How to Mix Kodak Dektol Developer

By Bridget Conn
Kodak Dektol is a common paper developer used in black-and-white darkroom photo processing.

Kodak Dektol is a developer for black-and-white photographic paper that is a common choice for darkrooms. Dektol is a powder that you can find in 1-liter, 1-gallon and 5-gallon amounts. The directions for mixing the powder into a stock solution are printed on the envelope or box. After creating the stock solution, you need to further dilute the chemistry with additional water to create a working solution in which you can process your paper.

One Liter Stock Solution

Pour 828 milliliters of water into a graduate. Use a thermometer to make sure this water is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the water into the bucket.

Cut an envelope containing powder for a 1-liter stock solution of Dektol with scissors as directed on the envelope.

Use the stirring rod to stir the water into a rapidly-moving circle before you begin to pour the powder into the bucket. Slowly empty the contents of the envelope, and continue to stir until all the powder is dissolved.

Add 172 ml of water to bring the solution to 1 liter. Pour the stock solution of Dektol into a storage container. Use an opaque container and screw the lid on tightly to extend the Dektol's shelf life.

One Gallon Stock Solution

Measure 3 liters of water with a graduate. Use the thermometer to make sure this water is between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the water into the bucket.

Cut an envelope containing powder for a 1-gallon stock solution of Dektol with scissors as directed on the envelope.

Use the stirring rod to stir the water into a rapidly-moving circle before you begin to pour the powder into the bucket. Slowly empty the contents of the envelope, and continue to stir until all the powder is dissolved.

Add 800 ml of water to bring the solution to 1 gallon. Pour the stock solution of Dektol into a storage container. Use an opaque container and screw the lid on tightly to extend the Dektol's shelf life.

Five Gallon Stock Solution

Measure 4 1/4 gallons (544 ounces) of water with a graduate. Use the thermometer to make sure this water is between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the water into the bucket.

Cut the bag containing powder for a 5-gallon stock solution of Dektol with scissors.

Use the stirring rod to stir the water into a rapidly-moving circle before you begin to pour the powder into the bucket. Slowly empty the contents of the bag, and continue to stir until all the powder is dissolved.

Add 3/4 gallon (96 ounces) of water to bring the solution to 5 gallons. Pour the stock solution of Dektol into a storage container. Use opaque containers with tight-fitting lids to store chemistry. If you will not be using the chemical quickly, consider using a 5-gallon drum with a floating lid to reduce oxygen exposure, which extends Dektol's shelf life.

Working Solution

Choose a developing tray based on the size of your photographic paper. Common sizes are 8 by 10 inches, 11 by 14 inches and 16 by 20 inches.

Create the working solution of Dektol in a ratio of one part Dektol, two parts water, according to the size of your tray. For example, an 8-by-10 tray easily holds about 1 liter of liquid. In this case, 300 ml of Dektol to 600 ml of water is recommended.

Pour the solution into the tray and use within 24 hours.

Warning

Use proper ventilation or a dust mask when mixing Dektol powder.

Consult MSDS (Material Safety Data) sheets in case of accidental ingestion.

About the Author

Bridget Conn wears many hats of artist, photographer, educator, writer and designer while living in beautiful Asheville, N.C. She currently teaches Art at Blue Ridge Community College, and is also the primary educator and Co-Director at The Asheville Darkroom, an upcoming 501c3 photographic center.