DIY Cyanotype Diptych Art

By Kate Riley April 3, 2017

Try saying that three times fast: cyanotype diptych cyanotype diptych cyanotype diptych. Kinda hard. But this art project sure wasn’t! My favorite kinds of DIY projects are ones that are cheap and chic and this one definitely qualifies.

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that dates back to the mid-1800s, it uses the power of the sun to create an image on special paper. Historically, a diptych describes two plates that are hinged together and the term is used in design to describe two pieces of art that complete each other. Although these pieces could easily stand on their own, I still like to use the fancy word :)

Anyway, this was a really easy DIY project and if you love blue and botanicals like I do, this one’s for you!




You have to start with the right paper of course since the creation of this art requires a chemical process that occurs in sun exposure. I ordered mine from the Cyanotype Store, specifically the large piece of 26 x 30” paper. To make my design, I clipped a few pieces of bamboo ferns from a plant.




The light green treated paper arrives in a dark black plastic cover because it will react to light. I already had two thin gold frames to use so I cut the paper to fit them and placed my design on the treated paper, and used the glass from the frame to hold the leaves in place.


When you place it in the sun it immediately starts reacting to the sunlight. I followed the included directions and left mine in the sun for 20 minutes to achieve a dark blue.


After 20 minutes, I removed it from the sun and rinsed the paper under water. Wow! Loved seeing the design come to life as the paper turned dark blue and the leaves turned white.

I allowed the paper to dry overnight on an old towel and they were ready to frame the next day.


I’m so pleased with the result!!



 The cyanotype diptych hangs in the study for now but I do have another place in mind for them in the future.



I loved how inexpensive my DIY art was to make. You can pay over $500 for a set of four cyanotype prints at Pottery Barn, so pretty but pricey.



These two Emily Jefford’s prints are for sale at One King’s Lane for $399:


And a few more cyanotype style works of art to inspire!



crafters box





framed art



What do you think? Want to give it a try for yourself? It’s easy and fun and looks so great!


  1. It’s been so cloudy here for so long. Can this be done on a cloudy day? Or is it better to wait until we get some sun again?

  2. I’ve got my paper and I’m waiting for a sunny day. I have a couple questions. Do you put them outside or inside in front of a sunny window? Next, when you open the package to get a sheet out, should you do it in a dark room? Also, how do you then protect the other pages still in the package? Is putting them back in the cardboard container they came in good enough or would maybe a black garbage bag be better? Thanks for your help.

  3. Great art project! I did this in my sons room, except we used action figures, dinos, cars…Fun project.

  4. Love your diptych art! Where did you get this idea??? As a DIY’er, I wanna make it ASAP, I think it would be perfect in my house!

  5. Can I trace or draw pictures on regular paper and then cut them out, instead of using real leaves? Maybe pictures of shells, leaves, pineapples?

  6. Oooo it’s looking so beautiful thank you for sharing that think how you make it. It’s helped me and others how to decor our home.

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