Part A. Loading Your Film
1. Take the roll of film you want to develop out of your camera.
2. Bring your film into the darkroom and set up your work area.
A film reel. The reel is what you’ll load the film onto once you take it out of the cassette.
A film tank. A film tank is a sealable plastic container that you’ll develop the film negatives in.
A cassette opener. You’ll use the cassette opener to open the film so you can load it on the reel.
Scissors. You’ll need scissors to cut the film off the cassette.
3. Turn off the lights and open the film cassette with the opener.
At this point, there should be no light in the darkroom. If you can see in front of you, there’s too much light. To open the cassette, hook the edge of the lid under the cassette opener. Then, bend the cassette to the side until the lid pops off.
Make sure your phone is turned off and put away so it doesn’t light up and ruin the film.
4. Take the film out of the cassette and cut it off with scissors.
5. Load the film onto the reel.
When you’re finished, all of the film should be securely wrapped around the reel. There shouldn’t be any film sticking out.
6. Place the reel in the film tank.
Part B. Adding Developer, Stop Bath, and Fixer
7. Turn the lights on and mix 1 part film developer with 1 part water.
Mix the developer and water in a metal or plastic container, not in the film tank. You don’t need to stir the developer and water together.
You can find film developer online or at your local photography store.
8. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the mixture.
If you can’t find the developing times for your brand of film, try looking them up online.
Film typically needs 8.5 to 11 minutes to develop.
9. Pour the mixture into the film tank and set a timer.
10. Agitate the film periodically as it develops.
First minute of developing: Agitate the film for 30 seconds. Then, place the tank on a flat surface for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, agitate the film for the remaining 10 seconds of the first minute.
Second minute of developing: Let the film tank rest on a flat surface for 50 seconds. Then, agitate the film for the last 10 seconds of the second minute.
Subsequent minutes of developing: Repeat the same agitation and rest times you used in the second minute of developing for every minute until the film is finished developing.
11. Pour the developer mixture out of the film tank.
12. Fill the tank with stop bath and agitate it for 30 seconds.
You can find stop bath online or at your local photography store.
13. Pour out the stop bath and fill the tank with fixer.
You can find film fixer online or at your local photography store.
Part C. Rinsing and Drying Your Film
14. Empty out the fixer and rinse your film with cold water.
15. Soak the film reel in a container filled with wetting agent for 30 seconds.
You can find a wetting agent online or at your local photography store.
16. Take the film off the reel and unroll it.
Part D. Storing Your Developed Film
18. Clean the film with a film cleaner to remove any streaks.
19. Cut your film into strips of 5 negatives.