• Maryanne Royle

Building a Pop-up Darkroom - Part 4; A plain white page




Without context, you may see the above image as a normal sheet of unused glossy paper. It is, however, far more than that. This sheet proves that what I have built is capable of producing crisp, professional level photographic prints. No fogging.



In my last blog I thought that I had finished the tent modification stage of my process. But after popping it up once more at the lovely Ebor Studio in Littleborough, Rochdale, I found that to be wrong.


The fabric that I used for the zip skirts was flimsy and around the bottom parts it fell away and let light through.



My solution was to use hot glue and lengths of wire to support it. I also used the hot glue to cover the sharp ends of the wire to protect the tent from punctures. After this I hot glue "hemmed" the skirt to make it appear neater.



I also had issues with the adhesion on the velcro for the windows, and a whole strip had come away. I used Gorilla Glue to reattach them and it seems to be holding more firmly than the Pattex transparent contact adhesive. I will keep it handy for if this happens again.



When I was happy that the issues were resolved, I finally got to arrange my setup and try this thing out with a leak test.

I am using LED strip lights and a portable power bank, two trestle tables, Ilford developer, stop and fix, my 20L jerrycan and a large tray for washing, and a bit of string for drying. Really basic, no need for an enlarger at this point.



Everything zipped and sealed up, I start to move about the tent with photosensitive paper in hand. Once the timer goes off, it has been four minutes and I can develop and wash the paper.

I pull out a dripping wet pure white sheet. The pop-up darkroom has passed its first leak test.


It would be a good idea to do one of these at each setup just in case there are new leaks made during transport.


My next job is to look at my enlarger and get my new timer working with it. This needs to be up and ready in time for my first workshop at the start of July which is coming around fast.


I have already got bookings in several places over the next six months which is showing promise for my little business and this niche concept.


Thanks for reading, more to come!



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