liquid Light Sensitive Photographic Emulsions How To Make Your Own Photographic Film and Paper, by Lucenta
how to make photographic film and paper book
with 120 pages, 200 illustrations, this book shows you step by step how to make
photographic plates & paper. many emulsion formulas including ultra rapid
negative emulsions to be exposed in any camera.

Coating Liquid Photographic Emulsion on Fiber Paper

step by step: find in this page

how to make your own photographic paper !


for the first time disclosed

formula number: 4

ontact Printer For Silver Chloride LUCENTA Emulsions
high contrast contact speed emulsion

  " lucenta silver chloride

photographic silver emulsion "

  Coating of Silver Emulsion on Wood Photographic silver images Made On Natural Wood
use it also to sensitize wood. make photographic pictures on wood.

Saul Bolaños Author of lucenta emulsions

  like the rapid LUCENTA silver bromide and cloro-bromide silver emulsion formulas for enlarging,
as well as very rapid negative photographic emulsions to use in the camera;  order the book, it is
now also available as a "CD"  and as a zip folder file
Homemade Photographic Rapid Negative Emulsion On Glass
rapid LUCENTA negative emulsions can be exposed in the camera, how to make them, order the book.

© 2015, Saul Bolaños
Photo Emulsion Making in Darkroom

EMULSION number: 4:

you do not need a darkroom , Work can be done at night away from fluorescent daylight type light sources.

Emulsion can be made at a distance of 3 meters ( 9 feet )  from an incandescent 25w ordinary white light bulb.

Place the bulb behind you so your own body Shades the working table as shown in figure.

four Basic raw materials needed:

1.Gelatine  2. silver nitrate  3. distilled water 4. ordinary kitchen salt.

Formula To make 400 -500 ml of finished emulsion

Emulsion can be mixed, made and coated at a distance of 3 meters from a 25w white light bulb, but shading the mixing vessels with your own body as shown in figure above. Emulsion is 100 % less sensitive to light in humid form than in dried form.
It is recommended that you make this emulsion before any other emulsion given in this book. You will know the basics of mixing chemicals, the feel of gelatine solutions, and most important also of coating the emulsion on fiber paper which can be done very conveniently in any room under relatively Very Bright Light.

This " contact printing speed" silver chloride emulsion is simple and rapid to prepare, as said before, it can be made at night at 8 -9 feet (2.5 mts) under the light of a 25 w incandescent bulb, shading vessel with the body.
if amount of gelatine is reduced in solution A, contrast will lower giving a coarse grain with tendency to fog on development. Vigorous agitation during precipitation is vital for good contrast.
At 50c, ( 122 f) water evaporates at such a slow rate, that for the time given for its ripening 30-40min/50c (celsius) Emulsion can be mixed, made and finished in 1 liter glass bowl, with no need to transfer to other vessels with a lid.
Saul Bolaños portrait
At the LUCENTA Research Labs, looking at the files now, I found I formulated, in a 20 years span of time, more than 200 washed and unwashed silver chloride emulsions, research was systematic. The formula chosen to be given here are the easiest to make with the assurance to obtain good results.

This formula will furnish a good emulsion even with the worst of " food grade " edible Gelatins ( in powdered form) we tested (gelatine type x, which see in book) with this formula, With ripening time of only 30min /50c to avoid any fog. It gave whites never as pure and clean as other edible gelatins ( in leaf form) but it was acceptable, the blacks were solid.

Inert type of gelatines, which because lack of sulphur do not give strong solid blacks with bromide emulsions, will furnish good blacks with this chloride emulsion. For the " Rapid Unwashed Chloride emulsion" to be given later, Gelatine type x will not provide a clean emulsion that will keep with clean whites on prolonged storage.

Gelatine in Leaf Form to make following silver chloride gelatin emulsion.

