Introduction: Making Instant Film at Home ( Polaroid 55 )

Picture of Making Instant Film at Home ( Polaroid 55 )

After following the New55 project closely i decided to give it a try on making instant film positive & negative at home.

Ilford 4X5 film FP4
ilford RC paper
kodak HC 110
ilford rapid fixer
freezer paper 
heat sealer
black paper
electric tape

Step 1: Reagent & Pods

Picture of Reagent & Pods

instant film at home

be careful wear gloves and glasses !

R 3.4 

hc110 5ml, 

ammonia 12ml, 

rapid fixer 3ml, 

water14ml (use a syringe) methylcellulose to make a gelly reagent but not thick ! its easier to mix if the solution is cold, its the tricky part !

for a 4X5 2ml of reagent is way enough, i used a heat sealer and some freezer / butcher paper to make the pod fold with the plastic coating to the inside 

Step 2: Take a Picture Using a Regular 4X5 Back

Picture of Take a Picture Using a Regular 4X5 Back

film exposed ( i'm using an some ilford FP4 ), then assembled the film, the paper ( i used ilford RC fixed as a receiver ) and the pod in the dark, in a black paper sleeve taped to be light proof . process  through rollers and wait 8min ! 

Step 3: Peel It

Picture of Peel It

open and peel the film , clean the receiver with clear water , and negative with some ilford rapid fixer .


Step 4: 8X10

Picture of 8X10

Step 5:


MikeL274 (author)2017-05-04

Hello all,

found this instructables a while ago and unfortunately I have ordered some film, rc paper, HC110, some old Pola 55 sheets toghether with a 600SE 545 holder and a few more stuff ... recently ;-)

Any hints for choosing the right ammonia concentration, here in germany you can get from 1% (Salmiakgeist, just for houshold purposes, cleaning/desinfectiong) up to 12% easily.

@julesdylan ... have you seen some decreas of ISO as described for monobath developers ... about 1 stop.

Just want to make everything right, otherwise I'll have to use the Miniportrait 404 to have 4 exposures on one sheet to test ...

Don't want to spend too much time, paper and negs for testing, would be great if you could reply.

I have ordered some ISO400 negatives in 9x12cm and rc paper (really has to be fixed before use? can't find nonsensitive paper but barryt which will curl when in contact with the monobath goo) in 4x5", so there's enough place around for the additional paper/tape to create the gap.

I would might want to start reloading old envelopes with new materials or even start a production (sounds crazy I know... ask my wife) ... I have experience more than 25 years in paper industry (printing, bookbinding, lettershop, envelopeproduction, inlinemachinery...) ... and I think materials can be produced with less efford and more ebit, than New55-Team does (I think they still have a lot of hand work going on ... which I really don't understand, as the packing machine should not end up beeing larger than a few square feet).

Anyway, would be great to hear from someone who has done this practically, I have quite a lack of time for testing, want to do things right in the first step and refine ... I have invested now already a few days going through the web, the only description of practical use is this instructables post ...

TobiasP7 (author)2016-02-12


this is a great report and for me the starting point to make dtr by myself.

I already discussed about your way with some other enthusiasts and we are not shure about the receiver paper, as you wrote it is not light sensitive. Did you pre-fixed the paper before ?

Thanks for sharing and your answer.


nitrous (author)2015-10-14

This is a very interesting Instructable. (Sorry for the long post)

Like many others, I was confused in more than a few places. The first place was the list of developing chemicals. In particular, I was confused by the list element titled R 3.4

I think, based on my read of the New55 website, that "R 3.4" is a take off of the R3 Monobath that they sell on New55. They don't specify what the developer is, but I suspect it contains similar ingredients to the "R3.4" that is listed here.

The other aspect that was confusing was the fact that at first glance, this looks like a simple film development method. Expose the 4x5 film in the camera - load it into the light tight developer/receiver assembly and run it through the rollers. 8-10 minutes later, peel it all apart. The negative/receiver pair must be emulsion-to-emulsion for the diffusion transfer to occur. It actually is a "One-shot negative processing/contact printing system."

