How to make image transfers using Fuji instant film by Steven Berkowitz, the process is also known as Fuju image transfer.
Always be careful when handling chemicals. Read the health and safety instructions.
Instant Film processes in a minute or so. If the process is interrupted and the film is pulled apart, the dyes can be made to transfer to another surface, in this case called the ‘receiver’. The imperfections of this process, including color shift and a unique texture, impart a unique ‘look’.
The peel-apart Polaroid color films, such as Polacolor 669, are no longer manufactured. Fuji Film is now making films that are the same size and format as some of the Polaroid films. The Fuji films can be used in the same cameras that held the Polaroid films. The Fuji emulsions are, however, different in both appearance and chemical consistency. They also have a different ‘look’ and have more saturated color when they are transferred and use a somewhat different technique.
Instant-Film image transfers can now be made using Fuji 100c film. The process for making these is varies from the Polaroid in that the receiver should be dry, not wet, and the transfer is done in relative darkness. The process is detailed below.
Source Images for transfers
The media for the Source Images depends on the type of ‘enlarger’ that will be used. The Daylab Instant Slide Printer prints from transparencies. The Daylab Copy System Pro uses positive prints of approximately 4 x 6 inches. In both cases these can be from film or digital.
The outside of the final print is 3.35 x 4.25″ / 85 x 108 mm., but the actual image area will be 2.87 x 3.74″ / 73 x 95 mm. This is an aspect ratio of 1:1.3. This is unique among cameras, but is pretty close to the aspect ratio of a digital camera that shoots in 3:4.
If you use pictures from any other camera as a Source Image, they will have to be cropped to fit this picture format.
Produce Source Images either on Film or as Digital prints on any of the following media:
- 35mm Color Transparency Film for use in a 35mm Format Daylab Jr.
- Instant Slide Printer Medium Format Color Film 2.25 x 2.25, or –Digital Transparency Film at 2.87 x 3.74″ [73 x 95 mm], for use in a Medium Format Daylab Instant Slide Printer
- Color Prints on 4 x 6″ paper, or –Digital Prints on 4 x 5.2″ paper [101.6 x 132 mm] for use in a Daylab Copy System Pro
Source Images should be intensified in three ways, to compensate for losses in the process:
- oversaturate the colors in the print because the transfer will be less saturated
- add extra contrast because the transfer will be more ‘flat’
- boost the reds because the red dyes do not transfer well
Equipment for image transfers
- Daylab Instant Slide Printer or Daylab Copy System Pro
- Hard brayer (rubber roller) as used in printmaking
- Positive Source Image on either
Transparency Film for use in a Daylab Instant Slide PrinterPrints on Paper for use in a Daylab Copy System Pro
- FujiFilm FP-100c peel-apart color Instant Film
- Receiving MaterialArchival Printmaking Paper, such as Arches 88, Rives BFK, Crane, Stonehenge, etc. that is un-sized with a smooth surface (hot-press), 140 lb or more Some other porous receiver material (optional)
The Fuji image transferProcess
1Prepare the receiver
Tear the paper or cut the receiver material to the desired size. Don’t cut printmaking paper. The rough edge from tearing is desirable. Use an acid-free printmaking paper that has a smooth surface and is non-sized for the dry-transfer method that is better for Fuji Film, (as opposed to ‘medium wet’ for Polaroid film). Sizing in paper will produce a yellow cast.
If using some other receiver such as cloth, wood, etc. it has to be porous to receive the ink. It should also be light in color because the highlights of the picture are transparent – the highlights will be the color of the receiver, and not necessarily white.
2Make an exposure
Expose a sheet of Fuji film using a Daylab Instant Slide Printer or Daylab Copy System Pro. See the Instructions that came with either machine for more specific details. Set the Film Type = 3 for Fuji 100c, which is the setting for ASA 100. [Polaroid 669 is ASA 80, Film Type = 2]
3Turn off the lights
A small night-light on the other side of the room is acceptable so you can see where the print is going.
4Partially develop the print
Pull the film straight out of the film holder with a smooth, even gesture after the exposure is made. Do not stop part of the way through or use a jerky motion. You will not get an even print.
Wait 19 seconds precisely, then pull the two sides of the Fuji Film sandwich apart quickly and evenly. Save the positive part of the film for other possible uses.
5Transfer the print
Turn the Instant Film over and place it emulsion-side down on the receiver material. Roll with a hard brayer. Do not allow the negative to shift its position on the receiver. Use firm pressure for about 45 seconds. Then rub the back of the print with your fingers for another 45 seconds.
6Turn the lights back on
The rest of this process may be done in normal room light.
7Remove the Fuji film
After waiting about another minute, gently pull the Fuji negative away from the paper. Do not let it sit too long or the print will turn dark green. The duration will vary in different environments, depending on temperature and humidity.
Start in one corner and slowly peel back the negative. If the image does not stick to the receiver, try another corner. Sometimes bubbles can form, but these can be smoothed out carefully with your fingers.
8Neutralize the print
Instant Film chemistry is a base (as opposed to acid), and should be neutralized. Soak in a weak acid such as lemon juice. The acid bath can also intensify the colors. Mix a solution of about 1 : 4 lemon juice to water. Immerse the print briefly with agitation.
