Destroying Film to Play with Color


I have recently completed my first film destroying 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. Here's how to add some excitement to your pictures! This tip is only for the bold and the brave ...

What You Need

You need a film destroyer of your choice. For me, I just used hot water and lemon juice. It's simple but so effective! There are many crazy and well-documented film destroyers here in Lomography, 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. It's good to have a lid so you can give it a good shake cocktail-style. I filled the container about halfway 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 an hour. I went back every 10 minutes or so to give it a little shake and move the liquid around.

It's 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 you're 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 I 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 was more interesting than what I would have gotten the first time. Everything 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 any damage at all, others had bold psychedelic colours warped through the image, giving it a real '60s feel. Others had simply faded to soft hues, adding a real vintage look. Try it and share your results!

Were you inspired by this bizarre tipster? Load up on film so that you can experiment, too! Visit our online shop or any of our worldwide gallery stores to stock up on film.

written by crevans27 on 2012-07-23 #gear #tutorials #film #retro #colour #lab-rat #tipster #juice #colourful #lomography #lemon #bleach #destroy #warp


  1. freepeanuts
    freepeanuts ·


  2. izadrazi
    izadrazi ·

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


  3. litumai
    litumai ·

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

  4. melodamyus
    melodamyus ·

    oh man. definitely going to try this!!

  5. sunarashine
    sunarashine ·

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

  6. zeewierkoekje
    zeewierkoekje ·

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

  7. crevans27
    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!

  8. original_j2
    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!

  9. sudhashunmu
    sudhashunmu ·

    nice one

  10. chilledvondub
    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 :)

  11. ugoreyresprocket
    ugoreyresprocket ·

    nice keep up love your pic's!!

  12. ugoreyresprocket
    ugoreyresprocket ·

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

  13. hollyelizabeth_
    hollyelizabeth_ ·

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

  14. glenn
    glenn ·


  15. thestranger13
    thestranger13 ·


  16. dewitiara
    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?

  17. crevans27
    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!

  18. falsesymmetry
    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

  19. sarah-addison-dobard
    sarah-addison-dobard ·

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

  20. sarah-addison-dobard
    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.

  21. meerly
    meerly ·

    Destroying my film now!

  22. alienmeatsack
    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.

  23. saylorpetz
    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

  24. angelwulf
    angelwulf ·

    Thats it I'm going on a destroying spree. The hard part will be the waiting for a few weeks for the film to dry out as I don't have a dark room. But I'm still excited :D

  25. jm60
    jm60 ·

    I am more inclined to try something post-exposure. The risk to the cameras is always a concern. Plus very different results should be expected doing it post exposure than before. Plus a few ideas come to mind as well.

  26. nonspecificscientific
    nonspecificscientific ·

    I recommend pink lemonade (NOT THE POWDER) and sending your canister through the dishwasher. :D

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