Protect Your Cyanotypes Without a Frame - 3 easy methods | Ben Panter | Skillshare

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Protect Your Cyanotypes Without a Frame - 3 easy methods

teacher avatar Ben Panter, Alternative Photography & Game Making

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      What is Archival?


    • 4.

      Renaissance Wax


    • 5.

      Mod Podge


    • 6.

      Spray Coat


    • 7.

      Final Analysis


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About This Class

This class is all about exploring 3 easy ways of protecting your finished cyanotype photo prints without just sticking them in a frame. Now, there's nothing wrong with framing your cyanotypes, but I often find that I'd rather have them out in the open, without the pane of glass between the print and the viewer. But this exposes my prints and is likely to cause longevity issues simply due to the prints being exposed to air, humidity and light.

So all 3 of these methods create a thing coat over the surface of your print so it will be more protected from regular wear and tear. These also have the added benefit of being able to change the surface of your final print. If you like the matte texture of your paper as it is, there's some good options, but if you want a glossier, more luminous finish, then you'll also have some options.

Need an introduction to the Cyanotype Process? Check out my other classes that walk through the basics in more detail.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ben Panter

Alternative Photography & Game Making


My name is Ben Panter and I am an artist, professor and game-maker. My art is photography based and I enjoy experimenting with and combining new and old media. I've been honored to have several artist residencies through the National Park System over the past few years, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Acadia National Park.

I've also been designing board games for about a decade now. Like many in the field, I started out very casually, but have more recently committed to creating a more steady flow of games. I especially believe in helping others enjoy game design as a hobby unto itself, and through my classes on skillshare I hope to make it accessible for more people.

