Polaroid lift

I’ve discovered polaroid lift last year and it is since then one of my favourite techniques

In essence an emulsion lift is a Polaroid print that has been soaked in hot water until the top emulsion layer floats off the backing.

Once the emulsion layer is off the backing, it can be transferred and manipulated to a new surface receptor. In my example the new surface receptor was watercolour paper.

It is not a difficult process but requires patience as it is quite a time consuming one


-tray, plastic or metal (I prefer a metal one as keeps water hot for longer)

craft knife or scalpel

-craft soap

-set of brushes of a different softness



-polaroid image- I’ve been using PX680 (for Polaroid 600 camera). This film is currently sold by the Impossible Project

watercolour paper acid free, around 300g/m², preferably grainy


1. First fill a tray with the water you have heated up in the kettle. I boil the water and then let is sit for a minute of two.

2. Using a craft knife cut the picture out of Polaroid frame

3. Put the dried Polaroid print face up in the hot water for about 4 minutes


4. Add some craft soap to the ‘bath’


5. When ready carefully lift the emulsion with soft, art brush and peel it away from the backing and plastic cover, throw away both of them. Be careful at this stage to not leave the chemicals from backing in the water as they would stick to your image


6. Place your watercolour paper in the warm water under the thin emulsion. And now comes the tricky part. The emulsion is very fragile at this point, so be careful not to tear the image. Gently float the emulsion layer on top of your receptor. Hold the emulsion lift by the corners and lift it in and out of the warm water a couple of times to remove the wrinkles and stretch the image. Then lay the image on top of your paper sheet and lift the entire image and receptor out of the water bath.


7. Let the image dry for good few hours . You can press the image under a stack of heavy books overnight to remove any lumps or waves in the watercolour


enjoy your new image!



~ by mona on March 22, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: