I’ve recently started using Impossible’s LIFT IT! brush set for emulsion transfers. Included in the set are four brushes, varying in size, which aide in the removal, positioning & manipulation of the gelatinous emulsion during transfers. In the past, I was using regular watercolor brushes to remove the emulsion from the mylar surface of instant images. That had been working OK, but since I’ve gotten these, I’m never turning back …

Impossible Project's LIFT IT!Brush Set
Impossible Project’s LIFT IT Brush Set

I’ve heard, “Aren’t these the same as brushes that I can pick up at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby?” At first, I assumed they might be. Not quite the case. When I would use other brushes, the bristles would flare out and I’d end up using the base of the bristles to push off & remove the emulsion. Sometimes I would end up tearing the emulsion while I was removing it, because invariably I was using the metal/wood portion at the base of the bristles. The LIFT IT brushes are designed well. The brushes that need to stay ridged and/or soft deliver. The #1 brush for instance, stays ridged while you use the soft bristles of the brush to remove the emulsion. This helps the user remove it without the heightened risk of tearing it. When you’re dealing with a gelatinous material, being as careful as you can is key.

Since I’ve started using the LIFT IT kit, I’ve made a handful of transfers for family & friends. I made a couple more this evening for this blog post to walk you through the steps. The steps might vary from person to person. This is one of the methods I use. I used three images to make two emulsion transfers. One will be dried & stowed away in the “another random transfer” file & the other will end up being a card for my grandmother.

Images for emulsion transfers
Images for emulsion transfers
Using a sharp knife, splice the edges of the film ...
Using a sharp knife, splice the edges of the film …
Run the knife around all four sides ...
Run the knife around all four sides …
Run the knife around all four sides ...
Run the knife around all four sides …
Keep going ..
Keep going ..
Carefully peel back the layers ...
Carefully peel back the layers …
Discard the bottom portion ...
Discard the bottom portion …
I repeated the process on the remaining two images ...
I repeated the process on the remaining two images …
The three peeled images
The three peeled images
Pour hot water into a tray/bowl
Pour hot water into a tray/bowl
I submerged the three images ...
I submerged the three images …

Brush #3 was made to shape, distort and to remove contortions after the transfer, however, I found that it also served well as a tool to wipe away the developer residue from the backside of the emulsion.  The brush is super soft and the fine bristles worked really well at this task.

Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #3, I gently wiped the developer residue away
Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar
Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar
Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar
Using brush #1, I began removing the emulsions from the mylar
I gently moved the emulsions into a tray/bowl of cold water
I gently moved the emulsions into a tray/bowl of cold water
Once all three emulsions were in the cold tray ...
Once all three emulsions were in the cold tray …
I slid a piece of card stock under one of the emulsions
I slid a piece of card stock under one of the emulsions
I then placed another emulsion on top of the other to help frame it
I then placed another emulsion on top of the other to help frame it
Once I had maneuvered it around to my liking ...
Once I had maneuvered it around to my liking …
I gently slid a brush under the middle and lifted it out of the water
I gently slid a brush under the middle and lifted it out of the water

At this point, I used brush #4 to brush away some of the creases. After a little bit of brushing the creases grew on me; I decided to leave it alone and let it dry.

For the last emulsion, I slid a card into the water ...
For the last emulsion, I slid a card into the water …
Moved the emulsion on top of the submerged paper ..
Moved the emulsion on top of the submerged paper ..
Positioned it how I liked it using brush #1 & #2 and gently removed it
Positioned it how I liked it using brush #1 & #2 and gently removed it

Positioning these onto paper can be a little difficult. It’s best to use small delicate motions with the brushes to move it around. Once the emulsion is spread out, I’ve found you can position the paper underneath, and use gentle side-to-side motions to carefully make water movement push the image around. It takes a little bit of practice. Once I get the image where I want it, I slide a brush underneath the paper and gently push up from the middle to bring it out of the water.

Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges
Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges
Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges
Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges
Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges
Using brush #4, I added some tears around the edges

About halfway through this process, brush #4 was a little gunked up with the gelatinous goo. Nothing a quick dip in cold water couldn’t fix; it was as good as new.

When I was finished transferring the emulsions, I used the soap provided in the LIFT IT kit and thoroughly cleaned the bristles. They were clean within a matter of seconds and I set them aside to dry.

– The Transfers –

Example #1
Example #1
Example #2
Example #2

Should you buy it? Of course. Why? For a couple of reasons .. the main one is they really do work well and if cared for properly, these brushes should last you many, many, many transfers (years!). #2 – Do I really have to say it? You’ll be supporting one of the only instant photography companies by purchasing it. Buying their products empowers them to keep providing us with great analog materials to create art. It’s a no brainer!

Help keep instant alive!

If you have ANY questions whatsoever, please send a message my way. I’m always happy to help in any way that I can.

Thanks for your time!

-Justin

www.goodephotography.biz

CLICK HERE to buy Impossible’s LIFT IT! Brush Set

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