How to Make Polaroid Emulsion Lifts


Earlier this year I tried Polaroid emulsion lifts for the first time. An emulsion lift (or emulsion transfer) is when the emulsion layer is removed from a sheet of instant film and then transferred to a different surface.

I’ve always thought they would be hard to do and was surprised at how easy and fun it was, so I thought I’d put together a little step by step guide to making instant film lifts!

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The Impossible Project sells a really rad kit to help you get started. The materials used in this tutorial all come in the Creative Kit.

Pretty easy right?! Here are a few things to keep in mind: make sure the water isn’t too hot. Use a thermometer to help you keep track. Once the film is out of the hot water it is very delicate, so handle it with care from there on out.

Update: Here’s a video about the same process:

About the author: Azuree Wiitala is a professional freelance photographer living in Chicago. You can find out more about her photographs and services through her website and blog. This article originally appeared here.

  • bachernick

    There’s also a way to do the same thing with Fuji Pack film. It’s a little less complicated than the process above.

  • rz67

    Fuji FPs give you a better result. Plus, it gives you a negative to hold on to.

  • Markus WET

    Ok, I’ve seen polaroid lifts a few times now but I never understood the reason WHY you might want to do this. Could anybody explain that to me? :)

  • And it’s fun

    It’s Art. It’s creative.

  • Happydays

    Why would you pick up brush and paint and start smearing it on paper or canvas?

  • Markus WET

    Poor comparison. Why would you peel the dried, more or less flawless painting off the canvas and put it crinkled on paper? …

    If the only reason one can come up with is “That’s why” … well, fine by me