February 10, 2016 Test 1 - Cafenol

posted 31 Oct 2016, 11:14 by Dawn George   [ updated 31 Oct 2016, 11:41 ]
I did it! I did it!  I developed my first role of super 8 black and white film!

I found a great multi-timer app that speaks in a voice and vibrates.


So fun!


I decided to develop the film in bathroom.

  1. It has running water.
  2. It’s an easy room to black out (sort of see notes below)
  3. It’s well ventilated this is important – even though I was using cafenol the fixer is still pretty toxic.
Herb suggested that I first develop with Cafenol to get the feel for what I am doing.  Great idea! 

I gave myself 10 minutes to break open the film and divide it up. Ample time, though braking open a Super 8 cartridge in the dark with hammer is slightly scary.  Decided to use running water to rinse the film only for the last two minutes because water running for 10 minutes just seems wasteful.  I was a little harsh in my agitation of the film, next time I need to be more gentle, I can see large  bits of silver washed off too much in some places.


My biggest obstacle was darkening my bathroom.  I read instructions about blacking out rooms and then sitting in the blacked out room for five minutes to ensure it is dark enough.   I thought I had it blacked out completely but I DID NOT!  After about 6 minutes I could see the buckets, the toilet, the sink.  Luckily, I thought on my feet and quickly sunk the film into the bucket and covered it with one of the towels I was using underneath the buckets (for spillage).  This quick submerging of the film meant that I could not divide it up evenly as wanted to but that is okay.  I also put it in the developer earlier so I think I may have developed for 16-17 minutes rather than the original 15 minutes. 


Cafenol Recipe:

1 Litre Water

40 g Instant coffee

16 g Vitamin C

54 g Washing Soda


 Test #





Lights On    





 Time                 Temp


 Time                 Temp 



 Time                 Temp 


 Time                 Temp


17 min.              21°C

3 min. 

6 min.                19°C 

3 min. 


 3 min.                19°C

 10 min.

1 min.                19°C