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Process Your Film at Home

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

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" !!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. stouf

    stouf

    Great ! I always wanted to try this !

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. natalieerachel

    natalieerachel

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

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  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 !!!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  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 !!!
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. blormore

    blormore

    Great artilcle! Thanks so much for all the detail

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. casi

    casi

    Great! Thank you

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. 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.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. 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.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. natalieerachel

    natalieerachel

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

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. marianacapeletti

    marianacapeletti

    Great! I will try this.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. scbaldwin

    scbaldwin

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

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. nyla

    nyla

    You are a genius! I will try that...
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  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!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  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. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dphodgdon/sets/72157624818156743/
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. 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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodrigojuarez/sets/72157625971537528/
    about 3 years ago · report as spam

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