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Darkroom construction

Devon Jenssen , Mar 24, 1999; 05:32 p.m.

I am moving into a new place and unfortunately I will have to be a little creative in setting up my darkroom. The bathroom and closets don't seem to provide enough space, so I was planning to construct some shelves/table in the kitchen and cover the space with a tarp/cloth? I was looking for recommendations of a good light resistant material that I can get in large sizes.

Thanks

Responses

David -- , Mar 24, 1999; 11:17 p.m.

I have been thinking about your post for a while, and building my darkroom at the same time. Are you sure your bathroom is too small? I thought for a long time that mine was. I live in a mobile home, and there is barely enough room for the tub and other facilities, let alone an enlarger. But when I lost the one i was borrowing, I had to do something. I am now over 2 weeks behind in printing (also due to 2 straight weeks of shooting). I suggest you take another look at it. See what you can do. Why? Because it will be easier to light-proof. Esp if you don't have a window in it. More room to move around (stand up straight?).

My concern for working under drapes is the limited ventalation you will have. I am going to see how my design goes and then if it works well, will seal the window and put in a light-proof fan. How are you going to get air in and out of under the drapes?

Would it be easier to lightproof the entire kitchen? Here is how I did the window in my bathroom. Got some heavy black material at Walmart (on sale also!). Only intended to double it over, but got enough to triple it. Stich-witched it (heat tape for sewing) so it stays together, and then put velcro on it. Put velcro on the metal frame around the window. Poof! No light in and no darkness out! That might be an option for your windows, and even the entrance if it is open.

You can get large plastic drapes at Walmart, Kmart, etc. that might only require a couple of them. I would suggest going to a couple of fabric shops (or calling them) and seeing what they can come up with. You might have to sew a couple of pieces together since it comes in a limited width, but length should not be a problem.

Hope this helps.

Phil Stiles , Mar 25, 1999; 10:48 p.m.

I have used the black plastic sheeting sold in rolls at the hardware store. It will cover windows with push pins. But ventilation is the real issue. Most kitchens or bathrooms have exhaust fans. You're asking for trouble if you coop yourself up in a small space with a lot of chemicals.

Doni Scheindlin , Mar 26, 1999; 11:12 a.m.

I want to continue on David's thoughts about the bathroom. The last place I lived had a half bathroom, about 5x5 feet. It took some creativity, but I made it work very nicely, although somewhat cramped. There was an exhaust fan in there, so the air was kept moving somewhat. The black plastic sheeting at hardware stores that the previous poster mentioned worked very well for me, along with some velcro. I would have concerns about your idea for the kitchen for two reasons: ventilation, as was previously mentioned (although that may be a problem either way), and also the fact that you will be dealing with a variety of dangerous chemicals. It can be very hard to keep every drop of chemistry in the container or tray where it belongs. I would not want these chemicals around food/food prep areas. Just something to think about. My bathroom really worked very well. The setup was a toilet and a countertop style sink right next to it. I hammered a 2x4 into the wall next to the toilet and laid a piece of plywood frrom the counter to the 2x4, giving me a couple feet of space to put all my trays and a printwasher on. I got a shower rod (tension rod) and hung a shower curtain down the middle of the room. Now I have a wet and dry side. Got a small wooden table for the enlarger and a stool to sit on. It worked very nicely, and if we had company over, no problem. I removed the plywood and shower curtain, and now it's a bathroom again. Just some ideas.

Good Luck

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