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Make Your Own Film Developer and Fixer Using These Household Items


Last week, photographer Brendan Barry created a timely tutorial on how to turn your bedroom into a giant camera, and use it to take actual pictures. But what if you don’t have any photographic chemicals around for developing and fixing those images? Barry’s got you covered.

“I couldn’t stop thinking that the second half of that last video required you to have developer and fixer, which most people wouldn’t have lying around at home and therefore was not a lot of use to many,” Barry tells PetaPixel. “I wondered if I could use caffenol developer on paper and find an alternative for fixer and share a more accessible way. After a few days of experimenting, it turns out you can and there is!”

So, in this follow-up video, Barry shows you how to make and use your own developer and fixer using household items that most of us will have lying around.

“All you’ll need is coffee granules, vitamin c power/tablets & washing soda for the dev (aka caffenol) and table salt for the fix,” says Barry. “You can use this to process photo paper exposed in a camera obscura, a pinhole camera or any camera you can put a bit of photo paper in. [And] the same stuff works for film.”

The only thing left that you would need to have (or order online) is some photographic paper. Black & white and color paper will both work—the color will develop in sepia using this method—but it’s not something you can make with household items, unfortunately.

Check out the full video up top to see the process in action, then watch last week’s video to see how you can put your newfound “chemicals” to good use. And if you want to see more of Barry’s impressive camera obscura work, be sure to visit his website or give him a follow on Instagram.

Image credits: Photos by Brendan Barry and used with permission.