You can view more of my photography work on my website,, and follow me on Instagr... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hi there. My name is Ben. I'm an artist and professor and welcome to this class, three ways to protect your cyanotype prints without a frame. I've made a lot of classes so far about how to make beautiful prints from scratch, how to mix your chemistry, how to make good negatives, how to experiment with wet cyanotype with toning, but now in this class, we're going to do something a little different. We're going to talk about how to protect your finished prints. Once you have these beautiful prints that you love, how do you protect them to make sure they last? In this class, we're going to talk about three methods that will add a little bit of durability to your prints. Well, not just saying that you have to put them in a frame if you want them to last. When you choose to use one of these three methods, it's going to allow you to protect your print, which is great, but there can also be some added benefit. All three of these will change the surface of the finished print, and in most cases, it can add either a little or a lot of a luster or a little bit of a gloss back into the print, which is that quality that we often feel we lose when the print dries. By using these methods, we can not only protect the prints, we can also add just a hint of that luster back in that'll bring these prints back to life. If you're like me, you really enjoy the tactile quality of these cyanotypes, the hands-on nature of the process and then the finished print. I don't want to put it behind glass in a frame, I like keeping the paper out where I can hand it to people when they can look at it themselves. But that means there's the danger of them getting damaged or of getting smudged over time. Using one of these methods is crucial to making sure my prints last. I'm excited to be showing you these methods so that you can make your beautiful cyanotype photography prints last for a lifetime. I'll see you in the next video where we talk about the supplies [MUSIC]. 2. Supplies: [MUSIC] Hi there, and welcome back to this class where we're going to be talking about how to protect your finished cyanotype prints. In this video, we're talking about some of the supplies you will need. Like a lot of my videos, I'm actually going to be presenting a few ways to protect your prints. Obviously, you don't have to buy all this stuff. You can watch the videos, see which one you think works best for you, and then just get those supplies. Let's go ahead and jump right in to what you will need. I'll start with the three methods first and then some other things. One of the methods we're going to be doing is with spraying. I have two things; I have a krylon UV resistant clear acrylic coating. Krylon is a brand [NOISE] that's very trusted by artists to be archival, to be really high-quality. I would recommend their stuff. Of course, there's other competitors out there and depending on the store that's in your local area, you might find something that's equivalent but not krylon. But this is acrylic coating. This one specifically is UV resistant and this is a gloss coating. You can get this in different finishes. You could get matte if you wanted to try for that, but we're going to be looking at the gloss. The other option we have that we're going to be looking at again by krylon, is a Kamar Varnish. This is a varnish, for technical reasons, slightly different than an acrylic coating. Artists use this tends to be for fixing charcoal or pastel work, but this could easily get used in our context of cyanotype as well. It's going to create a protective coat over that, so we're going to be experimenting with both. Again, you can find the one that you think works best in your scenario. The next one we have is this little container right here. You might even have a hard time reading if I can get this to show up correctly. This is called Renaissance Wax. It's a Renaissance Microcrystalline Wax polish. This is stuff I'd got turned on to recently as a way of protecting the surface of your prints, as well as reintroducing some of that slight luster that your prints might lose after they dry. They come out of the wash and they look really rich just because the surface of the paper is still wet and then they might flatten out a little bit. With all of these methods, you might reintroduce some of that and this is one more that I've been trying recently. It's really interesting, has a very different technique than the others and you might find that you like it. This is Renaissance Microcrystalline Wax polish. I got it off of Amazon and I'm interested to show this to you. Last but not least, is of course Mod Podge. Mod Podge or the other one that I feel like would be equivalent, I just don't have any on hand, would be acrylic medium, gel medium, something like that. They make this stuff in all different kinds of finishes and textures. I have here gloss luster. This is going to intentionally be adding some gloss to the finished print. Of course you can get it more matte if that's what you prefer. Again, these are the three main methods we're trying out to see which works best for you. As far as other things you're going to need for this class, well, in order to work with the Mod Podge, you're going to need some foam brush or just the regular flat brush can work, and we'll look at the difference of why you might choose one over the other. You're going to need some finished prints. I have some older ones that I've done. You might recognize these from other classes; regular prints, I have some toned prints, some wet cyanotype and I'm going to be trying them. They're on different weights of paper as well, so we'll be able to see if there's a difference there. You should have some finished prints that you want to try these out. With everything, you want to try it on a print that isn't your absolute favorite print first before you commit to completely using any of these methods because your specific paper might react slightly differently than it does in my video. Make sure you have some prints to test things out on. It should be ones that had been dry for a long time, probably hardened at least 24 hours in order for them to be stable enough to seal in there with these methods. Then you might need some other superfluous stuff like tape or cardboard depending on how you're going to end