Thursday, January 21, 2021

Printing Botanical Cyanotypes on Silk with StencilGirl® Stencils

Hello there! Shari Replogle here! I love incorporating botanical printmaking into my encaustic art, and because I am also a photographer, and my favorite color is blue, cyanotypes were a match made in heaven for me!  Cyanotypes are a camera less alternative photographic process that traditionally will produce beautiful rich blue tones when the sensitized substrate is exposed to sunlight or other UV light. They have been both a passion and obsession of mine for a while now. My main art medium is encaustic, painting with beeswax and damar resin. I mount many of my finished cyanotype prints onto wood panels and incorporate them into encaustic paintings like I do with my photographs. 

My favorite go-to stencils from StencilGirl® are often by Trish McKinney. Her wispy branches and roots go right along with my natural botanical motifs. When I saw StencilGirl® made a giant Wisteria stencil my heart raced, and I knew it had to be interlaced into a natural botanical cyanotype on silk! This project can be used as a beautiful one of a kind art to wear silk scarf or embedded onto an encaustic wax panel like I show in the video. 

 It is January right now and the weather where I am at is not optimal, so for this project I use an indoor UV light to expose my scarves. This also enabled me to show you the full process of how they change color as they are exposed to the UV lights. Once the sensitizer is applied to the scarf it can begin exposing immediately if you are around any window or indoor lights that produce UV light. If you are not ready to arrange your stencil and botanicals, put the scarf in a black trash bag until you are ready to begin. Cyanotypes can either be done wet or dry. Wet cyanotypes will require a longer exposure time. 

Once the printing process is done the scarf will oxidize and the blues will become richer over

the next couple of days. I stained a 12" x 36" panel with natural walnut ink and add a few layers of clear encaustic medium, fusing with a heat gun between each layer to ensure each wax layer is bonded to the ones below. The silk scarf is then added with additional layers of encaustic medium fusing again with a heat gun. This cyanotype piece was finished with layers of oil pigment sticks rubbed into the wax surface to create a little more depth and unify the piece. 

The StencilGirl® stencil I used for this project is Wisteria Giant.
The sensitizer is a 2 part cyanotype kit from Jacquard 
The UV light used was an Everbeam 365nm 50W UV LED Black Light   

Thanks so much for joining me today and I hope you have a lot of fun with this! 
Xo and Happy Creating!

Shari Replogle is an artist, photographer, and host of Wax on Wednesdays Encaustic Painting on YouTube. She has a new online workshop for Cyanotype printing, "Cyanotypes the Magic of Alternative Photography.”

YouTube channel
Cyanotype workshop


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Tanya I hope you have fun with this one !

  2. What a wonderful video. The project was fantastic, demo, music and the filming were all incredible. Did your daughter film this? Strong creative genes in your family. Thanks so much for sharing all that you do. Your videos are so appreciated.

    1. Thank you so very much ! Yes she did film and direct this one :)

  3. Love this piece Shari. I tried using stencils when you first introduced us to Cyanotypes. It was actually this same one only smaller and I didn't get a good print. I will try spray painting it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Diane ! Yes paint the stencil so that the light doesn't penetrate . Have lots of fun !

  4. So Beautiful !!! I love this !!!


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