Summer Film Soup: Coca-Cola, Lemon and Silica Gel


Magical summer days are approaching and the sun's warm rays are kissing our cheeks. What could be more refreshing than having a cold drink? Suddenly we have an idea for a film soup.

A Coca-Cola film soup recipe. The perfect summer combination: Coca Cola, lemon and a splash of silica gel. Simple ingredients that can turn your film into a world of psychedelic splendor.

The ingredients picture by Elisa Parrino


  • 1 full glass of Coca Cola
  • 1 whole lemon, squeezed
  • 1 bag of silica gel

The first step for any film soup is to boil our film. This causes the reaction to the nitrocellulose gelatin that will show the effects of your ingredients on your frames. Past experiences have shown that taking your saucepan off the fire before immersing your film will help to avoid melting your negatives.

This is especially important if you plan to shoot after cooking. Since you will load your film in your camera, it is important to make sure that you'll have as smooth rolling as possible. Besides drying the negative perfectly, a flat roll can best guarantee a continuous winding. Usually getting a completely dry film can take up to 10 days.

Picture by Elisa Parrino

For this soup we took the pan from the fire, dipped the film, and left it in the broth for 48 hours. We then left the film drying for another three days, and only after we had it securely dried did we proceed to develop it.

The development is done by standard C-41. Most labs are not happy to develop your film soup as it will spoil their chemicals, so why not try to self develop your color film.

Don't mind those who says that color development is the most difficult thing to do. Just carefully follow each step and you will successfully accomplish this task, officially becoming a true hero of self development. There are online kits for a one time development that contain all the steps and liquids to mix. Since you are an experimental soul, trust yourself and give it a try.

Picture by Elisa Parrino

The crucial part of color development is to keep the temperature of your chemistry correctly at 30°C for the whole process. The most efficient way is to fill a tray with water and use a special thermometer that will keep your water at temperature.

This will also save tons of water. If you do not possess a water heater you must refill the tray constantly with fresh, hot water to maintain the warm solutions at the right temperature.

Since we are on a kind of self made mission here, you can also self scan your negatives using the DigitaLIZA . This process will give you creative control over each step in your analogue exploits.

The Results

There is nothing more satisfying after a long process than finally seeing your negatives, and drawing your conclusions on what worked and perhaps what didn't go according to plan. Our starting point for this soup was Lomography Color Negative 35 mm ISO 100 .

Picture by Elisa Parrino

This film has wonderful, vivid colors, and with this film soup, the melange of the cola also tinted the film with impressive browns, especially at the beginning of the roll. The last frames were protected by the spiralling film and have soaked more of the metallic tones of the silica gel while also showing the acidity of the lemons that spread across the whole film.

When we planned the ingredients for this soup, we thought that the intensity of the cola tones would have completely overshadowed the other colors. However, we knew that the silica gel tended to diffuse more bluish tones, and adding the yellow and acidity of the lemon could create interesting color combinations.

Picture by Elisa Parrino

It was also quite surprising to see how the grain increased in a film that, at ISO 100, should normally deliver a fine grain. Most likely, the cooking and the stimulus to high temperature have an effect on the crystals as well. However, this unpredicted outcome did not affect the pictures in a negative way.

We're always aware that with film soups nothing can be guaranteed and planned for 100 percent. We accept that there is always a degree of the unexpected at play. Nonetheless, we are happily surprised by these pictures. This is definitely a recipe we will keep in our cookbook.

What is your favorite film soup? Have you been brave enough to cook your film yet? Share with our community your melting results.

written by eparrino on 2022-06-13 #culture #tutorials #summer #experimental #lomography-color-negative #cookbook #film-soup

Mentioned Product

Lomography Color Negative 100

Lomography Color Negative 100

The Lomography Color Negative 100 35mm film loves the sun! Expect vivid colors and fantastic sharpness!


  1. piggyneverdie
    piggyneverdie ·

    nice, thanks for your receipt

  2. neonlights
    neonlights ·

    Since I cant develope my own pictures at home, I cook my negatives AFTER the pics are taken. Its much more easy and you are more in control of the results. The best agents are bleach, and kitchen soap (liquid, or in various textures). The easiest is doing it with diapos. There is an article in the web of my experience in that process. Others, like kodakhrome, make amazing soups.

  3. cr0nopia
    cr0nopia ·


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