up following some of these methods. That's all we have for the supplies, it's fairly easy. All of these are easy to get either from local hobby or art stores or to get through Amazon, and I have all the links in the description of the class. Let's go ahead and jump into the next video where we're going to be going through one of these methods. [MUSIC] 3. What is Archival?: [MUSIC] Hi there and welcome back. Before we jump into actually doing some of these processes to protect our prints, I wanted to first talk about the archival quality of cyanotypes to make sure that we're all on the same page of steps we can take or things we can do in order to make your prints last as long as possible, because ultimately, this class is about protecting your prints so that they last. We're going to be talking about the final steps you can be taking in this class. But I want to start here in this video just with what's the first things you should be doing. The process itself of cyanotype is very stable, meaning it's not going to degrade over time, but like many things, you do have to properly take care of it. You need to make sure that you're keeping it out of direct sunlight, that it's not in a highly humid situation, things like that. That's pretty normal for most artwork that you would hang on the wall. As you know, if you take care of prints, they will last a long time. In fact, we still have prints from the 1800s back when this was first invented, and they've been protected, pressed inside books, and they still look really good today. This is an archival process, as long as you take the proper precautions. What are some of those precautions? Well, you want to be using acid free paper. I recommend a good quality, maybe not great quality, but at least good quality acid free watercolor paper that's going to hold up to multiple washings, that's going to have a surface that you like this on, and it being acid free means that it's not going to yellow over time. It's going to maintain a nice white base for your print. That's one really important thing. The quality of the water you're using with rinsing, you want to make sure that it is as pure as possible. Now in all honesty, most of my prints I end up using tap water. That is good enough for my needs. But if you want to take every precaution of making sure it is archival cranked to 11, then that's something you might want to consider using purified water to take out any contaminants that are going to degrade your print over time. Then I've done a few classes now on wet cyanotype, on toning, and just know that anything else you are adding to your print, whether it's to the cyanotype chemicals themselves or adding after the fact. All of that is going to generally lower its archival quality. Now it's not necessarily means that it's not going to last at all. It still could last 100 years, but it's anything you're introducing outside the parameters of normal cyanotype has the potential to mess with that stability. Personally, that doesn't bother me. I'm not making artwork for 100 years from now. I'm making it to enjoy now. As long as it is giving me the visual results I want and it's not going to erase within the next five years, then I think we're good. Those are some of the archival things to consider from the get-go. Now, once your print is made, of course the enemy is, as I said before, is going to be humidity, light, UV rays, fingerprints, dirt, stuff like that. How can you go about protecting? Well, one of the prime ways that people use is by putting it inside a frame, so you frame it up. That's not exactly her medically seals, but it seals it behind the glass. If that is UV treated glass, well, that's going to protect it from the UV light, and so that will go a long way towards protecting your work. But I just have one problem with that, and that is I don't necessarily like my prints behind the glass. It's a very tactile hands-on process, and I like the finished results to be as close to the viewer as possible, to not have that pane of glass between them and the work. For me, I don't like having my prints framed. To me, it just creates an extra barrier that doesn't help the prints, and so I normally, if at all possible, try to avoid framing my work. That means that I don't have that extra layer of protection. How can we then make sure our prints are as protected as possible? That's what this class is all about. These three methods are just the three of probably many possibilities where I can coat the surface, where if someone picks it up, they're not going to leave their fingerprints on it. Or if they do leave fingerprints, that's something I could remove with a little care or it's going to possibly give some UV protection or moisture protection. Things like that are going to help extend the life of my prints as long as possible. Well, not just saying, well, it has to be kept in a dim room or it has to be framed behind glass the entire time. I just wanted to take these few minutes to again talk about if the archival quality matters, the fact that this print is going to last, then these are the steps that you can be reminding yourself as you go along to be taking, to be considered. But most of all, just take steps to make prints that people love. [MUSIC] 4. Renaissance Wax: [MUSIC] Hi there, and welcome to this video. I know I'm in a weird position here, but I think this is going to be the best way to show you what I'm working on and how I am actually using this method. The method I'm talking about this time is this, let me see if I can get this to focus here , the Renaissance wax. This stuff is really just meant to provide a wax protective coating that's very thin and is minimal gloss, it's really extremely neutral. In the times I've used that, I've honestly been hard-pressed after the fact to be able to see whether or not it's even there. One thing I forgot to mention in our supplies video is that you do need some application material and your options are either some sort soft fabric, I have a piece of cotton, just white cotton that's extremely soft, or I know other people, I've never used this myself, but I've heard of other people using those cotton pads that you can buy. Those apparently have a smooth enough texture that you can use them, but really what you want is them to be low texture. You need this to not be abrasive. But from an application standpoint, all you're going to be doing is opening this