How to develop black & white film with orange juice

Written by simon foden Google
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How to develop black & white film with orange juice
The vitamin C in orange juice can be used to develop black and white camera film. (camera film image by Christopher Hall from

According to Roger K. Bunting, author of the book "The Chemistry of Photography," there are numerous household products that can be used to develop and process camera film. In an article published by "Shutterbug" magazine, he states that vitamin C is an excellent development agent. Orange juice contains vitamin C, but Bunting claims that vitamin C tablets are a more suitable alternative because of the higher concentration of the vitamin, but orange juice that is sufficiently high in vitamin could be used. The idea of using orange juice to develop film made its way into urban lore during an episode of "MacGyver."

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dark room
  • Mixing tray
  • Developing tanks
  • Instant coffee powder
  • Washing soda
  • Orange juice
  • Washing line
  • Pegs

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  1. 1

    Set up the darkroom. You can use anywhere as a darkroom provided it has sufficient space and the capability to black out all light. Many people convert their basement, where you can use black garbage bags to black out your windows.

  2. 2

    Make the development agent. Fill your tray with 354ml. of orange juice, 5 tsp of instant coffee powder and 3 1/2 tsp of washing soda. Mix the ingredients in the tray.

  3. 3

    Load your black and white film. This must be done in total darkness as you will be exposing the undeveloped negatives. Transfer your camera film on to a developing reel so that you can accurately and easily submerge it in the development solution. Transfer the film on to the developing reel by slowly feeding it on with your hands. Once it is on, gently place the development reel inside the developing tank.

  4. 4

    Turn on the lights. Now that the film is inside the development tank, pour in the development solution. Remove the rubber lid from the development tank, and submerge the black and white film with the solution. Replace the lid.

  5. 5

    Allow the chemicals to take effect. The type and size of film will dictate how long you leave the film submerged. If you don't know how long it takes, consult the manufacturer's instructions. Gently rock the development tank once a minute for the first three minutes, then leave it to stand.

  6. 6

    Wash the film. Once the chemicals have taken effect, carefully rinse off any excess residue.

  7. 7

    Hang the film. Use a washing line or piece of string, and peg the negatives up to dry.

  8. 8

    Develop the negatives. Do this either using a printer at a professional darkroom or by scanning them in to your computer.

Tips and warnings

  • Develop film in a well-ventilated area.
  • Before turning out the lights in the dark room, make sure all liquids and chemicals are securely packed away and out of reach so you don't spill them.

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