How to Develop X-Ray Film

x-ray image by Claudio Calcagno from

Things You'll Need

  • Kodak GBX developer
  • Kodak GBX fixer
  • Distilled water
  • Long forceps

X-ray film, also known as radiographic film, consists of a transparent base with a blue tint on both sides and an emulsion of gelatin that contains silver bromide, silver chloride or other radiation sensitive crystals. X-rays strike the crystals and create a latent image that is sensitive enough to the developer to cause a reaction. Developing x-ray solutions requires three chemicals available at any photography supply store.

Prepare the developer solution in a dark room with a safe light because it will oxidize in light. Add 750 ml (25.36 oz.) of water to a tray. Pour in 10ml (.34 oz.) of Kodak GBX developer concentrate and stir for two minutes. Keep the developer solution wrapped in tinfoil when storing, to keep the light from it.

Fill a third tray with distilled water to use as a stop solution and final rinse.

Prepare the fixer solution. Add 856 ml (29 oz.) of water to a tray and add in 95 ml (3.2 oz.) of Kodak GBX fixer concentrate. Swirl the mixture a few times.

Take the film out of the x-ray cassette in the darkroom and place it in the developer solution. Move the tray in a circular motion for 30 seconds to keep the developer moving across the film. Take the film out of the developer solution with long forceps. Continue using the forceps to handle the film until it is completely developed.

Place the film in the distilled water for a couple of seconds to remove the developer. Mixing the developer and fixer will ruin the film.

Place the film in the fixer solution for 30 seconds and gently move the tray in a circular motion to keep the fixer flowing across the film.

Remove the film from the fixer and rinse it with water for 30 to 60 seconds. Allow the film to dry.


  • To dispose of the developer and fixer solution handle them as if they were hazardous waste and follow the applicable disposal laws in your area.


  • Do not skip the washing step under any circumstances.