up, putting some onto the rag, just scooping it, and then lightly buffing it on. I'm starting with this standard cyanotype, [MUSIC] and you want to be working in an orderly manner because as I said, it's almost hard to see once you put it on and complete it. Working across. What's nice is that this is such a light surface that it creates that if you miss a tiny little spot, it's not going to be that big of a deal, but you do want to keep track of where you're going. I've done one row across, one through the middle, and now I'm working on this bottom part here to make sure that you're getting as even of a coding as possible. One thing that you might compare this to, or you might think of is oh, well, this is a thin layer of wax, so this is encaustic. Well, encaustic is a much more painful process to go through. It requires a huge learning curve to get right, to look exactly the way one want. Now, there's a lot more creative possibilities with it, but this is just a simple way of protecting your print. One thing I will note is that this does have quite a smell to it, a chemical smell that dissipates after a while, but you might want to work in a ventilated area if you're in a confined space. I don't believe it says that on any of the warning labels, so I'm sure it's not dangerous, but the smell is pretty strong. I think that's pretty much done. You can see right now, there's a slight gloss to it. I think once this fully hardens, that gloss will be less noticeable. From what I see, the gloss, it's not really a gloss, it's more of a slight satin that got added to this that I think certainly doesn't detract from the print at all for me. As far as texture, it's really invisible. I can't see any strokes, at least that I can pull out by looking at this closely, so it becomes this invisible layer. Let's do a couple more prints just to be sure. Here's one, you can see the before. This is a toned print. Again, you can see there's a slight reflection just off the surface of the paper. Let's see after we do this how that surface looks. Getting on, it's hard to see exactly. One thing that I have learned through doing this is, it is possible to rub too much. Especially, well, I have very soft cotton, there's a texture to it, and so if I just rub and rub, eventually you're going to start picking up paper fibers. You do want to move gently and smoothly over an area and then move on not continually rubbing over the same area. You want to make sure you do have enough wax on there so it's gliding over the surface. This is not the same as waxing a car, although it's tempting because it feels in some ways the same way. Now, we can see there's definitely slightly more of a gloss just looking at the reflection of the light, but this is a worst-case scenario with a light right there. From looking at it, again, I think if I were not told by someone that this was coded by something, I wouldn't know. As far as did it increase any of the luminosity, the luster of the print, there's something about it that seems different. I can even see up at the very edge, there's a slight difference between the paper where I got the wax and the paper where I didn't. But what I say that this is making it richer, I don't know that that's the case. Maybe that slight amount of gloss that's there, that satin is enough [MUSIC] to make it a little bit more rich, but I think they would be hard for the human eye to detect is my estimation. Let's just do one more, we can do a half and a half. I'm going to go ahead and do just half of this print, and we'll see if we can even see it side-by-side. I have a pretty hard edge right there. This wet cyanotype, a liquidy look already if they were to be a little glossier, a little more satiny, I think that would work well for these. Let's see if we can actually see that. Now, told this up. This is the side that I put the wax on and this is the side that isn't there. Do you think you can spot a difference? Again, I think there is maybe a slight amount more gloss up there, but not that much, not enough to say, oh, this looks like it was coded with something glossy. There's just a bit more sheen, a layer over it. Is it worth it? Really what we're talking about more than changing the look of your cyanotypes is protecting them. This is going to create a really thin micro thin wax layer that protects it from stuff like dust and moisture and fingerprints and stuff like that, dirt getting on there. Even if you'd say, well, the look of it is really minimal, I think you would say this could still be worth doing on prints that are going to be out, that are going to be handled. Because it does have this very neutral protective layer that has been added. By the way, I didn't mention this, I should've mentioned this earlier that this stuff is made for art. It's not made for polishing a car or something like that. It is archival, it is going to be very neutral, very safe for your artwork, whatever it is, and that is specifically why it was formulated. It's very safe stuff to be putting on your artwork. [MUSIC] Here's the finished three prints, and like I said, now that we've done it, it's extremely neutral, I really can't tell that I've used this stuff. For some of you, that might be a good thing, for some of you, that might not be a good thing. You want more of a gloss, so that's why we're going to be looking at some different effects. That's all I have for this wax. In the next video, we're going to be looking at a different medium that is going to have a much different look and effect, so let's go ahead and jump into that view. 5. Mod Podge: [MUSIC] Hey there and welcome back. In this video we're going to be looking at another way to protect your cyanotype prints, and that is by using this stuff. See see if I can get that, Mod Podge. This is the classic crafting coding. You could get other stuff too, stuff like acrylic medium and there'd be different finishes of that. There's even different finishes of this that are more of a matte, satin, luster. It's really anything, you can get gel medium with extra body or you can get thinner. But this is just the most generic, the most accessible and this is what we're going to try. Now, how are we going to apply this? Well, we have two different methods and then I'm going to go into why you might want to choose one over the other, look at different ways you can do that. First off I have some of the Mod Podge right here and I have