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Homemade C-41

Substances you need and where to buy them

Hair dye containing PPD - Supermarket, Hair Products shops, chinese shops
Soluble Coffee - Supermarkt
Sodium Hydroxide - Drugstores
Sodium Bicarbonate - Supermarkt
Potassium Metabisulfite - Agriculture shops (wine making)
Copper Sulfate - Agriculture shops, plant treatment
Sodium Chloride - It's common kitchen salt, supermarkt
Sulfur - Agriculture shops (wine making)
Coffee filters - Supermarkt

HD3 (under tests)

HD3 is a C-41 color developer using a PPD hair dye. It was inspired in the work of Robert Neelin that can be found at Flickr. However, with modern films it didn't produce acceptable results until now. But using old movie film like Fujicolor 250D, it was possible to get some interesting color images.


50ml hair dye containing PPD
5g Sodium Hydroxide
10g Sodium Bicarbonate
5g soluble coffee
2g Potassium Metabisulfite
Water to make 500ml


Develop for some 20min at room temperature.


Hair dye is oily and difficult to dissolve in water. Because soap is made adding lye to oil, first combine the hair dye with about 10% (5g for 50ml hair dye) and let it react stiring a lot first and then from time to time during 3 hours. There is a slight color change for the mixture, it turns darker. The pH is very high at this stage.

So, mix all content of a 50ml hair dye package (only the part containing PPD) in some 100ml warm water in a beaker. The same for the 5g Sodium Hydroxide in a separate beaker. Then add the Sodium Hydroxide to the hair dye and stir like described above.

After 3 hours, add 10g of Sodium Bicarbonate to the mixture. This produce Sodium Carbonate and pH of the mixture will drop to between 11-12.

 Finally add 5 g soluble coffee and 2 g Potassium Metabisulfite.

Copper Sulfate Bleach

Copper Sulfate Bleach was suggested to me by Murray Kelly at

50g Copper Sulfate
50g Sodium Chloride
500 ml Water


5-7 minutes at Room temperature



100 g Potassium Metabisulfite
36 g Sodium Hydroxide
29 g Sulfur
1000 ml Water


First dissolve separately the Metabisulfite and Hydroxide, each in about 500 ml water. Then pour the Hydroxide solution on the Metabisulfite. In this step you are preparing a mix of Potassium and Sodium Sulfites.

Bring this 1 liter solution to the fire and when it starts boiling lower the flame and add the 29 g of Sulfur. Let it boil slowly and stir. At a certain point the Sulfur sinks to the bottom. Wait some more minutes and then switch off the fire. Let it cool and filter the solution with coffee filter. Not all Sulfur reacts, but you will end with Potassium and Sodium Thiosulfate and the remaining unreacted Sulfites.


Use the solution you got, about 700-800 ml, undiluted. It takes 5-10 minutes to fix.

Color pallet of HD3 with Fujicolor 250D movie film (left).


Netmania said...

Once prepared How long does each recipe?

Henrique Sousa said...

I didn't make yet those tests, I am still getting weak results with commercially available films like Fuji 200 or Kodacolor 200. Only the movie film Fujicolor Eterna 250D is working well. The others give very weak negatives. So I want first to tweak the recipe, maybe stronger, and then I test how long it lasts. But a similar recipe with CD4 would last at least 3 months or develop some 15 films.