It is quite a simple matter to print out palladium with no hydration of paper and no development. You simply coat the paper with the sensitizer, allow the coating to dry, place your negative in contact with the paper and expose it all to UV light or sunlight. Examine the progress of the print out and when you are satisifed, immerse the print in a first bath of ice cold water. The remainder of the clearing process is the same as for all the iron processes: a weak acid bath, a water wash, EDTA bath, water, Hypo Clear, water, EDTA, final wash.

I have only used this formula with Arches Platine, Revere Platinum (145 and 300gsm) and Clearprint vellum. It should work fine with any paper that supports palladium.

  • Prepare a solution of 10 ml of 40% ammonium ferric oxalate by dissolving 4 grams of the crystals in 8 ml of cool distilled water. Work in weak tungsten (not fluorescent or natural) light. Stir vigorously until the crystals dissolve completely and top off to a total volume of 10 ml. Pour into a brown glass eyedropper bottle labeled AFO-C(8:2%). You can also use lithium ferric oxalate for a contrastier print out.
  • Prepare a 2% solution of ascorbic acid. Dissolve 1/5th gram of ascorbic acid in 10 ml of distilled water or 1 gram in 50 ml. (Ascorbic acid generally sells for less than 4 cents a gram, so the sacrifice of a single gram to prepare 50 ml of AFO is trivial wastage.) Pour the solution into an eyedropper bottle labeled 2% C.
  • Add eight drops of the 2% ascorbic acid solution to the 10 ml of 40% ammonium ferric oxalate solution. Recap both bottles, and shake the ammonium ferric oxalate vigorously for 10 seconds. The labeling is critical as other processes in this manual require half as much or less ascorbic acid.
  • Prepare 1 gallon of hypo clear.
  • Dissolve 100 grams of tetrasodium EDTA in 2 liters of distilled water and pour into labeled 1 liter bottles.
  • Pour 16 ml of muriatic acid into a large cylinder or beaker containing 984 ml of distilled water. Pour this into a bottle labeled .5% Hydrochloric Acid. Wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and mix the hydrochloric acid solution out of doors. Warning: When the container is opened, acrid fumes rush out.
    Tip: Keep a two-quart sauce pan (not a narrow-necked bottle) filled with cold water within arm's reach when working with an open bottle of muriatic acid: the 29% solution burns skin.
  • Dissolve 8 grams of ferric oxalate in 30 ml of warm distilled water. This process can take upwards of an hour, including warming the bottle in a tray of hot water. After warming, stir vigorously for 15 minutes and place in a dark location. After standing for 30 minutes or so, the ferric oxalate begins to dissolve. Re-warm in hot (not boiling) water and stir for another 15 minutes. Place the solution back in a dark location. It usually dissolves fully after sitting another half hour or so. Ferric oxalate is notoriously difficult to get into solution; you can save yourself considerable anxiety by purchasing it premixed from Bostick & Sullivan. Pour 20 ml into a bottle labeled 26% Ferric Oxalate.
  • Add 10 ml of distilled water to the remaining 10 ml of ferric oxalate and pour this into a bottle labeled 13% Ferric Oxalate.


Use either ammonium ferric-ferrous oxalate or lithium ferric-ferrous oxalate for this process. Boost contrast with 26% ferric oxalate. Most negatives require 4 to 6 drops of ferric oxalate for an 8x10 print when printing with ammonium ferric ferrous ocalate. If you print with lithium ferric-ferrous oxalate (8 drops 2% C added to 10 ml lithium ferric oxalate) you will need either no contrast boost or about a third as much as for AFFO.

Finer control of contrast is afforded by adding a drop of 13% ferric oxalate in addition to the 26% ferric oxalate. Contrast steps are then half so great as with a 26% solution.

Contrast Table

The following table assumes an 8x10 negative. Remember, the ferric oxalate is in addition to the 8 drops of AFO-C(8:2%) and 12 drops of palladium.

Contrast With AFO-C(8:2%) and 26% Ferric Oxalate
Ferric Oxalate Contrast
4 drops Low
5 drops Low medium
6 drops Medium
7 drops Medium high
8 drops High

To make an 8x10 print: 1. Don a pair of rubber or nitrile gloves.
2. Working in weak tungsten light, count 8 drops of 40% AFO-C(8:2%) into a shot glass.
3. Add 12 drops of 15% palladium.
4. Holding the damp brush in one hand, swirl the liquid in the shot glass vigorously and pour the sensitizer solution onto the paper just outside the sketched negative area.
5. Brush the solution quickly but methodically, vertically, horizontally and diagonally across the paper. Spread the solution out evenly as fast as possible while keeping it more or less within the outline. Tip: Perfect your brushwork on ordinary paper using glycerin mixed with food color before trying this with the precious metals.
6. Place the sensitized paper in a dark, dry, cool place for 15 to 30 minutes, until dry. On very humid days, a print takes longer to dry. Do not be tempted to print until the sensitizer is dry.
7. Place a sheet of 2 or 3 mil mylar/acetate on top of the dry paper and the negative on top of the mylar. Place all in the contact print frame.
8. Expose in direct sunlight or to a UV light source. Anticipate exposures ranging from less than 1 minute to as long as 15 minutes, depending on the density of the negative. Keep an eye on the over brushed sensitizer extending past the negative. When it turns dark gray, drop one side of the print frame back to view print-out progress. (Note: Ferric oxalate stains the paper dark yellow, and the image therefore appears darker than it actually is. Examine the print carefully for detail in the darkest and lightest zones where you want detail. Tip: Minimize the interference of the stain by viewing the print through a yellow filter.
9. Immerse the correctly exposed print in a first bath of iced (~35 degrees Fahrenheit) tap water. This ice water bath minimizes the initial darkening of the image.
10. After five minutes, pour off the cold water and pour 250 ml to 500 ml of .5% hydrochloric acid into the tray. Agitate intermittently for five minutes.
11. Discard the acid and wash in cool running water for five minutes.
12. Repeat the .5% acid bath with fresh solution and water wash two more times.
13. After the third wash in running water, pour 5% tetrasodium EDTA into the tray. Agitate intermittently
for 15 minutes.
14. Pour the EDTA back into its bottle and wash the print in running tap water for five minutes.
15. Pour 250 ml to 500 ml of Kodak or other brand Hypo Clear (at normal strength for clearing silver gelatin prints or sodium sulfite into the tray and agitate intermittently for 15 minutes. Save the dilute Hypo Clear for later prints if more planned for the session. Discard this solution at the end of the session.
16. Wash print in running water again for 5 minutes, and then soak in tetrasodium EDTA for 15 minutes.
17. Wash a print on Arches Platine or Revere Platinum 300 gsm in running water for 60 minutes. Wash Revere Platinum 145 gsm or Clear Print vellum for 30 minutes.
18. Drain the print holding it by one corner and hang to dry. Do not touch the emulsion.
19. Spot the dry print with spot tone or India ink as necessary.