either a regular bristle brush or a foam brush. There's reasons why we might want to use either one of those. I'm going to try both and we'll see. I'm going to try to do one with each, do really thin coats, coats that really were not seeing any brushstrokes. Then on the last one we're actually going to try to intentionally add some brushstrokes, keep some texture in there that will add maybe some visual interests. That's something you might want to play with. Let's go ahead and start with just the regular brush and I'm going to be working on this, which is one of the toned cyanotype and we'll see what effect this has. I'm going to start, just making sure I'm getting everything. What's weird with this is you're going to start and you are whiting it out. But it will dry clear and I'm realizing I need to have something so I don't paint the table here. It'll dry clear. [MUSIC] But it dry pretty quickly. In a way is like painting with Elmer's glue. The more orderly you make it the better. Just going row by row down. [MUSIC] To compare this to the wax, this is notably thicker, way thicker. You could try diluting this a little bit. But the problem with adding more moisture is I would be afraid of adding too much water, the papers starts getting warped more. You can probably flatten it out later, but that's just something I'd rather not mess with if I don't have to. This stuff dries relatively quickly. You can see over here it's already starting to get more clear, you can see it. There's definitely going to be more gloss on this. It's definitely thicker, like it's a more noticeable surface to this and as this dries, it'll get more and more clear. But let's go ahead and jump to the next one. For this I'm going to use the foam brush. I'm going to use this larger one. The foam I generally tend to like using foam brushes because I find them easier to get a smoother texture. However, this sometimes can be a challenge, so we'll see. [MUSIC] Definitely a sheen added, definitely a layer of texture. For this last one, we're going to sort add some texture. We're intentionally going to put this on pretty thick. I'm going to need some more of this. What's interesting is, what if the texture was a part of it? You can be much more painterly go with things. You can leave ridges, leave brush strokes. Of course, the challenge of this if you're using this as a protective coat not just purely aesthetic, you do still need to make sure you coat everything. You can't leave dry spots. I've got a dry spot right up here. I want to make sure I get all that and then maybe I'll go back. See my paper, this was thinner paper to begin with and this is definitely starting to curl which is a bit annoying with this part of the process. So I'd recommend if you're doing this, make sure you're using a heavier paper that is meant to deal with more water. This was like a light watercolor paper. I'm just going to leave it like that, so this is like brushstrokes galore and we're just going to wait till this dries. That's all we have for this Mod Podge or acrylic medium, test of how to protect your cyanotypes. We're going to let these dry and then we'll look at them in the final video. [MUSIC] 6. Spray Coat: [MUSIC] Hi there everyone and welcome back to this class where we are looking at ways to protect your cyanotype prints on paper. In this video, we're going to be looking at some spray acrylic or spray varnish options that might be a good choice for you, depending on what you like. First, let's talk about the options that I have here. Of course, there's some variations of these online that you might find that are available in your specific area or in a local store. Take these and look for what applies specifically to you. First option we have is this, the brand is crayon and it is a UV resistant clear acrylic coating. Why would I choose this? Well, the acrylic is really durable, it's made for coating over artwork and it has all kinds of archival quality, non-yellowing. One of the big ones for this is this also includes some UV protection. So this includes UV protection, which of course, with any artwork is important to protect against, but I think all the more so with Cyanotype since it's already a UV process, it doesn't last as long if you leave it out in sunlight. So adding that extra bit of UV protection in this acrylic coating would be important and it's extra helpful. So what is this going to do? Well, this is essentially just going to spray over the surface of the cyanotype and create a barrier layer that's going to help avoid moisture, and of course, this UV protection. That's one option. One thing to know is as I said, this is a gloss. You can get this in different finishes. So you would get Matt, you'd get satin, and krylon. The reason I've chosen them is because they have a really good reputation for this archival artwork quality. You can, of course, get spray acrylic like from the hardware store, but it's not necessarily going to be the same archival quality. So you're going to want to look for something probably from a local hobby or art store that would have those archival non-yellowing qualities on the label. The other option, is a varnish made by the same brand krylon. It's Kamar Varnish, and honestly, I couldn't tell you the difference between these from a chemical standpoint, I just know that in some circumstances artists prefer this. This is going to be more of a fixative finish that you spray over and so people might use this on a charcoal drawing or pastel. My wife specifically used it with alcohol inks. This is going to have, in many ways, the same effect except this does not have the UV protection. But again, this is acid-free, completely good for using on your artwork in an archival way. These are two options that I have confidence in, and in some cases, I would use them independently, or we've even use them together. So I might like the way that this kind of contacts the artwork and so I'd spray this on first, but I like the UV quality of this, in which case I might spray this on next. Or I might not really want the gloss as much, so maybe I would spray this on the artwork, and then spray this over top for more satin finish. These can be used individually or be combined together, and as I said, you can also get different finishes of the same acrylic coating. Let's talk about how we actually go about coating these, spraying them. Number 1 is, make sure you're doing