Transfer the print to a running water bath for a couple of minutes. Finally, let the print air-dry.
Always be careful when developing and handling Instant Film materials. When the Instant Film prints are pulled apart, the developing chemicals are exposed. These chemicals are toxic and somewhat caustic. Keep away from the skin and eyes.
The thing to remember is that “Form Supports Content”. The surface of the Image Transfer has a textural quality and the colors in the print shift. You should look at a variety of Instant Film Transfer prints before you begin the process. Then you should consider how the process affects the appearance of the final image. Appropriate subject matter should be shot that will benefit from this process.
Also consider using black & white source images.
24 thoughts on “Fuji image transfer”
Any answers regarding the lemon juice/ vinegar fixing?
Hi – does anyone know where I can get a Daylab Copysystem? I checked Ebay worldwide. But nothing… Any recommendation would be great 🙂 THANKS
Any ideas on how to make a portable transfer lab? I want to be able to go out and take several photos and not have to run back home after just taking one to develop one at a time. Does that make sense? Thanks!
I am trying to get the emulsion transfer process with Fuji FP-100 film and a vivitar
slide printer. I am getting a yellow cast and huge swaths of the transfer imsge are just
missing. I do not get a whole image. I am hoping that someone can help me correct my
I am cleaning out my old darkroom, and I as I used to teach Polaroid image transfers/emulsion lifts– but no longer do, or make them anymore– I have an old Daylab printer, as well as a Vivitar slide printer. If anyone is still interested, I’m happy to sell them.
Has anyone tried image transfers or emulsion lifts with Fuji instax? 🙂
Margery Franklin, do you still have any day labs available?
Sorry-I meant Margery Franklin!
Margery Fanklin- Do you still have a Daylab Slide Printer for sale? How much? Shipping, etc.
Not sure if you are still looking around for some help, but the Vivitar slide printer does take the Fuji Film but work MUCH differently from polaroid. It will always come out a little more yellow, never leave the lights on, I just work in the dark for the majority of the time, don’t use wet paper, you can stretch a lift, 🙁 and you will need to use paper like silk paper with is a little more expensive. I had work a bit to get into the hand of it. This link help a lot and the Peter Balazsy has a lot of helpful inside. Hope that helps a little.
I use the FP100C film with my holga, just had to buy an instant back for it 🙂
I have 3 Daylabs with small bases (for use with old POlaroid 669 or, it seems, with the new Fuji 100C). I’m interested in selling 2 of the Daylabs for reasonable price. Also – would someone post transfers done on the Fuji film. I don’t hear much enthusiasm.
Using FP-100C, I finally got some good prints — on dry paper and in the dark. I also swiped a bit of Lysol over the surface before printing. That helped get a more even print over textured paper. BUT, fixing it is a problem. I used vinegar, not lemon juice as someone else on this post did, and, as she reported, the dyes immediately run, especially during the rinse. Suggestions?
anne petrie (or anyone else),
Did you manage to find a way to successfully use the Vivitar slide printer with the Fuji film? I’m interested in getting back into ‘Polaroid’ transfers and the Vivitar printers are much easier to locate than the Daylab.
I have an old Vivitar slide printer. I used to use it with Polaroid 669 quite successfully but that was about 6 years ago. Now of course they don’t make the 669 Polaroid. I recently tried using it with Fuji film but with 0 success. Do you know if the Vivitar will use Fuji and if there is a particular trick i need to know??? Or do I need the Daylab?
Thanks for any feed back
The Vivitar Color Slide Printer accepts the Fuji film. They are pretty cheap on eBay.
Hope this helps,
Hi, I’d like to make a copy of my Polaroid picture by using Daylab Copy System Pro, but I found the size will be changed and the image is not clear enough. How can I make a same copy of my Polaroid picture by using this unit? Does this unit can do it? Thanx!
Super. I tried it with excellent results
Jeff, I use a Polaroid 600SE which is a big heavy camera but wonderful. They can sometimes be found for anything from £50(sterling) to £500. They are also available, sometimes, from the impossible project but at silly prices. Not available from them at the moment though. https://the.supersense.com/
Best of luck
I have a Polaroid 210 land camera and FP-100c film. Does anything have to be done differently if you’re doing it this way as opposed to using a daylab? Thank you so much for any help.
Jeff- I use Fuji 100C pull apart film in my Polaroid Colorpack II Land Camera. Lots of fun!
Would like to try Fuji film transfers. I may break down and buy a $390 Daylab medium-format device to make Poloraid prints (I shoot film with a Holga and Mamiya 645 Pro TL), but would like to find a cheaper way. Anyone know what cameras take Fuji FP-100C pull-apart film? My daughter bought an old Polaroid One Stop at the thrift store for $3, but Polaroid stopped making 600 film. I read that another company is re-introducing 600 film but not sure how available it is right now. Any suggestions welcome.
Ok, found my answers. Thanks.
This process worked well except step 8…the moment I put lemon juice at even a 1:10 it ruins the print completely…and running water does too.
So…not sure how to really fix the image?