Making Kodak D76 from scratch with Original Recipe

In this week’s Blog I show you how to make the famous Kodak D76 Developer from scratch including all the steps. Developing film at home is always a special pleasure if you have the right equipment. During the lock-down it’s often hard to get Darkroom chemicals here in Slovenia and also shipments are very delayed. That’s why it’s nice to be able to make & mix your own stuff. It is actually made out of only a few ingredients and it’s not hard to make so let’s start.

D76 is a classic and truly versatile film developer which first entered the market way back in 1927. It provides full emulsion speed, long density range and excellent shadow detail with normal contrast and produces fine grain with a variety of black and white films and also dry plates. Kodak was forced to change the formulas of many developers through time as a bunch of photographers started to mix their own developers at home. Modern D76 has a bit different package but its core is more or less the same as the original recipe in 1927.

All chemicals are dangerous and must be treated with respect. Please read the warning labels on each package! 


Ingredients/chemicals you need:

  • 750ml of Water
  • 2gm of Metol 
  • 100gm of Sodium Sulfite anhydrous
  • 5gm of Hydroquinone
  • 2gm of Borax
  • Cold water to make 1 liter of the solution

*Chemicals need to be mixed in the same order as listed here!

  1. Start by putting some gloves on.

  2. Proceed by weighing all the chemicals so you can just add one after another later on.

  3. Prepare the 750ml of water heated up to around 50°C (122°F). In order for the developer to react properly it’s very important what kind of water you use. PH of the final solution should be at 8.5 so I recommend you to use distilled water as tap waters around the world are very different and can have lots of added ingredients you definitely don’t want to have in your developer.

  4. Start adding the chemicals one by one. Every chemical needs to dissolve completely before you add the next one. Also make sure to stick to the same order as listed above because for instance if you add Metol at the end it wont even dissolve. If you can I recommend you to use a magnetic stirrer & you will thank me later.

  5. When you have added and dissolved all the ingredients you can add cold water to make 1l of the solution.

  6. Last step you need to do is to pour the stock solution into a container and store it in the fridge until needed.


You can use it as it is but I recommend you to use it in 1:1 ratio with water.

I also made a VIDEO of making the D76 developer from scratch

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