Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps

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Written by Jennifer Stamps

We’ve tried film soup on black and white film. We’ve tried film soup on color film. One of our contributors, Amy Berge, even has an amazing little lab dedicated to developing color negative film soup. But what about Polaroids? you say. Great question.

Can you do film soup with Polaroids? Yes.

Is it gnarly? Yes.

Polaroid Film Soup Experiment Creative Experimental Film Photography
Polaroid Film Soup Experiment Creative Experimental Film Photography
Polaroid Film Soup Experiment Creative Experimental Film Photography
Five Polaroid images on a counter - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

If you’re unfamiliar with film soup, it is the process of soaking a roll of film in destructive chemicals to create cool effects on your images.

You can grab our free Quickstart Guide to Film Soup to learn all about how to do it and film soup recipes to get you started.

Download the Free Quickstart Guide to Film Soup!

But back to film souping Polaroids…

I had a lot of fun playing with this Polaroid film soup experiment. I tried souping a few different ways… Film soup with an already developed Polaroid, souping while the Polaroid was developing, and a few different film soup recipes.

I used a Polaroid OneStep (find at KEH Camera) with Polaroid 600 color film (find on Amazon) for all of the images.

Polaroid image of some grass and brush outside - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Souping an Already Developed Polaroid Photo

I took some photos that were already developed and placed them in hot water with various ingredients: soap, salt, food coloring, and/or lemon juice.

I tried agitating the photos in the mixture. I tried letting the photos sit overnight in the mixture. And the results where always the same…nothing.

In my experiment, putting an already developed photo, intact, in the soup did nothing.

Maybe if I added bleach or other severe chemicals it would. But seeing how I have a kiddo at home, I didn’t really feel like leaving a bowl of bleach on the counter for days. However, if you want to try, I’d love to know what happens!

Souping While Developing

This is when it gets fun!

I found that the results come when you manipulate and soup your film as it’s developing.

The base needs to be hot water (not boiling, since you’ll be putting your hands in the water). From there, add any other ingredients you find in your home: soap, food coloring, salt, lemon juice, you name it. Have fun with it!

You’ll notice that with all of these, I removed at least one side of the seal on the Polaroid to allow for the soup to mix in with the developing chemicals.

A quick summary of the process

  • Add any film soup ingredients you’d like, such as soap, salt, and/or lemon juice, to a bowl of hot water
  • Take your Polaroid
  • Cut off at least one side of the Polaroid
  • While the image is still developing, submerge in the hot water mixture

Below are some recipes I tried, along with details about cutting open the Polaroids and how long I submerged the photos.

Polaroid Film Soup Recipe #1

Polaroid image of a young girl laughing - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Ingredients: hot water, yellow food coloring, lime juice

Directions: Submerge photo immediately after taking the Polaroid, peal one side of the Polaroid open after one minute, peel additional side off after fully developed. Remove from mixture a minute or two after fully developed.

Polaroid Film Soup Recipe #2

Polaroid image of a young girl smiling - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Ingredients: hot water, blue food coloring, green food coloring

Directions: Submerge photo in mix for one minute immediately after taking the Polaroid. Then, cut one side of image so the liquid can mix between the paper. Leave submerged for a minute or two after the Polaroid is fully developed.

Polaroid Film Soup Recipe #3

Polaroid image of a dog - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Ingredients: hot water, salt, red food coloring, blue food coloring

Directions: Remove top seal of the image immediately after taking the Polaroid and submerge. Remove from mixture a minute or two after fully developed.

Polaroid Film Soup Recipe #4

Polaroid image of some grass and brush outside - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Ingredients: hot water, red food coloring, salt

Directions: Remove back corner of seal immediately after taking the Polaroid and submerge. Remove from mixture a minute or two after fully developed

Polaroid Film Soup Recipe #5

Polaroid image of a young girl smiling - Polaroid Film Soup Experiment by Jennifer Stamps on Shoot It With Film

Ingredients: hot water, dish soap

Directions: Open top of seal and pull apart some of the emulsion and submerge. Leave submerged for a minute or two after the Polaroid is fully developed.

This was such a fun experiment. I like how the food coloring very clearly changed the color of the photos. I kind of want to add coffee to the next patch I soup!

Thank you so much, Jen! Jennifer is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and be sure to check out her other articles, like how to develop color film in black and white chemicals and 5 Film Cameras Under $50. You can also check out more of Jennifer’s work on her website and Instagram.

Leave your questions below about trying film soup with Polaroids, and if you try this experiment, let us know how it goes in the comments!

Check out our other articles about film soup here!

Quickstart Guide to Film Soup Free Download

Jennifer Stamps

Jennifer Stamps is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as Olympus OM-1 35mm Film Camera Review and 5 Film Cameras Under $50.

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