Developing Black and White at Home


All you need it ONE chemical, just one, the rest are ingredients that you find in the home or in the supermarket. Its very easy, takes 40 minutes or so and you save lots of money!! It works every time on slow films. Not so good for fast films. I can do this in the smallest of places no darkroom required

My successful recipe That I gleaned from a you tube video with some tweaking that I have done

Woosang’s tweaked Caffenol recipe with thanks to the person who posted a basic one on youtube,

Set up.

Processing Tank (Of course)
3 glasses (any size)
3 spoons or more
Measuring jug X 2 at least 500ml
2 stop watches or as I uses an interval program set up for one minute intervals for 20 minutes
Bottle Opener (If you are tackling 35mm canisters)


Have these laid out and ready

6 teaspoons of instant coffee (NOT Decaf)
1/4 teaspoon or 1000mg of Vitamin C. Tablets are OK but crush them first
3 teaspoons of washing soda (Wear gloves here)
350ml water at 20C (68F)
Extra water at 20C (68F)or have a tap that you can adjust to 20C (68F)
Fixer I used Acu from Paterson. 50ml mixed in with 350ml of 20C (68F) water
Hardener (optional) mixed into fixer

Liquid soap mixed in water Don’t make it frothy

In the dark

I hate Film changing bags so make sure you practise putting the film on the reel first. Find a dark room and then hide under a blanket. If you can use a film changing bag, use that. (I find them too restricting. It is vital you practise first or you will be fumbling in the dark with unfamiliar equipment. Practise loading the tank too for the same reasons.

Credits: woosang

1. Open the 135 (35mm) canister wit the bottle opener. Use the flat end.

Credits: woosang

2. Cut the tongue off (The leader) and snip a tiny bit off the edges to aid in loading. (Only a little snip to make the edges smoother for loading)

3. Engage the film on the spool and using a twisting motion walk the film onto the spool (as you have practised this in the light, you know what I mean) If you have not SHAME I did warn you!
Cut off the core and finish the winding

5. Load the spool into the tank and seal

In the light

Credits: woosang

1. Measure out the ingredients into separate glasses and measure your 350ml (first lot) of 20C(68F) water. Add water to the glasses making sure each ingredient is disolved properly. You may have to heat the water a bit more to achieve this but allow the water to cool back to around 20C (68F)
(Enough Vitamin C gives the brew a green-y tinge)

Credits: woosang

2. In a big measuring cup (500ml or more) tip the contents of the glasses together, mix and then let stand for 5-10 minutes to clear and micro bubbles.

3. Set the stop watches to 1 minutes and the other to 20 minutes (for Lomo 100 film or Ferrania 100 film this should work for all films but you may have to adjust times as you get better at this)

4. Pour in the caffenol mixture and at the same time start the stop watches. (As I said I used a training interval timer so it squawked at me every minute but whatever works for you) Agitate SLOWLY (and i Mean SLOWLY turn tank over count to 3 turn back repeat) for the whole first minute . Stomp the tank on the bench after each agitation.

(NB more agitation increased fog significantly. And increasing fog is not the same as speeding development. SO go SLOWLY )

5. Slowly Agitate (As described above) every minute 3 times for the next 20 minutes and don’t forget to stomp.

6. After 20 minutes pour out the developer and quickly add 350ml of 20C (68F) water. More water is better. This is to flush the developer and it called a stop bath. We are keeping this as chemical free as possible.

7. Agitate 5-6 times and pour out. Repeat 3 times with fresh water (At 20C/68F roughly.)

8. h2. fixer
– our chemical step. Tell the kids you will do this one step for them. Keep them away from the film chemical. Its a bummer that we need this step but without it, the film cannot be exposed to light. It is here you can add 25ml of hardener if you want to)
For ACU I used 50ml of fixer in 350ml of water (20C/68F) For fresh fixer 5minutes agitate 3 times each minute and don’t forget to Stomp after each agitation.

9. pour out the fixer (Into a bottle, you can reuse it)

10. return to the kids.. Final Washing- FYI Water is room temp here I didn’t fuss about its temp, just not hot eh?

Water 3X agitation pour out.
Water 6X agitation Pour out
water 12X agitation pour out.

11. Water and liquid soap. Pour into the tank and agitate 24 times. SLOWLY not trying to make a heap of froth.

12. Pour out, open your tank and remove the spool. Walk the film off the spool, I have it attached to a peg and hanging as it walks off the roll. I squeegee with a squeegee but you can use your clean fingers..

13. Allow to dry over night, The opaque parts will clear and you should see lovely photos. :-) The waiting will kill you.. I know I keep going into the room to watch the film dry…


Credits: woosang

written by woosang on 2011-06-21 #gear #tutorials #development #black-and-white #home-developing #film #tipster #caffenol #developing-film-processing #tutorial


  1. ryuhei
    ryuhei ·

    your film actually looks well developed as well :) i have not yet developed my own film but i really want to give it ago :) B&W is where to start ;)

  2. woosang
    woosang ·

    @ryuhei do it. Buy a fixer and go for it.

  3. whitemikerocks
    whitemikerocks ·

    So rad! so keen to get in the dark! Thanks for the Tipster!

  4. mcrstar
    mcrstar ·

    There is a more simple recipes, for example, without vitamin C

  5. laurasulilly
    laurasulilly ·

    I also process at home to save money (and gain in fun), but I often have difficulties figuring out the right developing times- I have overprocessed a couple of times, resulting in too much grain. It will improve with experience I guess :)

  6. woosang
    woosang ·

    @mcrstar yes but the vit c is the more active developer caffenol without vit c would need a long time to develop
    @laurasulilly colour films around 6-12 minutes b&w 8-20 depending on freshness of developer I start with 12-15 usually

  7. woosang
    woosang ·

    @mcrstar yes but the vit c is the more active developer caffenol without vit c would need a long time to develop
    @laurasulilly colour films around 6-12 minutes b&w 8-20 depending on freshness of developer I start with 12-15 usually

  8. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    Caffenol is great fun. I can't stress how easy it is to develop colour film with the Jobo c41 kit too.

  9. oragreen
    oragreen ·

    Great tutorial, thanks! so you can develop color negative films (Fuji Superia 200 for example) not only b&w?

  10. goomba
    goomba ·

    @oragreen: yes, but the negatives will come out B/W.

  11. goomba
    goomba ·

    @oragreen: As a side note, color film may need longer fixing times. I don't know exactly because I fix all my films with ammonia instead of commercial fixer, but for color film ammonia needs a whopping 15 minutes to fix the negatives.

  12. woosang
    woosang ·

    @oragreen As stated by @goomba stated you CAN develop in Caffenol for colour film but all will be b&W and I used a commercial fixer and the fixing times are similar to B&W around 7 minutes If you want to develop colour get the right chemicals and a great thermometer as Colour needs strict temperatures to work properly

  13. mikeydavies
    mikeydavies ·

    cant wait to do this, this is a brilliant article

  14. polarhei
    polarhei ·

    woosang,For this Caffenol, I think CD-4 should be added if we like to develop color film with this. However, without Potassium Bromide, the reaction speed will be slow even we use 38 degrees C to perform the first development.

    One more thing, I shall try this on ISO 400 film since I have attended a workshop needed.

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