View Full Version : Making a photographic plate by hand

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Photo Engineer
04-09-2011, 07:19 PM
Well, by using the hand pouring method, any size can be coated depending on the skill of the operator. I also happen to have a 12" coating blade. :)

So......... Any size.


05-20-2011, 10:24 AM

Thank you for this great information. This method is very interesting.
I will must give it a try with my wet plate camera.


05-31-2011, 05:09 PM
This website has some good info:


I really like the look of his hand made ortho film.

Have any of you guys tried hand coating with commercial ready made emulsion? Here is an example:


Chris Maness

05-31-2011, 05:14 PM
Fun... thanks.
Always wondered about those donkey riding 16x20 wet plate photographers and how the heck they did it.
Thanks PE and crew!!!

Photo Engineer
05-31-2011, 06:13 PM
Well, don't forget the workshop I am giving at George Eastman House in October on making 3 grades of Azo type paper for printing all of these LF plates and film coatings! :D Next year, we hope to run a Kodabromide type enlarging workshop and later on give the ortho emulsion a run or two.


01-29-2012, 02:32 PM
Do I understand properly, that the plate here is being coated with regular emulsion? Not collodium?

Photo Engineer
01-29-2012, 03:45 PM
Yes, photographic emulsion, not collodian. However, collodian cannot be excluded entirely.


11-25-2015, 06:32 PM
Sorry for posting on an old but none the less important thread, but would it be cheaper to coat glass plates than it would for me to buy sheet film, I have an old press camera that I would like to use but the size of sheet film (1/4 plate) is not available and if it is, it is quite expensive. I would be prepared to cut the sheet film however I would like to practice my chemistry skills by coating my own plates. Would anyone know how much emulsion is required to coat a quarter plate or perhaps a whole plate that I will cut into quarters. Also would anyone know of a emulsion that is relatively affordable on silver nitrate. There is a supply in my country where I can purchase it in 10 gram lots.

Photo Engineer
11-25-2015, 07:37 PM
You would use about 12 ml to coat a 4x5 plate with the excess being re-usable if you collect runoff and reuse it. Typical home brew emulsions run from ISO 2 to ISO 25 and can be either blue or blue green sensitive. Some workers have shown pan sensitivity.

Compare these restrictions to what you can buy and compare relative value.


11-25-2015, 09:05 PM
Would you say that it is cheaper to coat plates yourself as opposed to buying sheet film?, if you exclude the cost of the glass

Photo Engineer
11-25-2015, 10:25 PM
I can't say, as I had to develop my emulsions from scratch and that includes the overhead of the cost of development. Sorry.

However, a comparison to a commercial emulsion might help you.