I really recommend edible,
tasteless and colorless,
in leaf form edible food grade gelatine,
like the german leaf gelatine from " gelitas AG"
which is found in food stores all over the world.

the emulsion of present formula If coated on Chemically inert materials like 100% rag or cotton watercolor paper used by artists, emulsion will keep for years without fog, sealed from air humidity and contaminants, inside light tight plastic bags, and kept below 27c.


make solutions: A.B.C.D. in separate vessels, and follow PRECIPITATION steps as given below. if you have any doubts proceed to the GRAPHICS: " steps 1, 2, 3, etc." or post me a question.
  A. Salts Solution Heated to 50c (122 f )

  Dissolve in order given:

  Distilled Water ................................................300   ml

  Sodium chloride ( ordinary kitchen salt) ... 5 gram

  flavorless and colorless gelatine .............40 gram
  B. Silver Solution, use at room temperature

  Distilled Water..................................................100 ml

  Silver Nitrate ....................................................10 gram
  C. Antiseptic:

  Salicylic is optional. To keep liquid uncoated

  emulsion without mould for 1 year or so under


 10% salicylic acid in alcohol ...............................10 ml

  ethyl alcohol (for easy flowing of emulsion) ..10 ml


in A/ in 5 seconds or less

  + Agitate briskly1 minute.

  + 30 minutes 50c. ( 122 f)

  Stirring 15 secs every 10 min

  + C/ stir well to homogenize mix

  + D/ optional (but recommended )

   emulsion is finished

  just add tap water

  to desired volume
  Final Volume:

  should not be more than 500 ml
  for a normal 8 % gel conc.

  it can be 400 - 425 ml
  for a thicker 10 % gel conc.

  D. Gelatine Hardener to prevent gelatine damage

  during processing:

  5 % potassium Alum solution................................ 8 ml

   1. 45 % Halide (salt) in excess
  2. Ratio Ag / Gel 1:4
  3. Ripening temp: minimum: 30/40 min /50 c

  never go above 60c with this emulsion it will fog !

  for normal speed and contrast, grade 4.0
  It can be heated up to 90 min/ 50c without fog.

  in 90/min 50c speed will double
  but grain will grow, and contrast may drop to
  grade 3.0 (which is also
  high) but tones are not as warm on development.
Melting the Photographic gelatine

  (figure above)
After soaking, melt the gelatine with the salts solution in hot water bath at 50c.(122 f) stir with a plastic spoon or a stainless steel one. once completely melted and at 50c, then

in darkroom by bright yellow artificial light, or    by 25 W incandescent bulb,
PRECIPITATE, that is, add the silver nitrate solution to the gelatine salt solution as shown in figure below.

step 3:

Precipitation of Silver Nitrate into a Kitchen Salt Solution
Melting liquid Photo Emulsion
if the finished emulsion is not coated immediately, on storing in liquid form for a while, it will turn into a solid. before using it has to be melted gently (about 35/40c) in a warm water bath
Soaking Photo Emulsion Gelatine

(figure above)
By room temperature soak the gelatin (cut in small pieces if in leaf form)

in the cold salts solution until it becomes limp and flexible, stir about a minute to wet at all point as much as possible. Leave soaking at least 30 minutes before melting.
as shown in figure STEP 2 to the right.

(see figure STEP 3)
With salts bowl inside water bath at 50c , add silver solution at room temperature rapidly in less than 5 secs while stirring briskly with wire beater.

Continue agitation for 60 more seconds after precipitation . After that, continue heating at 50c, for 30-40 min agitating for 15 seconds every 10 minutes.
At the end of 30-40 min, stir in antiseptic C, followed by hardener D, adjust final volume with water to no more than 500 ml for a “normal” gel concentration of 8 %. liquid Emulsion is finished.

At this concentration emulsion will be thin enough for coating large areas for example a paper sheet size ( 20x24 inches) without prematurely coming in its solid form.
especially in cold weather, below 22c. If very small areas are to be coated, for example 25 x 25 mm (1x1 inches) and room temperatures are above 23-24c, (73-76 f) In this case do not add any water, to cause the applied emulsion to set more rapidly.
Finished emulsion can be coated immediately after mixing, or stored under refrigeration for long keeping in liquid form.

