Polaroid Emulsion Lifts...How To!
Getting Started....You will need to use Polaroid 669 or 690 (depending on your camera's film size) film for this process. The colors are slightly more saturated with 690 film.
This site http://www.rwhirled.com/landlist/landdcam-pack.htm has lots of info on the types of cameras (which you can find on ebay cheap) that take this film...you could also use a slide printer to print on 669 or 690 film. If you have a Daylab Slide Printer, you can by a 4 x 5 base and use type 59 or 559 film for this as well.
What can I transfer the image to?
As far as surfaces to transfer the emulsion to....just about anything works:
-candles (may need some sealer on this for backup.)
-bottles (plastic or glass)
-fabrics (especially nice on linen)
-other paper, including: watercolor (i prefer the smoother hot press paper), cardboard, cardstock, linen paper, handmade paper, vellum, etc.
I think just about anything will work, use your imagination! I recently put one on a 'push light'.
First off....take the picture or print the image onto the Polaroid film using your slide printer). You'll have to wait 8-24 hours after you take a picture before using it for emulsion lifts. The longer it has to dry, the easier it is to lift the emulsion. I recommend waiting 24 hours or more.
What you'll need:
-clear sticky contact paper
-a sheet of acetate
-An old frying pan, or wide and low pot. (I use an old electric skillet I picked up at a thrift store-i recommend getting one). Just make sure you dedicate this pan or skillet to Polaroids from now on...Don't eat out of it!
-thermometer (unless you have that electric skillet)
-A shallow and wide bowl, pan, tupperware or photo tray.
-Watercolor paper (or whatever surface you choose to put your emulsion on)
-some rubber gloves (optional)
Here we go!
1. Bring some water to 160 degrees F in a frying pan or electric skillet.
2. Put some room temperature water in the shallow bowl or tupperware. This will be your cool down bath. I use tap water, some recommend distilled.
3. Attach a piece of contact paper to the white side (back) of the picture. This will keep you from having a big gooey mess in your pan once the picture heats up. TRUST ME! Some people leave the thin white polaroid border on the picture, some cut it off before attaching the contact paper. It's all up to you!
4. Put the picture in the pan, image side up. Try not to let the picture touch the bottom of the pan, so you don't burn it. Yes...honey...we're having Polaroids for dinner again! *giggles*
5. Watch the picture closely. I know they say a "watch pot never cooks" but don't listen to them! When you see the whole image getting bubbles or wrinkles (after roughly a minute or two), take it out (use a fork, spatula or tongs) and transfer it to the shallow cool down bath.
6. Be very careful, hold the image down to the bottom of the shallow bowl. Hold it by the very corners and try not to tear it. As you're holding it down with one hand, use your fingers on your other hand to start pushing the emulsion off (start at the very corner...slowly, DON'T PULL or it will tear). Keep doing this until you get the whole emulsion off of the card backing. Let the emulsion float freely (try to keep it's ends/edges from touching each other...they tend to get stuck to each other and you risk tearing when you try to separate them). Throw the card backing away. You will see some goo floating around in there...may want to throw on those rubber gloves.
7. While your image is floating freely, put your piece of acetate in the cool down bath UNDERNEATH the picture. Make sure you have the image on the acetate *backwards* as you are using the acetate to transfer the image to the receptor surface (assuming you don't want to dunk the whole surface under the water). If you are just using watercolor paper, you can put it in the cool down bath with the floating image and apply it directly to the paper however you like! You can then play with how you want the picture to look on the paper, by shifting the picture around until you are satisfied--flat, wrinkled, crazy, however you want it!
Once you get the picture on there, take it all out of the shallow bath, slowly and put the paper/receptor on paper towels to dry.
It will probably take a day to dry or overnight. You may screw up your first one, so don't use your best picture first. It may work right away or it may take a few tries. I like to coat my finished product with some Krylon clear coat (matte unless you have a shiny surface).
Last step: Do a little "I did an emulsion lift" dance!!
other film types to use that i haven't tried yet:
664, 54, or 554 black and white polaroid film is supposed to work. You have to have the water boiling for this film, though.
If you want to spend the extra money for the convenience of having a kit, instead of buying or scrounging up what you need...
Polaroid also sells an Emulsion/Image Transfer kit.
Run along and make some Emulsion Lifts and post them in the Experimental Gallery here at APUG.org!!!
My email is open if anyone has a question or has problems. rm(at)thisfornow.com (take out the "(at)" and replace with "@").