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DIY Film Retriever/Extractor

Don't you just HATE it when you accidentally rewind the entire roll of film that you intend to use for a film swap? So here is a simple tip that you can use on any 35mm fully retracted film leader!

I have always experienced problems when it comes to making sure that I don’t fully rewind my 35mm film. Tips such as folding a kink and sensing the changes in tension during rewinding might work for most of you, but for a beginner like myself, is very difficult. So today, I’m going to share with you a simple technique that my friend recently taught me on how to pull the film out after you have fully rewound the film.

So, first things first; you will need:

  • A pair of scissors
  • Double sided tape
  • A section of 35mm negative, and
  • A roll of film that has a fully retracted film leader

With your pair of scissors, cut a section of double sided tape and stick it on the tip of the negative. Peel the backing so that the sticky side is exposed.

Step One.

Then, insert the negative into the roll of film, making sure that the sticky side is FACING DOWN. Try to push in at least one inch.

Step Two.

Turn the small knob on top of the roll until it starts to pull on the section of negative. By doing this, you are causing the roll of film to come into contact with the double sided tape.

Step Three.

Once you feel that the tape is stuck on, slowly pull out the section of negative. You should be able to see the film leader.

Step Four.

Then, TA DA!!! The good thing about this technique is that you don’t need to buy a film retriever/extractor and it can be done in broad day light without affecting the film. This would also be useful for people that develop their own film!


Now, you are ready to do some film swap or double exposures!

written by amytam


  1. dollymixture


    Oh wow, this article couldn't have came at a better time.. I keep winding my rolls of film too far and have been using tweezers!! Needless to say this has been damaging the film canister somewhat, eek! Thank you for this idea : )

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. amytam


    Thanks, glad that this tip was useful!

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  3. flashstalker


    This month, I wrote the same article: http://www.lomograph(…)le-ma-certo

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. flashstalker


    like it :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. amytam


    Whoa! What a coincidence! If only I know how to read Italian!

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  6. mafiosa


    Thanks for the tip. I saw something similar about a year ago, but the tip on turning the roll of film after inserting the tape to make sure they catch on is very good. I will try that next time.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. amytam



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  8. buckshot


    There's a much simpler way: just lick the end of any strip of old negative, feed the wet end into the canister, wind it around a turn or two, then slowly pull the negative back out. The end of the wound-in film will come out with it. Works every time.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. kuryzu



    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. amytam


    I must give that a try!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. iandevlinphoto


    if you dont have sticky tape you can simply lick the negative...

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  12. exquisitenat


    i thought i was going to have buy a retriever, so glad i won't have to now!

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  13. kasadawai


    thank you for sharing!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. amytam


    You're welcome! Glad you found it useful :)

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  15. thewallflower


    Most helpful article I have read. I just did a film swap with a friend but she accidently wound in the tab and I thought I was going to have to crack open the roll and just handle it in a black bag. Thanks!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. amytam



    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. mario-salvenmoser


    that's so useful thank you!

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  18. dida


    useful tip ;) thanks

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  19. 22photos


    MaNy ThAnKs for sharing!!
    about 1 month ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish, Československy, Deutsch, ภาษาไทย, 한국어 & 中文(繁體版).