Before refrigerating, let the liquid finished emulsion mature at room temp for at least 24 hours, to let reactants accommodate and find their own equilibrium during that time.
Emulsions are very sensitive to temperature shocks. After keeping under refrigeration ( or at room temp) for any period of time , on re-melting and coating,
if paper is exposed and processed immediately after coat has dried, speed will usually be about 100% lower, if processed 24-48 hrs after coat has dried, speed will be at a maximum and so will contrast.

liquid Photo Emulsion Storing
when you have finished making the liquid emulsion pour it in a glass, plastic or stainless steel vessel. store it in a light proof container and keep it, until needed, under refrigeration (not in freezer)
Coating Paper with Liquid Lucenta Emulsionstep 4:
Coating the Paper

In Darkroom, with emulsion melted at around 35- 38c, Pin paper to be coated on a pile of newspapers, and place it in a manner that is not hit directly by the light , as shown in figure.

Where the pile of newspapers act as wall protecting the emulsion from excessive “safe” light exposure which will degrade the whites on development. Alternatively, during coating, shade the paper with your own body as shown previously.

emulsion may be coated directly on watercolor fiber paper. For better blacks Apply first 1 coat of a 10% gelatine solution as a sub. to the paper. After sub has dried, apply 2 to 3 thin brush coats of liquid photographic emulsion.
use the softest brush you can find and make sure is wide enough for the area of paper you will be coating.

Emulsion Capacity / Brush Coated:

1 Liter ( about 1 quart) covers about 100 sheets of  fiber Paper size (20 x 25 cm) 8 x10 in. this liquid emulsion is one of the contrasted LUCENTA EMULSIONS so it can also be coated directly on natural wood giving very strong blacks.

Sensitivity of Lucenta Emulsion Number 4 to the white “Safe” Light of a 25w incandescent bulb:
At 8 feet distance Dry coated paper will begin to show fog on development with an exposure of 2 minutes. It must not be exposed directly longer to 1 minute to that light. For Safer Light use a 25 w Bright Yellow bulb. In a humid condition coated emulsion can stand double exposure times given without fog.

Drying of photographic paper in a boxstep 5
Drying the photo Paper

Place coated photographic paper inside an ordinary brown carton box.

Place it AS SHOWN IN FIGURE, in a manner that paper being dried inside of it, is not hit directly by the safelight. Paper shaded in this manner,
can be left to dry as long as it is necessary without risk of safelight fog.

To dry, direct Cold air from a fan, as seen in the figure. emulsion will be firm enough in 5-10 minutes to receive second coat even if first coat is not completely dried.
Apply a third coat in same way if necessary. After drying pack away safely. in total darkness in a dry cool place it keeps  a long time. Expose and process,
follow all steps, see below:

step 6
Coantact printer HomemadeContact Printing

Exposing & Processing LUCENTA Chloride Unwashed Positive Emulsion # 4 ,HOW TO MAKE A CONTACT PRINTER

Place the coated paper in firm contact with a silver negative produced on glass or celluloid,

Make a contact printer as shown in figure
, tape a piece of glass to a board.
Lift the glass, place the coated paper on the baseboard, on top of the sensitive paper. place the negative, lower the glass in a manner that its weight firmly presses the negative in close contact with coated paper.

Make the exposure to white light. ( as in figure) the function of The glass in the printing frame is to let the light go through while at the same time pressing the negative against the paper for sharp lines on the developed image.
Instead of a silver negative . A DIGITAL negative ( made by computer/ printed on acetate) can be used. The final size of the image will be the same size as the negative employed.

Exposing to Light Coated Homemade Silver Paperstep 7
how to Make the Exposure

Expose the negative in contact with the paper in the printer frame ( as shown above) to white the light, as shown now in figure to the the right.

At the end of exposure;
-Separate negative from the light sensitive coated paper, and then develop the exposed paper. The negative of course can be used again and again for a infinite number of times. If negative was made on acetate, it must be taped to the sheet of glass.

a silver negative on celluloid can be used, for that you need a darkroom. much easier is to make a DIGITAL NEGATIVE. that is printed on acetate commanded from a photo editing program in the computer. full tutorial is given in my book: " THE LUCENTA MANUAL OF SILVER EMULSIONS ".

step 7
processing / developing and fixing the exposed imageHandling of Photo Paper in Darkroom


30 - 45 seconds for blue black tones
or 2 -6 min for brown to sepia tones. (see below)

Transfer to a 1 % solution of acetic acid stop bath for 30 seconds.
If there is damage here or during washing use LUCENTA Boric Alum Hardening stop bath (which see) for 30-60 secs,

With this excellent stop bath, a plain non hardening fixing bath can be used below.

