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How to Do an Emulsion Lift to Transfer an Image from Polaroid to Paper


Did you know you can transfer the image on a Polaroid instant print onto paper? It’s called an “emulsion lift,” and this video tutorial by photographer Matt Day shows you exactly how to go about doing it.

Emulsion lifts make for some really interesting and, if you choose to do it this way, distressed prints. But even if that’s not the look you’re after, it’s a great educational experience that shows you the innards of a Polaroid print and gives you something to play around with.

Day does a great job showing you how simple the process is. Just cut the edges off your Polaroid print, submerge it in water, and then use a brush to gently move water up underneath the emulsion. This will slowly-but-surely separate the emulsion from the plastic, at which point you can slide a piece of paper underneath it and brush the emulsion down onto its new surface.

Here’s what it looks like when you’re done:

Check out the video above to see the whole process in action, and then go dust off the old Polaroid camera and snap some new prints. Playing around with emulsion lifts might just help get you out of that creative rut… or maybe just give you something to do this weekend.

(via ISO 1200)