this responsibly and that you have ventilation where you are spraying. If you are set up with a hood inside your house with ventilation, of course, that could work. But most people, this means you should probably go outside, try to get a relatively windless day so you get a nice even coating and that's going to be your best option outside that keeps your house from smelling like spray paint and it keeps your lungs safe, which is of course important. The second, let's think about how are we actually going to spray it? Because if we use tape or something to hold this down on the front edge, of course, that area wouldn't get sprayed on it and It would look uneven and it wouldn't be quite right. We need a way to tape this to a surface, and then keep that steady while we are spraying. I came up with a little solution where I can do that fairly easily. So I'm going to put that together for you right now and I'll explain to you what I'm doing as I'm doing it. Ultimately, I'm going to be attaching the artwork to this surface and this is just a solid surface. One of these container tops that I can take outside that's going to stay relatively flat and will be easy to carry stuff around on. But I don't really want this getting completely coated with the acrylic spray, so what I'm going to do is actually end up attaching the artwork to this piece of cardboard. First, I've got a few of them cut here, and then tape this cardboard down onto this. This will just give a little bit more of a barrier. Of course, if you don't care about the lead you're using or the surface you're using, you could just attach the artwork straight to there. So how do we do that? Well, this is going to be the good old grab some painter's tape, this is going to release easily after the fact, but hold fairly securely while you're doing it. I'm just going to create a couple of loops. Nothing too fancy here. I'm going to put one on that side. [MUSIC] [BACKGROUND] One on this side. Very simply I am going to take my cyanotype and press it down. That's pretty much it. Now I have this. If it wasn't windy at all outside today, I might be able to just take this out and spray it for me. There's a little bit of a breeze so I want to make sure this doesn't blow away. I'm going to go ahead and attach this tape, this whole cardboard down to this tray, and that'll make my life a little bit easier. Later on, make sure my artwork doesn't go blowing off across the yard. Just some more tape right across the corners, and there we go. One [BACKGROUND] [NOISE] and two, easy-peasy. I'm going to go ahead and do this for the other two, and as with the other examples, I have a solid blue cyanotype. I have one that was a wet process that has some other colors in there, and I have one that is also a toned print, which I think is important to try out with these methods because they tend to look a little flatter and so I want to see if coating with these methods will breathe a little bit of life, a little bit of luster back into the print. We'll see. [MUSIC] [NOISE]. So I have these ready to go. I'm going to go take them outside, and actually, what I'm going to do is a combination of methods. One of these prints I'm going to do just with the varnish. One I will do just with the acrylic coating and then one I will do some combo of the two. We'll be able to see the results of those afterwards. Let's go outside. Hey there, and welcome back. Now we are going to be actually spraying these prints. The first thing, of course, to pay attention to is make sure you follow the directions on the can itself for how to shake it, how to prepare it. Don't do it if it's so cold, so humid, all those things are important, if you want the highest quality results. Make sure you're doing that. [NOISE] I'm going to start by shaking mine up. [NOISE] For this first print, I am actually going to be using the acrylic coating. This is gloss. Up off the lid. [NOISE] Shake it up. [NOISE] I always recommend giving a little [NOISE] spritz into the air. Make sure there's nothing like clogging that is going to spit out onto your print. Then if you read the directions, you just want to say that this is doing quick, short strokes, about 8-12 inches away. You don't let it too close. It's going to pool up on the surface, and you don't want to be so far away that you are back. Before we start, of course, you just noticed I just brushed my print off. You want to make sure there's no dirt on there because once this gets on there and dries if there's dirt, it's permanently a part of your print. Make sure everything is as clean as possible and then just start getting yourself [NOISE] some quick little, I do a couple of little coats. [NOISE] I normally let it dry for a little bit just to settle. I can look at the print closely, make sure it doesn't look like I'm missing anything. Depending on the paper you have, this is adding moisture, so it might want to curl. Pay attention to that, and after that's done it's a very initial, it's on there, it's stuck. I like to do one more coat up and back. That should be pretty good. Take this, put it over to the side. The next one I'm going to do [NOISE] is this wet process print. [NOISE] I'm going to do that with the varnish. We're going to follow pretty much the same method. [NOISE] Shake it up, make sure my print is clean, give a little [NOISE]. There we go. That's a little better. Then spray [NOISE] over. [NOISE] Spray over again, 8-10 inches. You just want a nice even coat. Let that settle, then I'm going to go over it a couple more times, make sure I filled in all the gaps. [NOISE]. One more time just over everything. [NOISE] No need to overdo it. You just want to make sure everything's getting coated. Then the last one, I like the UV resistance of the acrylic coating, but I don't want it to be quite as glossy. So I'm going to then go over it with the varnish, which is supposedly a little bit less glossy. I'm going to combine these two together. Of course, if you like the gloss look in the finish that the acrylic gives you, then you could invert this. You could go over it with the varnish to seal in the print itself and then go over it with this. It's up to you. We're going to look at if we do it in this order. [NOISE] Pick this up. [NOISE] I'll tell you the fumes here are very strong. I'm really glad I'm outside doing this. Trying to do this inside would be a pretty bad idea. That put down my initial acrylic