Print to wood

first attempt, test imageDSC_0003For this, I have bought some liquid photo emulsion from a reputable photographic supplies store and a piece of scrap wood from when building my darkroom.

To produce an image onto the wood, you have to first melt and mix the emulsion with a hardener (supplied) then whilst it is still in liquid form rather than a rubbery texture as it is in the packet, you have to pour or paint it onto the surface you want a photograph to appear on.

Once this coat is dried, it is advisable to add another coat of the emulsion as it will easily soak into the wood on the first application and could produce an image of inferior quality. Once this coat is applied you can then produce the photograph

The photographic image can be created in two ways using this substance, you can either create a large negative digitally to use as a contact print (which is how i have done, to try and lessen any errors, or you can use a negative of any size on an enlarger and produce as though using a set contrast paper under the enlarging lens.

Unfortunately due to the sensitivity of the emulsion i have been unable to take photos on a step by step guide to this as even under darkroom safety lighting it needs to be as dark as possible whilst using the chemicals.

After the first test of this worked out quite well, i shall be refining the photograph by trying a third coating of emulsion onto the wood and finding a piece with less gaps between the grain. also i shall sand the wood down before applying the emulsion.  By doing this it is hoped that instead of the image being split by bits of grain, it will come together and look sharper and more prominent against the background.  I shall also with the finished piece, be coating the photograph in a clear varnish to both protect the image on the wood and to add a gloss finish to it.


Second attempt at this has gone a lot better than the first time trying this method of producing a photograph.  This time instead of using scrap pinewood, I have used a piece of plywood cut oversize (16 x 10 inches for A4 print) to allow the image to be framed, masked off the area where the emulsion was to be applied, and used twice the amount to give a thicker coating, also before the emulsion was applied, I scratched the surface slightly with wire wool to allow it to adhere more than if it was left smooth. As a side experiment i also used film developer on the wood rather than normal paper developer, this seems to have given the print more of a contrasting look which is exactly how i wanted it to turn out. I have also applied a satin clear varnish over the top of the print to both add a shine along with protecting the developed surface.


For experimental work, i am very pleased with the way this has turned out, and is an area of producing photographs that i am keen to enhance my skills at.  If I was to do this again, i would possibly buy in custom ready cut blocks of wood to be used, and take more care when applying chemicals to the exposed emulsion to avoid brush marks or even removing it from the surface of the wood altogether, which has happened in one place on the print.



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