Instructables

How to develop a photo using blueprint paper and Windex

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Step 1: Grab a container

Order some take-out and rip the lid of the styrofoam container.

Step 2: Fill with Windex

Pour adequate amount of Windex glass cleaner into container lid.

Step 3: Rack

Find something that you can set your paper on so it doesn't get wet but still absorbs the Windex fumes.

Step 4: Plastic bag

Place inside plastic bag so the fumes are contained.

Step 5: Grab a print

Find a nice black and white photograph that you will use for the contact printing.

Step 6: Diazo paper

You will need some blueprint diazo paper. I found mine on ebay for six dollars.

Step 7: Stack them

Place the blueprint paper sensitive side up on a flat surface. Then place the black and white photo face down.

Step 8: Sandwich

Sandwich with a piece of clear glass.

Step 9: Expose

Place in DIRECT sunlight for 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 10: Check paper

After you have exposed for 4 to 5 minutes you should see some discoloration that resembles your image.

Step 11: Develop

Place paper sensitive side down on the rack in plastic sack for 5 minutes or more. Make sure to close the plastic bag so the fumes stay in.

Step 12: Done

Enjoy your Windex print.
Limekiller1 year ago
For a bit of clarification on this for others. Ammonia fumes are what make the blueprint paper change to blue. Anything, such as Windex in this case, that contains enough ammonia you can smell would work. An ammonia-free glass cleaner would not work. The stronger the ammonia smell, the faster it will develop. The anhydrous ammonia these papers are designed to work with is VERY strong, and only takes a few seconds to react.

To answer an old question here, there is nothing needed to "fix" the image. Once away from ammonia fumes, the developing stops. If not developed long enough, and any yellow remains, it will turn white quickly in light. Exposure to sunlight will cause the blue to fade though. It was pretty common for the top page of a set of blueprints on a jobsite to be pretty faded by the time the job was complete. Thus, cover sheets were common. You'd want to use a UV filtering glass if you framed one of these. Properly cared for, they last well. My dad's architectural firm archive has prints 50 years old that still look great.
glabs1233 years ago
Is there a way to fix the image once it is developed? In other words, how an you prevent it from fading when exposed to light?
Yokel4 years ago
To everyone above asking about changing the colour by adding dye/food colour &c. ,,, the blueprints aren't blue because of the blue windex ... they're blue because that's the blue in 'blue'print. The blueprint paper is what makes the image blue, not the chemicals. :) Therefore the blueprint.
cloclo1094 years ago
 and that discoloration turns blue?
junov166 years ago
where can I get diazo paper to buy? So far no one seems to know what I am talking about.
Derin junov166 years ago
he said it:ebay
zyg0te8 years ago
Does the black and white picture have to be on photopaper, or could I just print something from my laser printer and have the same effect?
Yes. And if you want to be fancy when making your own contact prints, print on transparency plastic. Be sure to print a positive image.
shuffle28 years ago
I take it that windex has lots of ammonia in it?
The solvent in windex is ammonia. Everything else just makes it smell nice (and makes it blue).
What if we just used regular kitchen dye to change the color of the windex? would it possibly change the color of the picture?
The windex is not making the blueprint paper blue, it is merely a source of ammonia. Any household ammonia will work.
could you put blueprint paper in a pinhole camera?
Yes, but it would take a very very very long time to give you an image. Check out www.blueprintphotography.com.
Nice Mark, reminds me of the time I made a blueprint paper camera, would you believe six hour exposures? This is a much better idea.
I've been taking photos like this for a while now, but the one thing I can't figure out is how to stop the developing. If you leave the photo aboce exposed to light, it fades, and the brilliant blue contrasts all go away, and the paper yellows. Does anyone have a means of keeping the paper from doing this?
In printing you have to use fixer, try buying a small bottle of rapid fixer from bhphotovideo.com.
What about a stopbath? Lemon juice works for this.
that is pretty awesome!
Oh that just completely blew my mind. But can it be done with color photos?
markgutierrez (author)  ashleywalker337 years ago
High contrast color photos may work. Give it a try.
when you put the papers on top of eachother do you need to do it in the dark and also can you do this under an enlarger?
markgutierrez (author)  buildingteen7 years ago
you don't have to do it in the dark...just be quick. you can use an enlarger. some people use a 30in blueprint paper and expose it with a slide projector.
lilpat647 years ago
could you just use plan old ammonia--or would that affect the outcome of the picture--if so, I would think that some food color would work
Kactapuss8 years ago
hahaha, my big fat greek wedding? wow, this is a neat idea, now, this blueprint paper? would this be everyday blueprint paper for say drawing up blueprints on? that i could procure from constuction zone dumpsters?
anything you found in a dumpster would already be exposed and therfore useless for this project.
xrobevansx8 years ago
so you start with a developed photo and end up with a one-color print? Why not scan it and photoshop it to look like the end-result. Probably much less time consuming. PS_ they are called "blueprints" b/c years ago before large-scale Photocopiers were around, you had to use a machine that "copied" your architectural drawings to paper that, after developed, left any drawings/text/basically anything black on your drawings in a blue color on white paper. I hat 3 years of architectural drawing from 1987-1991 and we used one of these machines in class.
zappymax8 years ago
reading the details of the process described upthere, i suppose the rack (inox) could produce a few lines where the steel rods are supporting the -even low- weight of the diazo paper or blocking partially the fumes to be absorbed in the paper where the lines of the rack are under it. just if this paper is not "moved" during the fumigation... could also use a kind of rectangular steel piece with 4 small clips or any fixation on the 4 corners, to avoid such lines on the result. or use a larger diazo sheet than the original, and grap/pin the ends over the borders of the squared metallic frame. simpler. Zoum zoum
zappymax8 years ago
the idea is used in architectural design, mean for copying BluePrints... i suppose the Blueprint name comes from the same color of the finished product on plans and diagrams. also some alcohool "stencil" machine like Gestetner - but not those using typing (without color ribbon) on a special sheet through wich a black (or any color ink) passes to the paper - were using a similar idea. producing (reproducing) also blue print of texts. a cheap way of reproducing 50 years ago, or more... and still used now. still remember the smell of the finished - printed paper (generally glossy) Actually i saw a few days ago , in a Public Register Office , a clerk using a kind of plastic plate, on wich a text is copyed by contact using the same "blue ink" method (but not windex...) to be reproduced on the blank page of the registrar book . It eventually reproduces a few time the same text on different blanks, so to avoid the repetition of typing. but permits also to print inside a book. and on curved surface. giving complete authenticity for results. the original text is typed probably with a special anilintype blue ink, and a kind of alcohool is extended on the original, a plastic plate placed on top, and the plate (with the inverted text) goes to the blanket... Et voila. if the book page is curved, the plastic plate follows the curb... can you do that printing with Photoshop ?
all_thumbs8 years ago
Very instructable indeed! Just the right spirit!
catcher288 years ago
Very cool I'm going to try that eventualy
any way to do this with other colers perhaps die the windex?? i duno
No good... the colour change is due to the amonia in the Windex interacting with the areas of the blueprint paper that were _not_ exposed to the sunlight. Amonia + whatever chemical makes blue.
Scurl!8 years ago
yeah, this is really cool. i guess windex really IS good for everything...
Von Klaus8 years ago
Awesome!!