Updated: May 5, 2021
Since moving home from University - due to Covid-19, I have been unable to access a darkroom, so I have decided to set up my own. I have a study that only I ever use, so I thought 'why not", and decided that it was time to take the plunge and make this study into a multifunctional darkroom.
This past Christmas I was lucky enough to have an enlarger. It's an LPL C7700 Pro colour head (Fig.1), I chose this enlarger as it has the capability to produce colour and black and white prints and the film carrier is adjustable from 35mm up to 6 x 7 medium format.
The first thing on my list was to figure out how I would block out the light form the large double window in the room. I wanted to have a removable board, as when I am not using the room as a darkroom, I want to use it as a study.
I managed to make a removable board by cutting two large cardboard boxes to size, with a bend in the middle to allow easy storage. Instead of painting the cardboard, I covered it with industrial black bags and surprisingly it worked quite well. The board attaches to the window frame with Velcro, which allows it to be removed and replaced easily. (Fig.2)
Once the window was light-tight, I had reached a struggle to block the light leak from around the door frame. After a little bit of research, I found that some people had success with using weatherproofing around the door. I bought P shaped weatherproofing as I still wanted the door to close without putting too much pressure on the hinge. It worked first attempt and blocks out all light from around the frame of the door. Although there is still a half-inch gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, I stop this from being a problem by laying a towel on the floor and push it up against the door and this takes care of any remaining light leak. (Fig.3).
To cover the surfaces to protect them from any chemical spills, I used a piece of tarpaulin (cut to size) to sit underneath the chemical trays. It is held down at the corners with masking tape as to not damage the countertop. To dry film, I made a hanging mobile by using one 30cm hoop, Bulldog clips and string. I assembled this by sliding Bulldog clips onto the ring and then tied four pieces of string to the ring on opposite sides to each other. I then tied the four individual pieces together at the top and attached these to a hook that I had in the ceiling. When drying film, I use an extra Bulldog clip at the bottom of the film as a weight to prevent it from curling back on itself and sticking together. To dry my prints, I have a long line of string with paperclips attached. I simply attach the paperclips to the print and leave to dry. If you have a big print, I suggest using either two paperclips or bulldog clips. The safe light that I use is Patterson. I did initially have it on a bookshelf that was directly above my processing area, but it was too close to the chemicals, so it was causing slight fogging to the prints. I have now moved it to another position in the room and the fogging problem has been solved. (Fig.4)