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A Liquid Dress is Born and how to do emulsion lift

I am often asked how I do my Liquid Dresses. Also, I have talked to many people, who are curious about what Polaroid Emulsion Lift is and how the technique works. Below you can read more about the technique and also read about how a Liquid Dress is born.

What is Polaroid Emulsion Lift?

A Polaroid Emulsion lift is a very fragile technique where I cut off the white frames of the polaroid shortly after it has been exposed. I never lift a polaroid that is more than max 4 hours old. This is because the glue and chemistry in the polaroid will start to dry which increases the risk of the emulsion to crack when I do the actual lift.

The first step, after having cut the white frames of the polaroid, is to carefully, open the polaroid and take out the very delicate emulsion that carries the actual photo. This is all done using warm and cold water baths.

At this point, the emulsion looks a bit like a slimy string when it is taken out of the warm water.

Lifting the emulsion onto a cold water bath, the emulsion will, sort of, have a chock and open again. When this happens, I can lift it onto another medium, such as watercolour paper, a tile, glass or something else it can stick to.

I then take the emulsion, and the medium that I have transferred the emulsion onto, out of the water and move it onto a tea towel.

Photo showing the two water baths I use for doing emulsion lift

While the emulsion is still wet, I mould it into the shape I wish the final piece to have. Sometimes my emulsion will have the shape of a little dress or I will simply open it up and have it, more or less, as a regular photo format 1:1

Liquid Dresses
Polaroid emulsion lift looking like a little dress. The emulsion is lifted onto a blue tile
The very first Liquid Dress on a tile

The very first Liquid Dress was lifted onto a tile and was actually a Happy Accident.

What happened was that I tried to lift my emulsion onto a tile and wanted it to have the format 1:1. But the emulsion twisted around itself and suddenly, I visualised the shape of a dress. An idea was born. This first dress was the very start of my series Liquid Dresses that today counts 288 unique and numbered Liquid Dresses.

Below, you can see examples of some of my Liquid Dresses. Many are sold, but some are still available on my shop. It has been a while since I last did a Liquid Dress. This is because not all batches of polaroid film are suited to lift. Some are too sticky, some are too fragile etc etc. But every time I receive a new batch of film, I alway do a couple of emulsion lifts to find out how this exact polaroid film batch lifts.

If you are curious to see more Liquid Dresses, you can find them here:

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