X-ray cyanotype print

Inspired by our X-ray images held in our collection we decided to experiment with cyanotype (or sun print). Cyanotype is a printing process that uses light sensitive ink to create a shadow image onto paper. These images resemble those of x-rays.

You will need

  • Cyanotype paper (also know as sun print paper)
  • Grasses, leaves, flowers with interesting shapes. Think about how transparent your objects are. We used some skeleton dry leaves and some wire shaped into flowers.
  • Access to water and place for your print to dry
  • Sunny day!


  1. Place a flower, leaf or grasses onto a sun print sheet of paper
  2. Leave for a while (the instructions will suggest timings)
  3. Rinse the paper in water and your design is revealed!
  4. Once dried out your print will be really good for making greatings cards, scrapbooks and collages.


Other tips and ideas

  • If you don’t want to buy sun print paper you can also use cheap sugar paper. Leave on a sunny window sill with some dried leaves or objects (make sure they can’t move or blow around) After a few weeks the sun will have faded the exposed paper. The paper beneath the object remains the original colour.
  • Experiment with different coloured sugar paper. Do some colours fade faster than others?
  • Why not try our X-ray painting with light activity or X-ray calligraphy activity


Download X-ray cyanotype print activity sheet (pdf)

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