Process Your Film at Home

16

I love shooting photos, but hate having to wait for my film to be processed and the cost of getting it processed. There is an easy way to process your own film at home.

How To Process Film With Caffenol

The following recipe was tested on Tri-X 400 and Fuji Pro 160S. If your film is too thin, add more developing time and/or more coffee, too dark, less developing time. This process works on black & white or color film, but will produce only B&W images. Although I have not personally tested, I’ve read it works on slide film as well.

Ingredients
One 35mm (double for 2 rolls or one 120)
2 tsp Instant Coffee
3 tsp Washing Soda
1 tsp Vitamin C Powder
Fixer (follow instructions on bottle)

Note – Washing soda is not to be confused with baking soda. It may be hard to find in your area, but it is available online. I found Arm & Hammer Washing Soda at my local Kroger. It’s also known as sodium carbonate or soda ash. You can substitute washing soda for pH+ found in the pool section or at your local pool supply store. The instant coffee does not have to be name brand. Just be sure it is 100% coffee. If you don’t see Vitamin C powder at your store, any health food store should carry it.

Step 1: Mixing
Mix each ingredient separately in 3 glasses to ensure they dissolve completely. I used plain tap water at the coldest setting. On the washing soda, it is good to stir a little after each teaspoon. Otherwise it builds up as a big clump at the bottom of the glass. One everything has fully dissolved, pour the 3 mixtures into one larger container, like a 2 liter soda bottle. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to get rid of all the bubbles. Use within 30 minutes.

One 35mm (double for 2 rolls or one 120)
2 tsp Instant Coffee + 125 ml water
3 tsp Washing Soda + 125 ml water
1 tsp Vitamin C Powder + 100 ml water
Fixer (follow instructions on bottle)

Step 2: Develop
Pour the developer into the processing tank and start the stop watch. Agitate the film continually, by inverting the tank upside down and back upright, for the first minute. Then agitate 3-5 times every 3 minutes after that. I developed my film for 7 minutes using the above recipe, and the film turned out great.

Step 3: Rinse
Pour the developer down the drain. Fill the tank with water (again I used plain tap water at coldest setting) and pour it out. Repeat this process 5 times or until water comes out clear.

Step 4: Fix
Add the fixer to the tank. Agitate again for the first minute. Then, every 25 seconds, agitate 3-5 times. Repeat this process for 2-5 minutes. When finished, pour the fixer into a container to reuse later.

Step 5: Wash
You can remove the lid now to have a peek at your film. Fill the tank with water (again I used plain tap water at coldest setting) and pour it out. Repeat this process 5 times.

Optional Final Rinse:
As a final rinse add 2 drops of dishwashing soap (such as Dawn) to the tank and fill with water. Swish it around a bit and pour out. Run water in tank until there are no suds. This will help reduce the amount of water drops on the film.

Drying:
Unroll the film and use the sides of your fingers to squeegee excess water from the film. Hang film to dry. A plastic tube hanger works well. Just drape film over it and use a binder clip on each end to weigh the film down.

written by nfocusdesign on 2010-12-29 in #gear #tipster #tipster #process #film-processing #top-tipster-techniques #coffee #tutorial #development #lab-rat #caffenol

16 Comments

  1. idigtulsa
    idigtulsa ·

    Excellent tipster!!! I'm trying this over the weekend for sure!! Great work, and thanks for sharing the "secret recipe" !!

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Great ! I always wanted to try this !

  3. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Wow! I'm assuming it only works if you want BW photos though right?

  4. peacelovephoto
    peacelovephoto ·

    that sounds like my kind of fun !!! ~ but i am completely new to this ~ how do i go on to actually print photos ??? - or is that too much for such a beginner !!!

  5. peacelovephoto
    peacelovephoto ·

    that sounds like my kind of fun !!! ~ but i am completely new to this ~ how do i go on to actually print photos ??? - or is that too much for such a beginner !!!

  6. blormore
    blormore ·

    Great artilcle! Thanks so much for all the detail

  7. casi
    casi ·

    Great! Thank you

  8. nfocusdesign
    nfocusdesign ·

    peacelovephoto, I usually scan my negatives rather than print from them. I've heard Caffenol will develop photos as well, but I haven't tried it myself.

  9. nfocusdesign
    nfocusdesign ·

    natalieerachel Unfortunately this process only produces black & white negatives. I have tried a variety of black & white and color films and it has worked well with all.

  10. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Oh welllll, I would've loved to try that! Maybe on my next roll of BW film!

  11. marianacapeletti
    marianacapeletti ·

    Great! I will try this.

  12. scbaldwin
    scbaldwin ·

    I've never developed on my own so this was very cool to read.

  13. nyla
    nyla ·

    You are a genius! I will try that...

  14. eremigi
    eremigi ·

    It sounds a great (non-polluting as well!) solution. Two questions: 1) you do not mention the dilution for the developer (there is no indication of volume of water) and 2) are the ingredients for the developer and the fixer the same? I find it very unlikely - maybe a typo? Thanks!

  15. don_hodgdon
    don_hodgdon ·

    It's fun to play with, but I've gone back to D-76 for my B&W film.

