Albumen PrintingAlbumen printing dates back to the 1850's and was one of the first methods of negative-to-paper contact printing. The process gets its name from its very first step; photographers use egg whites (albumen) as the binder on the surface of the printing paper. Rumor has it, authentic instructions for albumen printing actually included soufflé recipes, so as to not let the yolks go to waste.
Once I had my paper cut properly and my digital negatives printed, I coated each sheet with the albumen mixture. You will want to use a darkroom tray to carefully float the paper face-down into the egg mixture to get an even coat. I did this by pinching my paper at the corners, creating a place to hold the paper in order to lower and pull the paper in and out of the tray. Get the coat as even as possible and blow off any small bubbles that may be on the surface of the paper. Let the paper hang until the sheets are thoroughly dry. A clothes line and clothes pins work great for hang-drying.
After my paper was dry, I sensitized each sheet with a silver nitrate mixture. Recipes for both the albumen and the sensitizer can befound here. You can use the floating method again or brush the silver on the surface of the paper. Foam brushes work the best for an even application if using the brushing technique. Hang the paper up a second time in complete darkness until it's completely dry.
After I got my prints washed and fixed, toners were very fun to play with! Anything from coffee to gold can be used to change the tones of albumen prints. The natural tones of albumen prints range from dark and rich eggplant, to a faint sepia.