Introduction: Emulsion Transfers

This is a step by step process on how to transfer an emulsified Polaroid onto a matte board. 

Step 1: Materials

Make sure you have all your necessary tools. 
-Polaroids
-Matte Board
-Scissors
-Tools for transfer
-Water tin
-Bathtub or something big enough to submerge your board
-Hot/Luke warm water
-Frame (optional)
-Matte cutting board (optional)

Step 2: Step 1

Start cutting, thin strips, on the sides of your Polaroid. 

Step 3: Step 2

Next, SLOWLY and carefully start pulling the Polaroid apart. Our film was a bit distorted, faulty store buy, but make sure to peel the back part of the picture leaving the clear transfer on the front. 

Step 4: Step 2: Completed

This is what you will end up with at the end of Step 2. 

Step 5: Step 3

Repeat Step 2 for all Polaroid shots you have. Again, be careful! 

Step 6: Step 4

Heat up water (whatever your preference). We used a tea kettle and let the water sit so it wasn't boiling hot. You want the water warm but not hot; warm enough to allow the print to release without tearing. Then pour the water into a dish deep about 3 inches will do, depending on the size of  your dish. 

Step 7: Step 5

Now, submerge one of your prints into the water. You will be able to start cutting the edges right away. Do this one Polaroid at a time. 

Step 8: Step 6

Once your print is fully soaked in the water, take two tools (tooth-pick like) and start tracing around the edges, carefully cut until the print starts to come off. Have patience for this part otherwise you won't grab your full print. The printed film with be see through and VERY fragile, almost like paper. 

Step 9: Step 6: Completed

This is what you will end up with at the end of Step 6. I know its kind of weird but just trust me. 

Step 10: Step 7

Here comes the tricky part... Take your dish, film and board into the bathtub (the water needs to be cool). Transfer the film, using your tools, onto the board. The film will stick instantly to the board without glue, (especially when its out of water) so try to be as quick as possible without tearing your print. Once you have your film placed, gently start to flatten it out. This may take a while but remember, be patient, the outcome is incredible. Look at the pictures above to see how it comes out. 

Step 11: Step 7: Completed

This is what Step 7 will look like once you have finished. 

Step 12: Step 8

Repeat the same process as Step 7 with the other prints. If you are going to use more than one print or layer them like we did, try to let your film dry a minute or two before placing your board back in the bathtub. The film will start to dissipate. and the board will fall apart, if you leave it in the water too long. Again, the film will stick to the board without glue or anything, out of water. So try to be quick. 

Step 13: Step 9

Finally, once you have finished transferring and placing your prints, very carefully, smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles you find unappealing. If there are any tears you may have to use your tools to assist you. The film is extremely fragile and can tear at any moment; since they are Polaroids, it's a one shot deal. 

Step 14: Step 10: Final Project

Here it is!! Doesn't it look amazing! Make sure to let the print dry before framing. (Framing is optional) 


Project pictures taken by Kayla Stephens 
Project and Polaroids done by photographer Christopher Bobek 
Facebook: facebook.com/chrisbobekphotography
Instagram: chrisbobekphoto
Blog: www.christopherbobek.com/blog
Website: www.christopherbobek.com

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