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Create a Simple Film Drying Cabinet

Shooting analogue film can pose challenges outside the exposure triangle and one of the most frustrating can be the post-development drying of processed film negatives. More than occasionally my 120 film negatives have been impacted by particles of dust that appear as unsightly white spots after scanning.

You can Google film drying cabinets – they are EXPENSIVE. So I went hunting for a simple idea to create a cost effective solution.

To make my film drying cabinet I cut four large squares from the end of a disused roll of dog fencing wire from our back yard. I used the excess wire at each join to connect the structure together. This formed a stable wire tube frame. I then joined a smaller section of the fencing wire across the top and bottom of the tube – this will give me somewhere to hang my rubber band & top peg. The 120 film will hang from that peg with a second peg at the bottom of the film to keep it straight.

I needed to cut out a door large enough that I wouldn’t scratch the unwound wet roll of film as it entered or was removed from the cabinet. So I used wire cutters to remove all but the top and bottom rectangles in a vertical line and taped over all joins and wire ends to further ensure that my negatives would survive.

Film drying cabinet

I can sit a small heavy ceramic plate inside the wire structure to prevent pooling of the drips. The outer covering is a full length cream coloured breathable wedding dress bag with a zipper (costing $15). I used black tape to cover the coat hanger opening in the top of the bag as an effective seal against dust.

For a total cost of approximately $25 this affords me everything that I need for drying my film in a dust free environment overnight. The design’s lightness offers me the ability to take the drying cabinet into the processing area where I can hang the wet negatives and seal it away from dust. Then I can move the safely enclosed film negatives into my office to dry overnight.

For storage it’s imperative to prevent dust accumulating on the tape and frame so they should be kept zipped inside the cover when not in use. Similarly, it is advisable that you store the cabinet and outer bag under an old sheet to prevent the breathable cover accumulating unwanted layers of dust that could enter your film processing environment.

It just goes to show that you don’t need to invest upward of $600 to achieve results in a non-commercial environment.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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