Once upon a time there was a girl who loved to do Polaroid Transfers. But then the evil corporation decided to discontinue making instant film, and she was devastated. Then she learned that one can do a similar process with Fuji. She and Fuji lived happily ever after.
Here is my detailed process for doing a Fuji 100c Transfer (formerly Polaroid Transfer)...a dry transfer method...put together from trying the directions of several other artists, such as Peter Balazsy and Norma Hill. Peter Balazsy was the first pioneer of the process, and contacted me and gave me his updated 'quick' recipie, which is down below. He had kindly shared his directions at two of the links below too.
How do you do Fuji Transfers? It is not at all as easy as it was with Polaroid film, and the results are not quite as sharp or clear. If one prefers the more ethereal, dreamy, look of the transfers then they may actually like using the Fuji film over Polaroid. Either way, they no longer have a choice. There is a company called The Impossible Project that is trying to make Polaroid film. I bought some, and I was HIGHLY disappointed. Give it a year before you buy...they need to work out some kinks in their film.
Here is the step by step process that I have used to do the Fuji 100c transfers. Feel free to email me if you have questions, of if you want to chat. I can also be found as mestable37 on www.polanoid.net .
Eventually I will try to make a video or more detailed step-by-step photos...
Here is the link to a gallery of mine at Flickr with some of my transfer images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mestable37/sets/72157627656280975/
Daylab printer or enlarger
non-sized art paper (heavy, pressed, smooth)
Brayer (roller - rubber)
Fuji 100c instant film (peel apart).
- You will either need a Polaroid camera that can use the Fuji 100c, or a DayLab slide projector, or, you will have to rig up a photo enlarger as I have.
- I have a DayLab, and it worked great. But, then it broke. Until I get it fixed, I am not able to use it. I wasn't about to buy a second one! (They are not cheap...).
- So, I instead just set up an old (very old!) photo enlarger in my dark basement. It is nearly 30 years old. You can get one of those for cheap.
- I put in the slide, and adjusted it, and voila, it projects the slide photo just fine.
- I then went to a ton of camera stores that sell old camera equipment. Eventually, I found one that had one of those old passport photo film holders, which I got for nearly next to nothing as they did not know what to do with it. If you buy a "Fuji film holder', they can cost as much as 200-300 dollars. But, do as I did, and just get the passport film holder, or take apart an old Polaroid camera and use its base, then, it's free or nearly free.
- You will need your slide, unless you buy the DayLab that uses photo prints. I ordered my slides from www.Slides.com, and they came fast, and all looked great. They even ship internationally, though they only take US credit cards.
- You will need to have your paper and brayer ready.
- Fuji transfers don't work well on any paper that is sized (that means, coated). Most watercolor paper is sized, and it just gives a horrible yellowish cast over all the transfers.
- Peter Balaszy says that Arches 88 printmaking paper (non sized) works well. I have not yet tried this one.
- I have used non-sized Bristol board with success.
- I tried to soak hot pressed 140lb sized water color paper in hot water to remove the sizing, and then dried it, and tried on that. It did not work. The transfers never looked good.
- Put your slide in the enlarger. (Or, in the DayLab if you're using that, which has its own base for the film. The following is related to the passport-film holder I used with an enlarger...not the same as if you use the DayLab, though the timing and transfer part of the directions would all be the same).
- Put your Polaroid film into the holder. Do NOT try to thread the tab through the rollers. You do not have to. That is far too hard, and does not work. You will ruin your film
- Instead, just pull the Fuji film from the foil wrapping, and place it in the correct direction into the holder, and leave the tab out, and just close it. This can be done with the light on. Don't try to put the tab through the rollers. The holder will close on the tab. That is normal. Then, after the holder is closed, pull on that black tab (pull gently and evenly until it slides all the way out, it is long...) and it will pull the first photo's white tab through the rollers for you. Then you're ready to start. NOTE: don't make the mistake I made: don't try to thread the black tab through the rollers!
- Now you project your image onto the holder, but not with the emulsion exposed yet. You first place the image, and make sure it will be centered properly.
- Then you turn out the light.
- By touch, you open/pull the door on the holder.
- Then you expose the slide image on the Fuji film for about 1 second (this will vary depending on the enlarger you have and other factors...you will need some trial and error).
- Then close the holder door over the film.
- You can now turn the light back on. Pull the white tab out straight and evenly, to pull the film out, and to make sure the rollers spread the chemical-gook across the entire film evenly.
- Then wait just 10 seconds. You will not let the image develop longer.
- I have read a lot of different directions on this.
- Some say 25 seconds to let the Reds come out. Each time I went that long, it just did not transfer properly.
- If I went for less than 10 seconds, then, it just looked odd.
- So, I found that between 10-15 seconds was optimal.
- NOTE: For this next step, you need to turn the light off, and have very little non-direct light in the room only. What I do is wear my camping head-lamp on my head, but keep it on dim, and I have it turned up so that no direct light will touch the Fuji photo. This gives me just enough light to barely see what I am doing. Other people just put a very dim light across the room in a corner (Peter Balazsy), and others used a box with 'arm holes' on each side to reach in and do it in (Norma Hill). The key point is: No direct or bright light of any kind can hit the Fuji emulsion, or it will turn black and won't transfer...
- Pull the image away from the chemical backing. In this case, you will NOT keep the image. You throw it away.
- Immediately cut off the left and right side (chemical and tab) of the chemical backing.
- Then place one edge on the paper you are using. Unlike in the Polaroid transfer process, in this Fuji one you do NOT wet the paper. It is a dry-transfer process.
- With your finger, gently press the image down. Don't move it once it has been pressed down.
- You can turn the light back on now if you want, though I choose to continue working in the dim light.
- Use the brayer - roll left and right - then up and down. You press VERY hard with brayer. You want to keep the chemical-emulsion in contact with the reception (water color paper or Bristol board), and keep it very pressed against it. Some people put Vaseline on their fingers and press down very hard, rubbing for a minute or more. I never found that this worked any better, and it just made a mess of everything. For me, the brayer, rolled VERY hard over it for 2 minutes seems to work quite well. You will get buff arms from doing this.
- When the 2 minutes is up, gently, carefully, pull up the chemical backing, starting at one corner. Sometimes if I am pulling and notice a white spot, I lay it back down, and press very hard in just that spot, and sometimes this fixes it.
- Throw the chemical backing away.
- Voila! You have your transfer.
- I find that about one out of three turns out decent.
- Buy some extra film. You will waste a couple packs just learning how to get this process down. Or...I did. I went through three Fuji packs of 10 images each before I really started to get it down.
Peter Balazsy was the first pioneer in developing the process with the Fuji film back in 1992. See below for his 'short and simple' recipe for a Fuji Transfer, which he kindly emailed to me.
Here are some links I read for help, or that were given to me, on this process. Though not all of these directions worked for me (DONT wash your Fuji transfer image in lemon juice after...it just ruins it... that was only done for Polaroid transfers).
- Norma Hill on her Fuji transfer process
- Alternative Photography - Steven Berkowitz (Apparently these are just Peter Balazsy's directions, though with the added part about using lemon juice which is not in Balazsy's directions...which is a major mistake and I am not sure why Steven put that in...he must not have actually tried it? DONT wash your image in lemon juice! It ruins it).
- Flickr group discussion where Peter Balazsy gives his directions.
- APUG group discussion where Peter Balazsy also gives directions
Simply known as:
The "Dark, Dry, No-sizing and Hard, process"
1. Dark= no light
2. Dry= no water
3. No-sizing and
4. Hard= Press hard with the Brayer