Intro: World's Cheapest Darkroom Enlarger
This is my invention: a camera obscura photographic enlarger. Someone else has probably made one before, but I haven't found it on the internet yet.
You can buy all of the supplies in the dollar store. To make one you'll need:
To make your own enlarger you'll need:
A sturdy cardboard box
Black card to make your camera obscura
A magnifying glass/lens
Tracing paper or similar
Some transparent red plastic (you could try colouring in clear plastic from food packaging with a red marker if you can't find any, but would need to test it's light safety before making prints)
Tape and glue
A small light (preferably with a clip)
A sheet of glass
Some black tape
This has been tested and WORKS! The second video details how I made my bathroom into a super budget darkroom and the usage of the homemade camera obscura enlarger.
To test the light safety of your enlarger/safelights/filter: Take some unexposed photo paper and place a coin on top of it. Turn on your safelights/ your enlarger with the white light on, but red filters covering the white light. Leave for 5-10m. Develop the paper as normal under safelights. Examine carefully in daylight after fixing and washing. If the paper is grey or you can see the coin's outline then there is a white light leak in your darkroom and you need to isolate and fix it. If it is totally white then your safelights and filters are doing their jobs. Remember- safelights are only safe for FOUR MINUTES before they begin to gradually fog undeveloped photographic paper. The effect is cumulative, so always put your paper back in the lightsafe bag and box immediately after removing a sheet to expose to avoid gradually fogging the whole box over time.
Here are details of my darkroom supplies and the associated costs:
My entire darkroom setup cost around 6000 yen/ $60/£40, and that's including 50 sheets of photo paper and chemicals to process it! Here's what I bought and used:
Light proofing: 4 x black felt squares, iron-on bonding tape, black paper, black electrical tape, push pins and velcro squares, 2 x red bike lights to use as safelights = 1260円
Enlarger: camera obscura kit, red acetate sheet as a filter, piece of glass, clipboard, cardboard box, LED clip light = 525円
Developing: 3 x trays, 3 x tongs, thermometer, 3 x mixing jugs, fixer concentrate (makes 5 litres), vinegar for stop bath, instant coffee, washing soda, vitamin C powder, plastic box for print washer, 2 x packs of metal clips for print drying = 2743円
Photographic paper (Fujibro Varigrade WB 6x4 inches, 50 sheets)= 1380円
I also splashed out and bought the following for developing negatives: changing bag= 1436円 and a 35mm, one-roll second hand developing tank= 1600円. I spent money here because negative emulsion is around 100 times as light sensitive as paper, so require total light safety to avoid fogging.
I would <3 <3 <3 to see your results from using my design and to hear your thoughts. Please post links, comments and your experiences below! Thanks!