3. FIX
for no more than 10 minutes In an" ordinary hardening ” fixer. that is, thiosulphate with potassium alum
agitate with frequent agitation. For Archival Permanency:
fix for   10 minutes in 2 fixing baths.
First Bath: 5 minutes this bath can be a used bath (but not overworked) Second Bath: 5 minutes, bath must be fresh and unused. shade the paper during processing. after 2 minutes in the fixing bath, white light can be turned on, the photographic paper is no longer sensitive to light.

after fixing for 10 minutes, wash the photo paper ( now bearing the developed image) during 30 minutes in gently running water.

Developing of Silver PrintsDeveloping for Brown Black Tones: 
a minimum exposures, example: 25 seconds,
yields photo images of a intense black tone,

for warm tones:

Expose 100 % more than for black tones
and prolong developing time.
Develop for 4 - 6 min at 23 c in: kodak's Dektol
or D72 paper developer diluted with 2 parts water.

for more intense brown tones,
add to every 70ml of the paper developer in use:
10 ml of a 10 % solution of Citric Acid.

chemical balanceFORMULA:
" photographic PAPER DEVELOPER D 72
This silver halide paper developer is identical to kodak’s Dektol, it can also substitute Ilford’s Bromophen or  Agfa’s Neutol paper developers.

Water about 50c ( 125 f) ..............500  ml
Metol (or kodak’s Elon) ......................3  grams
sodium sulphite anhydrous ..............45 grams
Hydroquinone 12 grams
sodium carbonate monohydrated .....80 grams
( If anhydrous use 67 grams)
Potassium bromide ..............................2  grams
add cold water to make total:.... 1000  ml

For all paper used diluted with 2 parts water. Developing Time at 20c ( 68 f ) for LUCENTA bromide Emulsion # 1:  1.5 minutes For Cloro-bromide Emulsions # 2 and # 3: 45 - 60 seconds. For Pure Chloride emulsions # 4, #5 and # 6: 30- 45 seconds.

chemical glassware


Mix in the order given:

Water at around 50 - 60 c (125 f +)..... 600   ml
Sodium Thiosulphate ( Hypo) ...................240  gm
Sodium Sulphite ( anhydrous ) ...................15  gm
Acetic Acid ( glacial = about 90 % +) .......13   ml
(or 28 % made by diluting glacial 3:8) ..235   ml
Boric Acid ( crystals ) ................................7.5   gm
Potassium Alum ......................................... .15   gm
Add cold water to a final Volume of ....1000   mL

CAPACITY: 100 ml fixes no more than 2 sheets 8x10 inches.
see also links on bottom of this page
IMAGES BELOW: some photographic works on paper and wood made with the lucenta emulsion formula num: 4 just given to you and printed by contact on flat surfaces coated with the emulsion.
Photographic Silver Prints on Wood And Fiber PaperS
note that the emulsion formula LUCENTA CHLORIDE num 4, given above is of contact speed, which means the exposure is made with the negative " in contact " with the sensitized surface, if surface is not flat. the negative can not make intimate contact, the result is that the image will not be sharp.

if you like to makeS photographic pictures on irregular surfaces like eggs, stones, spoons etc, you need an emulsion of higher light sensitivity. in such case you need warm tone LUCENTA CLORO-BROMIDE or pure BROMIDE emulsions. These are so rapid, that you can " project " the image onto the sensitized surface using an enlarger. below some photographic art works using these LUCENTA rapid positive emulsions. to make these, step by step, you need to order my book.
Silver Art Works on Eggs, Spoons, Stones and Plates
above: silver images on irregular surfaces, eggs, spoons, plates, and stones using LUCENTA RAPID warm tone cloro-bromide and cold tone bromide positive silver emulsions; these formulas are given in my BOOK:
the more illustrated silver emulsion book ever written in any language. with more than 200 illustrations, many photographic emulsion formulas, step by step.
Photographic Silver Emulsion Book, by Saul Bolaños
Lucenta Silver Emulsion Book Contents

please send

your questions & comments:

write me: H E R E

Saul Bolaños Author of Lucenta Emulsions
© 2017, Saul Bolaños


photographic emulsion formulas book content ----- liquid emulsion problems and solutions
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make your own negative photographic film and plates