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Destroying Film to Play with Color

I have recently completed my first film destroy mission and have been amazed at the beautiful warped colours it has produced! The best way to play with colours is to use the unexpected. So why not add a bit of excitement to your pictures and take a risk? Read on to find our more about my film destroyer which produced psychedelic results!

What you need:

You need a film destroyer of your choice. For mine, I just used hot water and lemon juice. Simple but so effective! There are many crazy and well documented film destroyers on here so do a bit of research and select your weapon of choice.

The process:

I know everyone does it differently and there’s no set way to do this which is what makes it so great but here’s how I did it. I used an old hot drinks container, the type you take your coffee to work in to mix up the film destroyer. Its good to have a lid so you can give it a good shake cocktail style. I filled the container about half way using hot water then added about 250 ml of pure lemon juice. Popped the film straight in and gave it a vigorous shake for a few minutes then left it to stand for a hour. I went back every 10 minutes or so to give it a little shake and move the liquid around.

Its important to use a big enough container to submerge your film canister. You want the liquid to get in. After the hours I took the film out and allowed it to dry off for a few hours on the drainer in the kitchen then popped it on the window ledge in the sun for a few weeks to dry out before shooting. If your in a rush take it into a completely blacked out room and use a hair dryer to dry it off.

I had almost forgotten about the film when is was gazing out of the window one day and it caught my eye. Okay, I thought now is the time. I loaded up my reliable Olympus Trip and headed out. Took a shot, tried to wind on, nothing. Couldn’t get it to move! On returning home I went into the dark and pulled the film out of the canister and rewound it back in as it had not surprisingly stuck with the combination of lemon and sunshine. The second attempt at shooting went perfect and actually were more interesting than what I would of got the first time, everything is happens for a reason.

Upon returning home I was in a rush to see what would come out if anything so I developed it myself using my tetenal kit. Some of the warps were obvious on the negatives but I had no idea how beautiful the colours would be.

I instantly fell in love with the results. They were so varied. Some showed hardly no damage at all, others had bold psychedelic colours warped through the image giving it a real 60’s feel. Others had simply faded to soft hues, adding a real vintage look.

Try it and share your results!

written by crevans27


  1. freepeanuts



    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. izadrazi


    Almost anything can be used to "destroy" films. Check out my results:


    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. litumai


    which film did u use for this results? one pic actually looks like tungsten!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. melodamyus


    oh man. definitely going to try this!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. sunarashine


    this is such a nice easy way to do it!! I simply MUST.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. zeewierkoekje


    Lemon juice is such a good idea! I'l'definitely try it, I love destroying my films :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. crevans27


    Thanks guys for all the likes and kind words! @litumai It was actually a lomography color negative film. The closer to the spool inside the purpler/blue the tint became. Still have a film i destroyed with hot water and salt from that day to try out now the weathers good. Ill keep you posted on the results!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. original_j2


    I'm starting to find that some of my color negative film can get boring- I'm gonna try this! I must experiment!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. sudhashunmu


    nice one

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. chilledvondub


    just made my own pre soak film soup: Lemon Juice/Vanish Detergent/Salt/Boiling Water and to give it a nice spicy whirl of bright orange/red tints a teaspoon of turmeric, if i remember this thread once ive had the film processed ill post a link :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. ugoreyresprocket


    nice keep up love your pic's!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  12. ugoreyresprocket


    So for example I just could buy a ordinary Kodak Gold 400 and place it in my hot drink container instantly after unboxing??

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. hollyelizabeth_


    Brilliant article, I can't wait to try it!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. glenn


    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. thestranger13



    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. dewitiara


    Does this have to be done with a new roll of untouched film? Or can I submerge my already completed roll of film into the mixture? Also, would it make the roll of film sticky such that it would dirty my camera?

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. crevans27


    @dewitiara Im sure doing it to a already exposed roll would have just as interesting results. The roll does it a little sticky depending on what youve added in there. I have one that was done in salt and waiting to be exposed which is in quite a bad way. Use a camera that you think is suitable and dont mind a little dirt if there is one and take the roll once dry into a blacked out room and pull the film out and reroll it a few times to get rid on any excess stickyness that way you shouldnt get much in your camera!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  18. falsesymmetry


    Really amazing colours in these photos! Can't wait to see how your salt ones come out :) Want to try something like this myself soon! :D
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  19. sarah-addison-dobard


    Yeah I really want to try this! But like dewitiara said, I'm afraid of ruining my camera!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  20. sarah-addison-dobard


    Also, if you get destroyed film processed at a lab, it will mess up the developing chemicals and possibly ruin any rolls that are processed after it. Just FYI.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  21. meerly


    Destroying my film now!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  22. alienmeatsack


    I've wanted to try this as well but I wasn't sure what the best way to do so was. Most of the methods I've seen involve dunking a 35mm cassette into the "destroying liquid" and letting it soak, agitating to make sure it gets deep into the cassette. I personally think it would make more sense to put the film into a developing tank where you could add the liquids in, get full and complete coating of the film, then rinse it very well and load into a cassette once it was dry. This way you aren't putting stick or corrosive chemicals into your cameras and teh film gets a full on coat of crazy goodness. I think I need to try this. I want to try soaking an existing cassette, loading one of my plastic cassettes and soaking it, soaking just the film, as well as doing the process post exposure and before developing. Sounds fun.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  23. saylorpetz

    Im so anxious to do this, as i just received my new AE-1 Canon but I'm so paranoid about ruining it ! Do you think if i really let it dry I would be fine ? What do you suggest
    about 1 year ago · report as spam

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