top of page

Cheap Darkroom Cost Breakdown

I want to bust a myth.

To start printing with Alternative Processes, you don't need to invest a lot of money. Even if you are planning to build a darkroom. Here's a breakdown of how much my darkroom really cost (and I haven't upgraded it yet)

Building a darkroom for cheap
My darkroom-corner in my garage! On the top right you can also see some of those black curtains I used to light-proof the back of my garage

1. Table: picked up on the side of the road 0€

2. Enlarger: purchased a 30€ enlarger that survived the 1966 Florence flooding. It was in really bad shape, restored it with 10€ of tools and cleaning products. It's a DURST M 600, the inside glass was broken but still works fine!

3. Masking Easel: I used a piece of found plywood and black tape for 0.99€ for a long time, recently upgraded to a second hand easel bought on Ebay for 25€

4. Darkroom Trays & red safelight : Ebay 15€ + delivery. Ebay is a great place to buy equipment because people ofter sell batches of different darkroom utensils, plus you can bid a lower price!

5. Beakers: 3.75€ at the flea market (as long as they're plastic or glass containers, it's fine!)

6: Storage Cabinet: picked up on the side of the road 0€

7. Ilford Magenta Filters: 20€ on Ebay

Building a darkroom for cheap

8. Because I only had space in my garage, the most costly investment for me was making a portion of my garage light-proof, which meant purchasing and installing the classical black darkroom curtains: got them from ikea for 69€. The way my garage is shaped, this was my only option, but you can easily get away with just blocking your bathroom's window with some cardboard.

Side note: if you're purchasing black curtains for whatever reason, don't just buy them online, see them in person and use your flashlight to see if the material they're made of lets light pass through.

9. Darkroom chemicals & paper can be costly but really depends on what paper you buy, if it's expired or not, if you want powder or liquid chemicals and in what quantity. On Ebay, I once bought some vintage expired developer/fixer/stop to experiment for as little al 25€.

All the things I use in my darkroom are second-hand or up-cycled, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are great places to get cheap tools!

The total is 128,75€ (without the black ikea curtains)


​Inside the Alternative Processes Academy, we included an introduction to darkroom printing. From 0 to creating your first darkroom print!
​See the full curriculum here

94 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page