sales, Kat! The onesies turned out beautifully.

  2. That process of dyeing is very new to me. You are so talented & those sweet onesies are so pretty. Hope you have lots of orders for these & other things in your Etsy shop. Thanks for sharing the technique with us.