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How to Build a Darkroom

Photographs hanging on a string for development: how to build a darkroom

Digital photos are the way of the world these days. Anyone with a smartphone can quickly snap and view a relatively high-quality photograph without additional equipment or required experience. While this technology is incredible, that doesn’t stop countless people from continuing to process their photos the “old-fashioned way.”

If you love photography and want to continue shooting film, you’ll need a darkroom where you can process those images properly. This article will walk you through how to build a darkroom, including what spaces can work and how to prepare the room for photo development.

A quality shed is one of the best options for a dedicated darkroom. Those can be found here at American Steel Carports, Inc. Our durable metal products are proven to stand the test of time, so explore our Build & Price tool today to see what is possible. Of course, you can also contact us directly if you would like help from a member of our friendly team!

Choosing the Right Space

The key to creating a quality darkroom is finding a controlled space that will offer a clean environment and the ability to work in a dark, undisturbed manner. Unfortunately, rooms that need to be used for other purposes aren’t a great pick, as there will be too much dust flying around to maintain the clean setting required for proper development. This is why a shed is a smart pick as a darkroom. If you build a small shed specifically for this purpose, you can optimize the space for your work and avoid the kind of clutter and debris that will lead to issues.

Addressing Ventilation

It’s important to remember that there are chemicals used in a darkroom, and the fumes of those chemicals may be dangerous. Therefore, properly venting the air in your new shed is essential to this project. In a small shed, you may need nothing more than a portable fan pointed out of the window that ensures the toxic fumes from your chemicals don’t accumulate and create a dangerous situation.

Add Storage Features

There are plenty of things you’ll need to store if you are going to operate a good darkroom, so you won’t want to leave the shed completely empty. Bringing in basic furniture pieces will make the shed more functional and will allow it to serve your needs nicely for this project. Some elements to consider include the following:

Chemical storage

The last thing you want to do is pile up your chemical containers on the floor and walk around them as you work. Instead, add a sturdy table or small cabinet where these supplies are safely kept when not in use. Of course, you’ll also want a good table on which to work, so make sure you have plenty of open surfaces available in the shed, so you don’t feel cramped or crowded and can spread everything out comfortably.

Add some drawers

Another essential part of a darkroom is a space where to keep film until it is time to do the development. While any storage solution that allows no light in can work, a drawer or set of drawers may be the best option. Remember, the key here is that no light gets in, so plastic drawers are not a good pick.

The Dark Factor

It may go without saying that a darkroom needs to be, well, dark. If too much light comes into the space, it won’t particularly matter what else you do – the room isn’t going to function correctly for developing photographs.

First, keep thing element in mind when you order your shed. You will want to have a window included in the design for ventilation, but you probably won’t want to add any more than the bare minimum. Each additional window, after all, is another chance for light to sneak through. If you build a small shed for this project, just a single window will likely do the job.

Also, you will need to cover the window and any other spaces where light can get in while you are working. Many different types of materials and products can work, but some thick black plastic is usually your best bet. Covering up the various little gaps that let light into the shed might take trial and error. However, you will be ready to use the space only when it is truly as dark as it can be.

Start Building with American Steel

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to build a darkroom! There is certainly some time and effort required to create your darkroom, but that will all be worth it when you can process and successfully develop your first batch of prints. If you decide that a shed is a perfect place for your darkroom, don’t hesitate to contact us here at American Steel Carports, Inc. to get started on your project. We even offer convenient financing to make this purchase more manageable from the start.

When you are ready to get started, remember to explore our free Build & Price tool. Again, thank you for stopping by our blog; we hope to serve you soon!