How to Develop Film at Home


Developing your own film is one of the most pleasing skills that you can learn as a new photographer.

Developing film at home is simple and convenient and can be done by anyone. You just need to know the right way.

In this write-up, we have come up with step-by-step guidelines regarding how you can develop film at home on your own.

Hopefully, you will find the article simple, making you easily perceive the entire process. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.


What Things You’ll Need To Develop Film at Home?develope film

How Much Does It cost to develop a film? One of the most common questions that we frequently get.  You don’t need to spend lots of money developing films at home.  You just need to accumulate some fundamental tools and chemicals that are not very expensive.

We recommend learning the black and white developing process first for beginners as the color film development is comparatively complex and needs extra bleach chemicals.

However, to begin, gather the equipment and materials first that we have given below. You can purchase these materials from a photography shop or online.

Developing Tank

To place your film & chemicals at the time of the developing process, you have to bring a developing tank at the beginning of the journey that is a light-tight container.

Film Reels

Why do you need to have film reels? Feel reels take the view of your film so that the chemicals can touch every part of the film’s surface in the developing tank. We suggest going for plastic reels if you are a newbie because they are comparatively more straightforward to load than those made of metal.

Changing Bag

If you possess a proper darkroom, you don’t need to bring a  changing bag. But if you don’t, then it is necessary to have a changing bag to send your film from its container to the developing tank without opening up to the light.


Three types of chemicals you must need. These are stop bath, developer, and fixer. You can purchase them in powdered or liquid forms. You may need to buy an optional wetting agent to prevent watermarks from forming on your film when it dries.

Measuring Vessels

To calculate and blend your chemicals, you must take measuring vessels like beakers or graduated cylinders. To fulfill all your needs, it is better to take a larger vessel and a small one.

Storage Bottles

Why do I need to have storage bottles? This question may come to your mind. The storage bottles help you store the leftover chemicals that can be used in the future. In that case, you can buy opaque plastic bottles mainly designed for conserving photography chemicals. Don’t forget to level your bottle so that you know what chemical is inside.


To measure liquid temperatures, you need to get a rudimentary thermometer.


For cutting your film, you have to purchase scissors.


To protect your film negatives when they dry, make sure you use clothespins.

Bottle Opener

To open the film canister and draw rolls of film, use a bottle opener. You can use your finger, but sometimes it is hard to open them with your fingers.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is not necessary if your tap water holds low mineral levels. But if the mineral levels are high, you have to accumulate distilled water.

How To Develop Film At Home: 12 Simple Steps

Here are the complete steps to developing film at home. Before starting the process, we would like to remind you that developing film at home requires carefulness and practice that you can capture over time.

Step-1: Keep the equipment like film canister, scissors, bottle opener, and developing tank in your changing bag so that you will open your film canister in absolute darkness.

Step-2: Take your bottle opener and open the film canister in the second step. After that, remove the film by touching only the edge. Once you have removed the film, take off the film leader.

Step-3: Find the entry point of the reels and drift the film a few inches to the reel. After that, interlace the reel’s backside and outward to extract the remaining film into the reel. When you see that all the film is on the reel, take your scissors to cut out the reel hanging at the end of your film roll and loop the reel’s side a few more times to draw the back inside.

Step-4: Now, fill the reel into the developing tank so that its main hold slides around the post holding up from the tank’s bottom. Place the funnel cap on the tank’s top and screw it until it gets into place, developing a light-tight seal. You can now extract it from the changing bag.

Step-5: Take your measuring vessels to mix developer, fixer, and stop bath separately with the right amount of water. Now, take the thermometer that you have to test the temperature of your water [68 Fahrenheit]. Cool or heat water if necessary. You can use tap water if the water holds a low mineral substance, but we recommend using distilled water to ensure no mineral spots.

Step-6: At this stage, your developer needs to be poured into the tank at this stage. After that, tap the tank’s bottom on the sink bottom for a few moments to evacuate air bubbles that may have built around the film. Later, shake the tank for a minimum of 30 seconds and execute a single reverse every minute until the advancement period listed on the instructions has been completed. Next, pour your developer off the tank.

Step-7: It is time to pour your stop bath into the tank, and once it is poured, shake for 30 seconds minimum and let rest for an extra 30 seconds before discharging from the tank. The primary purpose of the stop bath is to remove the developer’s effects.

Step-8: Your fixer also needs to be poured into the tank, and after it is done, shake for 30 seconds and execute a reverse every 5 minutes. Discharge the fixer from the tank and keep it in a bottle. Your film is now developed.

Step-9: Your developed film should be washed now, which can be done with tap water. It is not necessary to use distilled water, so run tap water via your developing tank for a minimum of 5 minutes.

Step-10: Unclose the tank and remove the film from its reel.  If you see any water standing on the film’s negative, a sponge can be used to absorb the water.

Step-11: Choose a dust-free place and let your film negative dry. If you hang your negative up to dry, secure them using clothespins that will prevent twisting. It will take a couple of hours to dry.

Step-12: Once your film negative is dried, it is time to scan and print your photos. You can buy your film scanner to have the raw files of your photos or take your negatives to a lab to get them scanned for you.

Final Thought

So, this was all about how to develop film at home. We have shown the complete procedure with 12 simple steps that any newbie can perform. However, before developing a film at home, don’t forget to gather the necessary things that we have listed above. Once you see that everything has been accumulated, you can start your journey. We have given the 12 steps above to accomplish the task; if you get any of the steps difficult to perceive, let us know in the comment section below.


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