barrier. Hopefully, a layer of UV protection. Now, I'm going to come back and just seal this in with the varnish. [NOISE]. All right, and that's all you have it. With letting these dry, it's always best to let them outgassed to start drying for a while outside if possible. If you bring them inside, even though you spray it outside, your house is going to smell like this stuff on the inside because it is off-gassing, letting go of some of those chemicals. I would recommend keeping this outside for a little bit, until that first layer has gone through. Then bring this inside, let it dry, and then in the final video, we're going to be taking a look at these and compare the results we got. I'll see you there. [MUSIC] [NOISE] 7. Final Analysis: Hi there and welcome back. In this video, we're going to look at the finished prints with the different coatings on them. We're going to talk about pros and cons. What do you notice in the difference of textures and finishes? Things that I personally liked about each one, which one I actually use most of the time. All those things are going to come into play. Hopefully to help you decide which will work best for your situation. Let's go ahead and jump right in. Okay, so we're going to look at each of the techniques we used and just observe what we can see about the finish that it gave the prints, as well as how much, if any, luster did it add that it changed the surface at all? We can just go from there, make any other observations. As a control, I'll just be showing this print from time to time. This is a wet cyanotype. There's a lot of different colors and stuff, but just to see what the finish of this paper is, it's very matte. There's a slight sheen just from it being the paper it is. But not very much, very flat. So the first one we're going to look at again is this, the renaissance wax. We're going to go in the same order as we did when we were coating it. This one was first. You can see, let me see. I would almost guarantee that if you were not told that this was coated with something, you wouldn't know, that it is entirely invisible. Same thing for this. It is not like reducing quality in any way that I can see. So the question of protection is just, well, how much does this actually protect it? It gives a very thin layer of this specially formulated wax that is going to just be an extra barrier. I think it gives a decent amount of protection just from the everyday dirt and wear and tear. It's not protecting it from anything like UV. It's a low-level of protection, but it's better than nothing. Did it improve the print quality at all? Here's a different example of an untreated cyanotype, and here's one that has that wax applied. If there is any luster added, it is very faint. Same thing with any amount of gloss that's been added. It's so faint as to be imperceptible. I would have to have two exactly identical prints side-by-side to see if there is any difference at all. I really would say no, there was no visual difference that this method is using. If you want it just to be protected, but with no discernible difference, this might be a good method for you. I think the application is very straightforward and there is something about the manual process that feels like it fits with cyanotype. The fact that your hand buffing this wax into the paper. It feels a little more wholesome, I guess would be the word it feels like it's a part of this sort of process. By the way I didn't mention the smell is pretty strong when you're using it, but at this point, it's still there, but it's definitely dissipated quite a lot and I am sure it's going to continue to dissipate where you're not going to notice it at all. I have prints I've done a while ago that it's not noticeable at all. If you remember this print, I did part of it with the wax and part of it without. Looking at this now, to me, again, I cannot see a difference. There is no more line where there's wax and then not wax. This is a very neutral process. Let's move on to the next one, which is not as neutral. This one is mod podge. But again, of course, you could use any sort of gel medium, acrylic medium. Honestly that's my big takeaway from this one is that if I were going to use this more regularly, I would want to get a matte gel medium that's a little bit thinner, meaning there's a little more liquid in it so that it would spread more evenly. I don't know all the options that are out there for that. I'm assuming that exist or if it doesn't exist, there is like a smoothing additive you can add to acrylics as well. That's what I would say because when you look at these well first, very glossy, there's definitely a gloss that has been added. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It has sort of livened up and the print in a way, if you put this next to the one with a wax. The one with the mod podge does look like there's livelier tones. It's a different print from the get-go. Of course it's going to be slightly different. But to me, it does have that fresh out of the rinse quality that you might want. Here's the other one. By the way, this is the one that was applied with a brush. I was trying to go as smooth as possible. There's still definitely brush marks on this that you can probably see if the light is just right. It's fairly smooth, fairly neutral until you get close and you start analyzing it, then you can see them. Here's the other one. This one is the one I applied with the with the foam brush. This one, it was tougher since it was bigger, it was a little tougher to get smoother. There's a few imperfections in here like a spot that I see I missed just because it's a clear medium going onto a print, so it's easy to miss a spot. Again, I think some of this would have helped if, rather than the generic mod podge, if I went for something a little more specific in the gel medium category, it would be easier to get the results I want. But still, again, this is fairly neutral, w ith that gloss fairly flat. There are some brush marks on there, so it's going to be more noticeable in your print. However, I think there's a fair amount of protection added like a certainly I don't feel like the paper is in danger of rubbing off at all, are getting damaged because of this layer of mod podge that's on there. Then last I experimented with the brush intentionally leaving some more brush marks. And if I get this and close here where you can see like there's