Make Wet Red Bubbles Grow on your Home Processed Colour Film


By spraying your film with water and exposing it briefly to the darkroom safelight, you can make all sorts and shapes of bubbles, drops and droplets shine on your home developed colour film. And that’s not all – you never know what they will look like before scanning your film! See a new way to add an element of artistic surprise to your Lomographs.

Please note that this tipster does not show you how to develop your film. It only shows how to make bubble-like shapes and artifacts on it prior to processing it. For a guide on how to process your colour film at home, check out this handy tipster by stouf.

Credits: adash

What you will need:

  • A roll of exposed film. Both 35mm and 120 will work;
  • A plant sprayer full of water;
  • A film developing tank and at least one reel for it;
  • A film extraction tool (not pictured above);
  • A darkroom with a safelight (not pictured above);
  • All of the chemicals and tools that the film needs for processing (not pictured above);
  • Knowledge of how to handle film processing stuff in complete darkness;
  • Knowledge of darkroom safety protocol, handling electrical appliances in moist environment, etc.

Start with extracting the end of your film from the canister:

This step can be done in room light.

Shape the end of your film for easy transport onto the reel:

This can be done in the light too.

Roll the film onto the film developing reel:

Warning: Complete darkness required!

When you reach the end, cut it:

Warning: Complete darkness required! Beware of the scissors!

Place the reel in the tank:

Warning: Complete darkness required!

Spray your film with water as it is already in the tank:

Warning: Complete darkness required! Make sure you don’t spray on darkroom equipment, electrical appliances, etc.

Experimentation is needed. A two second spray is a good starting point. Rotate the nozzle so that all of your film is sprayed. Spray the other side as well, by removing the reel from the tank and placing it inside in reverse.

Expose to the darkroom safelight:

This photo is not of an actual safelight and is for illustration only. Your safelight should be much dimmer when operating.

Exposure time and distance are largely dependent on the power of the bulb and filter density. A starting point is 2 seconds for 400ASA film and 4 seconds for 200ASA film, at a distance of 30 centimeters (one foot) and a very dim safelight – one that barely lets you distinguish objects shapes. A more powerful safelight will require either a larger distance from film or a shorter exposure. Keep the film in gentle circular motion when exposing it to the safelight. Exposing it from both sides makes more bubbles and droplets appear.

You can use different safelight colours as well.

When ready, place the reel with the film back in the tank, close it, develop, dry and scan as usual.


Credits: adash

written by adash on 2012-10-31 #gear #tutorials #art #lab #colour #bubbles #lab-rat #tipster #development #darkroom #rat #drops #droplets #home-processing #safelight


  1. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    Great technique ! !! I am already trying it !!

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Fantastic! And thanks for the reference : )

  3. adash
    adash ·

    @stouf Thank you for your appreciation! I knew you had many, many great tipsters and all I had to do is search for the one I needed.

  4. adash
    adash ·

    @gauthierdumonde Thanks! Do share your results!

  5. stouf
    stouf ·

    Hooo you're so nice : )

  6. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    Here is my result. The bubbles are not red as it is black and white :)……

    Great tipster !!

  7. adash
    adash ·

    @gauthierdumonde Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

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