Skill Builder: Caffenol Homebrew Film Developer

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

85 Articles

By Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

85 Articles

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Only recently did I find out that you can develop negative film with instant coffee, vitamin C, and washing soda. This homebrew developer has become known as “caffenol” and there are plenty of photographers out there who have used this method in the darkroom. I read up on a few different recipes and tried my hand at developing my own snapshots with caffenol. As you can see from the video, it took a couple tries, but I did eventually get it right. As a matter of fact, I was impressed with the results:

If you’re interested in trying this out yourself and are looking for more resources, the recipe that I used is based on a how-to at Photojojo and I found a lot of great advice from the discussion forums in the Caffenol group on Flickr. There’s also a great blog dedicated to the art of processing negatives with caffenol. If you do try it out, post your favorite caffenol photos in the MAKE Flickr pool!

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