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Selenium Toning for Van Dyke brown and Kallitype print

Viraggio al Selenio per stampe Van Dyke e Callitipia antiche tecniche fotografiche

Selenium toning  for Van Dyke  and Kallitype prints

Selenium toning gives a consistent tone variation. The cyanotypes range from brown to red-brown. For the Van Dyke prints, the selenium toner tends to turn them to a pleasant chocolate-tone. If you extend the duration of the immersion you can obtain yellow-brown tones.

The toner formula is simple, but the procedure is quite elaborate, and the selenium powder must be handled with care. This is why you are provided with the ready made toner, available in our website. For those who have the possibility to prepare the toner in safe conditions, we describe the procedure.

Toner preparation

Necessary components :

sodium sulphate anhydrous                                          150gr

Selenium powder                                                            6gr

Ammonium chloride                                                     190gr

Demineralized water                                                   1000ml

Preparation of the solution:

Dissolve the sodium sulphate in 700ml of demineralized water. Add the selenium powder and bring to a boil until the selenium will be fully dissolved.

Let the solution cool down, then add the ammonium chloride that will dissolve when you shake the solution. Add water to bring the solution to 1 liter: this is the stock solution.

Use the stock solution diluted with 5 parts of demineralized water.

Print toning

You proceed with the toning after the print has been fixed and washed thoroughly.

Let the print sit in the bath until you obtain the desired effect. Afterwords you slide it into a 3% thyosulfate bath for 3 minutes, then wash it under running water for 60 more minutes.

If you have to apply the toner on a dry print, it is best that you first soak it in water and then you slide it in the toner.

Due the difficulties in preparing this solution, we supply it ready in quantity of 1000ml. Those, who would like to prepare it by themselves, can buy the required chemicals on this website.

Chemical products used in this procedure are to be considered toxic and non-suitable for human or animal consumption. As a user you must be aware of the risks and take care to protect the environment. Never dispose of chemical waste in a domestic sewage or with common garbage. For a correct disposal please see your local disposal. 


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