I've given some thought to how I'd make the package "complete" ie the base side of the 4x5 film capable of being exposed in the film holder when it's inserted into the camera body (sealed in the traditional 4x5 film holder with light tight cover in place until the holder is in the camera, ready to be exposed.)

The challenge, as I see it is sealing the film into the packet so that when developed, the monobath doesn't get all over the place. I suspect you might be able to do this with a jig of some kind that lets you build up the film pack in a totally darkroom. In the present form, it really is a more or less sealed bag. You don't have to deal with exposing the film.

Interestingly, it seems like these instant film packs actually expose the negative through the backside of the film rather than through the emulsion side. Is that correct? Does it even matter? Who knows :)

julsdylan (author)nitrous2015-10-15

Hey, sorry did that thing a little while ago.

The developer used is kodak HC110,

i just exposed the film with a regular holder because its easier for testing than assembling something like the type 55 or new 55 sheet.

The process is absolutely diffusion transfer reversal (DTR) not contact printing system at all as the film emulsion is facing the receiver paper, the reagent is spread between them. (more about dtr )

The biggest challenge is making a good reagent jelly sticky enough but still wet. also the gap between the Heg and the receiver is crucial as the reagent need space to work, the its why the there is masking tape on the receiver the Neg is seating on it creating that gap.

Let me know if you have more questions

nitrous (author)julsdylan2015-10-15

I guess I wasn't clear. I was suggesting that the process was "like" field negative processing and contact printing. Actually, DTR is a form of contact printing (you're making a print, by contact with the negative - no where does it say that contact printing requires like - just no enlarger :) )

That being said, it still puzzles me a little about the fact that the negative is (in traditional photography) exposed emulsion side toward the lens. That's not the case in Instant Photography. You expose through the film base. Is this issue addressed in printing with an enlarger ie by putting the negative emulsion away from the emulsion side of the print during printing?

I never got into large format so just routinely printed emulsion to emulsion.

Thanks for replying.

BTW, you never answered the core question: what does "R3.4"
mean? :)

julsdylan made it! (author)nitrous2015-10-15

The Negative is exposed emulsion toward the lens in my case as well as instant photography. DTR is not contact printing because silver Halide merge from the Neg to the receiver to create the positive image, contact printing is just projecting light thru an already developed neg with light sensitive paper under it. receiver in instant photography is not light sensitive.

R 3.4 is my 4th version of reagent from the R3 new55 base.


Do HeeC (author)2015-09-21

dawnacruz (author)2015-01-24

Has anyone made this. I am going to try this but I was hoping for someone who did it before me to give some more instructions. It is a great project idea!

-chase- (author)2013-11-10

Totally cool. First time I heard of the New55 project, I'll definitely check into it. At first I thought you were referring to the Impossible Project and their line of instant films.

Question: Have you figured out a cost per shot using your method?
Have you tried other films other than Illford?

thanx for sharing

vincent7520 (author)2013-11-07

BTW : voted (goes without saying, but then again … )

vincent7520 (author)2013-11-07

TOP OF THE LIST !!!! Really !…

CrunchFist (author)2013-11-07

Looks really interesting and I'd love to try it, but your instructions are really vague and it seems like you skipped a ton of steps to get from start to finish.

themichael (author)2013-11-06

A bit vague. Looks more like a field development system rather than PN55. The 4x5 envelope looks like it won't fit in the Polaroid back on my camera. Sizes, patterns, and a better detailed how-to would be helpful. Do you put the whole thing in the camera or put the film in the envelope to develop? I am guessing the later but still guessing. What rollers are you using?

rawromg (author)2013-11-05

Instructions are kind of difficult to follow. I'd love to try this on my own.

bob3030 (author)2013-11-04

Neat, I can imagine Mr Land doing the same things when he was a maker / inventor working on the Polaroid instant film. Thanks for posting.

The nerdling (author)2013-11-04


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