Photographers: I want to make my own photographic paper. Is there a good book about this?

I want to try making my own paper, for black and white and maybe even color. I know it won’t look like professionally made photo products, but I’ve gotten into my head that the mistakes and imperfections might look pretty interesting, too.

I know you can buy liquid emulsion and paint it on paper, and I’ve heard about various funky processes like cyanotype and salt prints and so on, though I know next to nothing about them.

I want to find out more about this, but I don’t want a chemistry text; I want something more like a recipe book. Can anybody here recommend a book that covers the practical chemistry of this stuff in a “how-to-do-it-yourself” kind of way?

Definitely a labor of love, compared to just buying a bottle of Liquid Light, but there is a surprisingly large group of people out there making their own emulsions.

A few sites to check out:

I’ve done it and don’t recommend it. It’s an expensive, error rife process and the material expires rapidly.
What is fun is to buy liquid print emulsion from hobby sites and paint it over objects like lampshades and vases, then use them as printing paper.

Color developing was also a mistake. It was expensive even with a kit, and had to be done in large batches since the solutions would expire that day. I printed the roll of pictures from my honeymoon trip. The test picture came out with a beautiful blue sky and so I ran all the prints at those settings. But, turns out, my sky must really have been gray that day, because all my other pictures were oversaturated with blue. My wife was …d

Heh, that brings back memories. Many years ago, my father got the bright idea to process his own slides. (Presumably Ektachrome) We didn’t have a darkroom at the house, and I don’t think he’d ever been in an actual darkroom before. The bathroom wound up looking like Something Bad happened with a big brown stain on the tile floor, and the kitchen table looked like a Fotomat shop exploded with little snips of film and bent slide holders everywhere. He was not a patient man to begin with, and this folly did nothing to improve his mood. Surprisingly, the images survived. :stuck_out_tongue: