View Full Version : Experimenting with printing onto different materials/substances other than paper.

05-07-2012, 08:14 AM

I am fairly new to this forum and am very pleased to be part of it! I am a keen analogue photographer and although currently studying a degree in photography which is all based around digital work, I have managed to use film for every project so far and not failed!
I have been a photographer for 12 years. I use large, medium, 35mm formats plus polaroid and have just got myself a Kodak from 1916, which I will be testing this week to see if its working properly. I have full access to a large darkroom and love having this available to me.

One thing I have never done is print onto anything apart from darkroom paper I have bought from Ilford/Kentmere etc, and I have just started my Final Major Project (the big end of year project you do in education in pretty much any genre/form of photography you want). I will be experimenting printing onto wood, stones (pebbles from the beach), gold (or something that resembles gold, my boyfriend is a prop maker), tiles and possibly money (notes).

I feel confident with the chemicals I have bought from reading other threads and forums online, but have not yet started the experimenting and alot of the things on the internet contradict each other which confusses me.

So I'm posting this to see if any one has any big or small practical notes or guidance they would like to add to help me on my way, any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Alice

Bill Burk
05-07-2012, 08:29 AM
Hi Alice,

Welcome and good luck with this project!

My advice would be simple... Since you want to make this a personal project, mix your own "emulsion" for the print instead of buying "Liquid Light" or the equivalent (because that will work but you may feel less achievement from using "premade" formula).

Also, since this is likely to be less sensitive to light than enlarging paper, plan to use the largest format negative you are comfortable handling, you will probably be making a contact print.

05-07-2012, 08:42 AM
Hey Bill,
Thank you for your input. I will be using a premade emulsion and gelatine as time is not on my side, in a ideal world I would like to use home made emulsions, but I have only 3 weeks to get what I want!

I expect I'l be using medium format, but I will bear what you said in mind and hopefully use large format if I'm shooting in a studio.


Bill Burk
05-07-2012, 09:17 AM
Liquid Light is about as sensitive as regular black and white enlarging paper, you pour or brush it onto substrate and develop it the same way.

I'd suggest trying something like Gum Bichromate if you can use larger negatives for contact printing (or maybe several shots or a whole roll of medium format in one print).

05-07-2012, 09:36 AM
I will be using a premade emulsion and gelatine as time is not on my side

If you use the Silverprint SE1 (or any other liquid emulsion), get a plastic knife and use it to "mash up" the emulsion in the original bottle. Shake some of the lumps out in to a beaker and melt these in a water bath. Once melted, add an equal volume of distilled water and then coat your substrate. Doing it this way saves having to constantly remelt a full bottle and incur heat related fogging.

You may find you'll need to coat your substrate with a sizing layer first. This can be a thin solution of gelatin with or without a hardener of some description.