Polaroid Image and Emulsion Transfer

Andrzej Gutek

Wilanow, Poland
Image Transfer
The process captivated me when Cathy Stewart introduced me to Polaroid image and emulsion transfers in the Fall of 1999. By varying exposure time, imbibe time, and colors, the same original image can result in very different transfers. Two books that I recommend are Polaroid Transfers: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating Image and Emulsion Transfers by Kathleen Thormod Carr, published by Amphoto Books in 1997, and Photographer's Guide to Polaroid Transfer  by Christopher Grey, published by Amherst Media, Inc. I used both of these books extensively. I also recommend Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating Sx-70, Transfer, and Digital Prints. This book by Kathleen Carr supplements her first book on Polaroid Transfer. You may also want to check my emulsion transfer tutorial.
To begin the transfer process, you will need a 35mm slide, a slide printer, special Polacolor film, watercolor paper (100% rag), a tray, a roller, a squeegee, scissors, and hot water. I use a Daylab II slide printer and Polacolor 669 film, purchased from Calumet.

Chair Spring, emulsion transfer (right).

To see more emulsion and image transfers visit my photo transfer galleries: Doors of the World, Flowers, Guatemala, and Gallery.

Equipment and supplies:
  • Calumetphoto.com. To find slide printers, search for "Daylab". Daylab 35 plus replaced the Daylab II slide printer.
  • You can also get a Daylab printer from daylab.com. The web site includes also simple instructions for polaroid transfer and emulsion lift.
  • From time to time you may find a used Daylab slide printer auctioned on e-bay
  • HAMPTON ROADS WHOLESALERS, INC. is a source of discount Logan Mat Cutters and other art supplies.
  • LOGAN Board Mounted Mat Cutters is manufacturer's web site.
  • framingsupplies.com is my favorite supplier of an acid free foam board and rag mat board.
  • My favorite place for metal frames is Wholesale Frame Service - USA in El Paso, Texas. To order by phone call
    1-800-522-3726 or (915) 857-6969.
  • Clearbags.com is a good place to get crystal clear "Photo Sleeves" for matted, but not framed, work.

The art of Polaroid transfer:

The End of Polaroid Film Production?
In February 2008 Polaroid (under the control of Thomas J Petters of Petters Group Worldwide) announced that the company has decided to gradually cease production and withdraw from instant film products completely in early 2009. So is this the end of phototransfer? Peter Balazsy pioneered and developed Fuji transfer process in 1992-1994. For more info see APUG discussion forum or a flickr discussion group. Impossible is manufacturing instant film for Polaroid cameras and Polaroid seems to be getting back to manufacturing the film as well.


Designed by the late Andrzej Gutek in 2004. Maintained by Carol Ventura.