Saturday, 25 February 2012

How To: Do an Emulsion Lift on Polaroid Film

  I have recently discovered the joys of doing emulsion lifts on polaroid film and now im highly addicted.  Shooting polaroids is fun in itself but the different manipulations you can do with the film after you've got the image are amazing.  I currently only have 2 Polaroid cameras cameras that shoot both SX70 and 600 film so i haven't yet been able to try this with peel-apart pack film but im on the lookout for a pack film camera.  A bit of interent research has shown me that apparently this doesn't work on the original Polaroid SX70 and 600 films but will work on all films made by the Impossible Project.  I decided to give it a try using some Orange Flash film i recently got from them.  It worked great so i thought i would write a tutorial so you can all have a try too.

For starters you will need the following equipment:
  • 2 trays
  • at least 2 small soft bristled brushes
  • watercolour paper 
  • a sharp craft knife or a pair of scissors
  • warm and cool water
  The first step is to put some warm water (between 30 and 40 degrees celsius) into one of your trays and some cool room temperature water into the second tray.  Now use your knife/scissors to start removing the white borders around the film.  One this has all been stripped off you should be left with a transparent plastic rectangle with your polaroid image on.

  Now, put your polaroid into the warm water and push it around a little for around 20 minutes.
You may see the film start to wrinkle up a little-thats fine, its just the water getting in.  The corners may start to lift a little also.
  Now, use one brush to keep the polaroid still and use the other to very slowly and gently peel the emulsion up off the white under layer.  Take your time doing this as it is very easy to tear the emulsion.
 Once the emulsion is all off gently lift it out of the warm water and into the tray with the cool water in it.

   Now place in a square of watercolour paper and lay it under the emulsion.  Use your brushes to spread your emulsion out into the shape you want above the watercolour paper.

  Once you have it laid out how you want it then its time to lift the paper out.  A handy tip is to find a coaster made of cork and slide it under your paper.  This floats the paper with the image on to the surface of the water, allowing you to remove the paper without the emulsion sliding off.  Once your paper is out leave it somewhere to dry for a few hours then admire your finished article.

  And that's it!  Simple really.  Have a try yourself - you can even stick the emulsion to other materials like wood if you fancy!