depth and brush mark on there. Of course it's still dries clear. This looks really rich. I think on a scale of most to least I don't know what scale to use exactly. This one. This method with the mod podge and I had this same would be true for gel medium is the one that adds the most like wet quality that luster getting added back into the print. If that's what you're looking for, this is the method that would be what you would want to experiment with the most. If you want no texture, if you want to as smooth as possible, well then you might need to go and find something a little more specific than just generic mod podge, go find the mat and add a little bit more liquid or add a thinner medium to it to make sure it goes on smooth and dries level, something like that could work. I think something along these lines might be your best option for adding that wet quality back into the finished print. For me I don't think I would continue to use this though I have used it before. I wouldn't continue to use this just as a protective layer. Now if I were going to be doing things where there is mixed media or maybe doing wet cyanotypes, I think maybe it could work well with wet cyanotypes adding some gesture stroke into the finished surface. I think that could be a nice combination. It's not personally my favorite but I could see someone using it well and in a way you can treat it like its own surface on top of the surface of the cyanotype and if that sounds interesting to you well then I think you could get some uniquely beautiful results. Last we have our various sprays. We have the acrylic coating, UV resistant, we have the varnish and then we did a combo. I was worried about the gloss because I generally don't like the glossy surfaces, I want them to be more on the [inaudible] side but I still want it to be rich. But this one was double coated with the gloss and you can see the amount of gloss is going to be slightly more than an original untreated print but not that much, it's still very neutral. Maybe I could have gone another layer or two to make sure this print had more protection but I did two even but light coats. I feel like there's a layer of protection here from looking at it up close and then this is 100 percent transparent. Again very similar to the way the waxes that if you are not told that this was protected or treated in some way you would not be able to tell for sure. That is the acrylic coating. Next on this one we did the varnish. This one again I know it gets used as fixative for artwork that might get smudged or something like that, so this one it's interesting the quality of it. Even though it's a 100 percent dry it's not sticky but there's a texture to it that is different than the other ones which is interesting. When you look at it it's mostly neutral. There is a similar amount of gloss I would say to the others meaning it's slightly there maybe even slightly more gloss with this one. But there is a bit of a texture. Now depending on the paper you have I think it would be maybe less noticeable. I have a fairly smooth paper here in it, there's almost a slight hobbling texture that's going on just because of the way it was sprayed on I guess and the way this interacts with the paper. Again it's not unpleasant and it's not necessarily distracting but it isn't just the paper itself. It definitely is some other thing and from a luster standpoint it gives a little bit of a shine, a little bit almost of like a it makes me think of an iridescent quality which again in the right print use the right way could I think be very nice. This is one that I think I would go-to if I want that glossy feel or a little bit of that luminescent feel but I don't want any texture like the gel medium might have. Because there's something that isn't just a gloss, like we haven't just coated over this with a heavy layer of gloss. There's something like it almost feels like the part of the print. So again that's the Kmart varnish and then last we did a combo of the two. First we did the UV resistance and then finished it with the varnish and I would say mostly what I'm noticing here is that that varnish finish, it's still is that iridescent look and again it's not unpleasant in terms of, has this gotten anymore depth, anymore luster to this relatively flat print? It's impossible to say for certain, but I would say that that little bit of iridescent shine does give the image a little bit more depth in my estimation. Now of course if you're in a brightly lit room or this is going to be mounted in a way with a light behind it there's disadvantages to it being a little bit glossy as well so I wouldn't do this necessarily to every print. But there is I think especially with this one some unique quality that the finished print ends up with that is not just gloss but does add a little bit of richness. For these I would say one for ease of use like this certainly is much faster to apply as long as you have a place that's ventilated or outdoors that you can easily be applying. I feel the most confident that these are going to be easily coated and evenly coated every time I do it and so for that reason I tend to use this when I want to protect my prints a little bit more. This either a combination of one or the other is my go-to with a spray can. My backup when I want it especially on smaller prints if I want just a very hands-on experience I would use something like the Renaissance wax and if I'm going for something a little more heavy handed, something that I want with that super high gloss that I want then I would go with something along this line or along like a gel medium acrylic. Thanks so much for taking this class with me. I've really enjoyed presenting this information and I hope it really helps you make your prints last. Remember that as you participate in this class I'd love to see images of your work. I'd love to see your finished prints that you are protecting in one of these three ways. Make sure you add a project, leave comments, I'd give you feedback, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them. Thanks so much for participating. If you want to learn more about cyanotype and other creative methods be sure you go and check out my profile. I'm always adding new classes. I'm really excited to be gathering together this community of people that love making this alternative photographic prints of cyanotype. I'll see you in the next class.