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Thread: Converting room to a darkroom.

  1. #1
    Les
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    Dec 2011
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    Seattle, WA
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    Converting room to a darkroom.

    Howdy,

    Have a conventional room (100+ sq ft) that I wish to change into a darkroom. Currently the walls are too much
    like turquoise color. My first "to do" is to remove the crappy carpet and install a nice hard floor (dark), which I can wipe
    off with ease. The second is to bring in the H20 (hot and cold) via crawl space....I'm assuming it's doable.

    Alrightie, how do I treat the walls without having to paint them black ? Can I simply get some wide brown paper , paint it black and silicone it lightly the wall ? Darkening the window should be no issue....nor the light streak under the door :>).

    Thanks in advance for any helpful comments.

    Les

  2. #2
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    Walls are flat white.

    Sit in the room for 20 minutes and find the light leaks.

  3. #3
    Photographer
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    Feb 2001
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    Pine Junction, CO
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    722

    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    Getting water in is sometimes easier than getting waste water out. Make sure you figure that out.

    There is a thread here on “show your darkroom” that might give you some ideas. There’s a similar thread on APUG.
    Keith Pitman

  4. #4

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    Jan 2013
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    Madisonville, LA
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    If you can't get the waste water out, you can always install a small pump under the sink. PM me for more information. You're going to have much bigger issues than how to paint the walls! L
    Last edited by Luis-F-S; 27-Dec-2017 at 20:59.

  5. #5

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    Feb 2015
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    First thing I'd recommend is get a book -- any book -- on building a darkroom. You can pick and choose what you want to do, but you'll discover things you have not thought of.

    As to paint, leave it as it is -- as suggested -- and find any light leaks first. If it's light tight, you don't need to change anything -- unless you want. Most of my darkroom is white, except around my enlargers. That is matte black to try to control/capture any light leaks from my enlargers -- which I discovered after viewing/testing. Solved the problem. But whatever you choose as paint, you need to test your safelights because they aren't automatically "safe" whether the walls are black or white -- but white walls are easier to find except when doing color work.

  6. #6

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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    A refrigerator for beer is a nice touch. I'd replace the appliance bulb with a safe lamp though.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    A refrigerator for beer is a nice touch. I'd replace the appliance bulb with a safe lamp though.
    That leads to safelights in the hallway and bathroom. I just gave up and made my last home all red light.

    Now I seem to be copying that. Seems I prefer a very dark cave. At this moment I am planning a morning sun kitchen...

  8. #8
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    Draw up your plans. That's what helped me. Once I had a plan and a rough sketch of the room layout, it was easy.

    I did have to install a sump pump. $150 from Home Depot for their smallest unit. Mine pumps literally 6 feet (up) to the main house drain (in my basement).

    I don't think you need to paint the walls, unless you want to. Blacking out windows is a bit more difficult than you might think, as I learned from my old darkroom in a rickety shed. Plan on two layers of blackout material - in one window in an adjacent room in my basement, I have a blackout vinyl pull inside the sill and a blackout curtain covering the entire window, but it still "shines" a bit in full daylight (not enough to worry about).
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    I blacked out my windows with tinfoil and blackout fabric. The fabric itself leaked a tiny bit of light. My walls are all colors of the rainbow since a friend painted all sorts of psychedelic shapes on them. I just left it ad it was when I converted the room to a darkroom.

  10. #10

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    Re: Converting room to a darkroom.

    Wall paint??? Not really important if it's dark enough inside... Though it is less claustrophobic if the walls are lighter, so that...

    The thing to focus on is your workflow... Is there enough dry counter space for an enlarger, cutter, XPD/un-XPD paper storage, test strips, neg handling/cleaning, with good ergonomics so it is comfortable to work long hours in, wet side with plenty of room for chem mixing, trays, and the big "bottleneck" of washing/drying, and easy to keep clean, as well as venting, heat/cooling for you... A hot and cold waterline coming in, and a drain going out make it much easier than bucket and trays going in and out... (And this is just for printing, film requires a slightly different set-up...)

    Draw out your needs and every step of the process carefully... Remember one of the most important things often overlooked is good old flat counter work surfaces, and storage for all the items needed before/during/after process time... Consider your process might change in the future, so allow that you can re-configure you space for later changes...

    Think through, and imagine what is needed now, and later...

    Good Luck in the Dark!!!

    Steve K

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