Screenshot of my Anthotype Pinterest Board

Screenshot of my Anthotype Pinterest Board

Sadly enough, I believe that Wikipedia gives the best straightforward description of an anthotype.

“An anthotype is an image created using photosensitive material from plants. This process was originally invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842. An emulsion is made from crushed flower petals or any other light-sensitive plant, fruit or vegetable. A coated sheet of paper is then dried. Place some material, for example leaves or a transparent photo positive on the paper and expose to direct full sun-light until the image is bleached out by the sun rays. The color remains or fades in the shadowed parts. The paper remains sensitive against such rays.”

For our second alternative photographic process, we experimented with many different types of pureed vegetations. Everyone brought a sample or two of plant life and we then processed to mash it or blend it to a pulp using a mortar and pestle or a small blender such as a bullet or ninja. We made sure that if we were using Denatured Alcohol or any poisonous plants we marked the equipment “poison” so that we would never us it with food. In case of consumption the Poison hotline number is: 1-800-222-1222.

I brought frozen cranberries,  a mixture of boiled-down onion skins, and coffee that I made that morning.

Here is the recipe for using onion skins as a dye/emulsion.


  • 2 cups of water
  • 4-6 large yellow onions that have brown outer skin.
  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Slightly reduce temperature (Med. heat)
  3. Take the outer layer of the onion (brown skin) and submerge in boiling water.
  4. Watch and keep on the boiling until the water turns an dark orange / brown.
  5. Pour into non-metal container.

I boiled mine for about an hour and I ended up with about 1/2 cup of liquid.  I then poured it into an empty water bottle for storage until I was ready to use.

Onion Skins Boiling

Onion Skins Boiling

Mixtures / Emulsions

The cranberry mixture was done using a blender and just adding water until I got a slushy consistency.

It was then strained using a very fine-meshed colander. I then mixed half of it with water and then half of the mixture with Denatured Alcohol.

Anthotype work area

Work area (Ninja blender for editable emulsions. pre-made emulsions in water bottles, glass frame presses.)

Test Strips

Test Strips (water based and alchohol based cranberry emulsion.)

Test Strips (water based and alchohol based cranberry emulsion.)

Painting on Emulsion

Once I saw the type of results I would get on the two different types of paper (Arches Platine andStonehenge), I  proceeded to apply the emulsion to my paper.

Onion skin emulsion and cranberry emulsion.

Onion skin emulsion and cranberry emulsion.


Next I took random cut letters that I had from a previous project and arranged them on top of my dried emulsion. I also used a positive film that I borrowed from a classmate. Since at this point I know I want to use type; however, I’m just not sure how and to what end. The next step was to clamp my arranged image under the glass and then let it sit out in the sun.


Currently, I am on day 5 of sun exposure. I do not want to bleach the sun exposed area completely to white, so I will probably reveal my pieces from Thursdays Anthotype process soon. I have also decided on a direction to continue with this and other APP methods and will be implementing them shortly.