    Here are a few recent examples of color neg and HP5 processed in Caffenol.
    www.flickr.com/photos/dphodgdon/sets/72157624818156743/

  16. toxicline
    toxicline ·

    Nice idea. I just developed Fomapan 200 with totally same "chemical": "jacobs monarch" cheap instant coffee, russian washing soda (кальценированная сода) and Vitamin C (purchased in drugstore). The result is here: www.flickr.com/photos/rodrigojuarez/sets/72157625971537528/

More Interesting Articles

  • The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    What exactly do I feel while waiting for my Lomo'Instant photos to be developed? I have to say I get a mix of "Surprise me, dear Lomo!" but also some "Did I capture it as I wanted?" kind of thought. No matter the school of thought, with the Splitzer you can add so many cool effects to your photos you'll definitely embrace it!

  • Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    written by cheeo on 2014-12-05 in #lifestyle
    Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    Shooting with film can be considered a labor of love. From carefully loading the film and adjusting for lighting conditions to the darkroom process, it’s a laborious process but certainly a fulfilling experience. What more if you created your own cameras?

    1
  • Summer Hot Spots: Escaping the Heat at Cameron Highlands

    written by shind on 2014-07-03 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Escaping the Heat at Cameron Highlands

    It’s normal during summer to be out there at the beach, sunbathing and getting yourself a nice tan, but in Malaysia, it could get pretty hot this time of the year. With the rising temperature, my friends and I decided to escape the heat of the city for a while and took an approximately three-hour drive to Cameron Highlands.

    1
  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • My Pinhole F Cardboard Camera Inspired By the Diana F+ Camera

    written by raypg on 2014-09-05 in #lifestyle
    My Pinhole F Cardboard Camera Inspired By the Diana F+ Camera

    I love the different styles of cameras that Lomography has, but I also like to create my own cardboard cameras that use pinholes to be able to take pictures using traditional film. This time I created the Pinhole F, a camera inspired by the Diana F+ and shoots 12 pinhole photos using 120 film.

    2
  • Lubitel 166+: Lubitel is for Lovers+

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-05 in #reviews
    Lubitel 166+: Lubitel is for Lovers+

    Lubitel for lovers+. You're probably wondering, "Why is there a '+'?" It's to describe and expand a whole new definition of the Lubitel - in this case, this camera is not only for lovers literally, but also for anyone who loves to shoot portraits, street scenes, objects, and the skies. Do you love to take photos of your lover, your dear friend, your lovely family, your pet, or at the streets? This camera can be used in ALL situations. You can shoot everything that you love with it!

  • Sprocket Rocket: First Love Never Dies

    written by jokelangens on 2014-07-20 in #reviews
    Sprocket Rocket: First Love Never Dies

    The Lomography Sprocket Rocket - my first analogue camera ever - and I have had some troubled times behind us. We have been involved in a stormy love-hate relationship for several years. But in the end, we luckily managed to get over ourselves and overcome our problems. Now he's my old time favorite. Old love never rusts, that is.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Film Experiments: In The Dark - The True Analogue Experiment

    written by mikekumagai on 2014-08-05 in #gear #tipster
    Film Experiments: In The Dark - The True Analogue Experiment

    Throwing chemicals, fire, and scratching emulsion are just a few ways of experimenting with film. But there's another process that completely destroys it (or, if you're lucky, creates something amazing), that is as spastic as a drunken man staggering his way home after a night at the pub - literally. And it all comes down to darkness.

    3
  • Celebrate Black Friday with 30 Beautiful Black & White Photos from the LC-A+

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-27 in #lifestyle
    Celebrate Black Friday with 30 Beautiful Black & White Photos from the LC-A+

    Do you know the best way to celebrate the biggest shopping day of the year? Stay at home and marvel at these gorgeous black and white photos from the legendary LC-A+! There's no reason to stand in line for hours either, when you can get incredible deals here at Lomography without ever leaving the comfort and warmth of your own home. Check out these radiant shots from the LC-A+ and then head over to the Online Shop to save a fantastic 30% on this incredible camera and more!

  • Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-06 in #gear #reviews
    Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    There are quite a few perks that come with working for a film photography company, and the best perk of all is testing out the latest cameras. I can remember buying my LC-A back in 2009 and being really inspired to shoot film again. When the LC-A 120 came along, I couldn't wait to try it out around London. Join me as I test out this super medium format beauty.

  • Shop News

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ and Diana+ 75mm Premium Glass Lens are now ready to give you the best shots with vignetting effects, crisp quality shots together with the signature dreamy appeal of the Diana! Save 15% on the Glass Lens in this Bundle!

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-06 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    Last week, I received the strangest thing through my letterbox. It was a postcard with this photograph on 1 side. The photo is of me sitting by the sea whilst I was on vacation last year. But I have literally no idea who took this shot – That’s why I came here, to ask for your help on my search for my mysterious photographer and to try and get to bottom of the riddle they wrote me. Please help me if you can!

    10
  • Easy Tips and Ideas to Shoot the Lomo'Instant in the Daylight

    written by mariemcnaan on 2014-11-14 in #gear #tipster
    Easy Tips and Ideas to Shoot the Lomo'Instant in the Daylight

    Apologies for making you go through my "weekend with my BFFs" shots, but I do want to share with you some easy tips and ideas to shoot your Lomo'Instant in the daylight and outdoor. This is especially aimed at people who don't read manuals.

  • Save Your Wet Photos from Oblivion!

    written by cheeo on 2014-05-30 in #gear #tipster
    Save Your Wet Photos from Oblivion!

    Don’t you just hate it when your precious prints are threatened to be lost in blurry, blotched and smeared oblivion when they get wet? Let us show you how you can save them with this easy to do tipster!

    1