Guide to homemade Rodinal, stop solution & fixing agent for analog photography in hostile environments

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Despite latest surge in popularity future of film photography is uncertain. I documented most popular homemade development solution recipes and calculated proportions of chemicals needed so any amount of any chemical can be measured accordingly. For more information on development check out further reading.

Safety is your responsibility. Please handle all chemistry with respect it deserves - wear protective gloves and goggles, don't inhale or ingest chemistry, abstain from eating, bathroom and touching eyes without thoroughly washing your hands. Information provided is for educational purposes and users are responsible for their own safety

Rodiynal, Stop solution, Fixer


Rodinal is oldest and most common development solution for black and white film but it is getting harder to find labs to develop black and white film for a reasonable price. This recipe doesn’t differ much from famous Dr. Frankenfilm’s Homebrew Rodinal article - be sure to check Dr. Frankenfilm’s instructions for more detail and video.

For ml of Rodiynal you’ll need:

Cheapest ingredient versions will contain less additives and will make better end product. Distilled water can be substituted with boiled water but will contain less than beneficial sediments and impurities.

Mixing Rodiynal

I prefer to measure, prepare and order my chemicals in succession before mixing. Be sure to mix chemicals in correct order. Handle chemicals carefully - even harmless ones will teach you to be careful.

  1. Measure of distilled water into a measuring cup;
  2. Stir of Sodium Sulfite into water. Remaining sediments will dissolve later;
  3. Carefully measure out of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and stir it into water until dissolved. This will begin reaction and increase temperature of the liquid;
  4. Pulverize tablets and pour it into the mixture while it’s still warm - stir until completely dissolved. Some sediments are normal;
  5. Add more water to make desired amount of Rodinal;
  6. Transfer liquid into light tight bottle, cap it off and let it react for at least 72 hours.

I’d advise to mix Rodinal before every use to stir up sediments. Store Rodinal in a dark, air-tight bottle away from children. Follow your film instructions as normal Rodinal.

Stop solution

Stop bath solution is used in normal development and darkroom but can be omitted for stand development.

According to Wikipedia a stop bath solution should be 1-2% acetic acid or commonly available as white vinegar. White vinegar is available in different concentrations from 5%-30% therefore we will need to dilute our vinegar with room temperature boiled water.

For ml of stop bath from % white vinegar concentrate you will need:

Just mix the ingredients in room temperature. Formula is easy enough to make when necessary.


Recipes can vary wildly - Flickr has several formulas from its users, College of Arts and sciences has recipes for fixing in Caffenol and Vitamin C. I went with the simplest safe recipe; others might use different chemistry to fix quicker.

I’d suggest mixing it as necessary because I didnt find reliable shelf life time. Some say it varies from 60 days to half a year.

For ml of Fixer you’ll need:

Mixing fixer

  1. distilled water into measuring cup;
  2. Add Sodium Thiosulfate - the solution will become cold - that is normal;
  3. Mix in of Sodium Sulfite until it dissolves;
  4. Transfer solution into a bottle and add more water to make desired amount;
  5. Fixer should be left to react for about 24 hours before intended use.

Spent fixer can be reused for up to ten rolls of 1L solution. Fixer should be used in room temperature and agitated for 5-10 minutes - more if it is not fresh.

Disposal of fixer

Fixer should not be discarded in municipal sewer system due to silver content from fixing film. It is possible to extract silver from spent Fixer. Some photo laboratories, universities, chemists or hazardous waste management facilities might accept exhausted liquid.

Further reading