Waxing Calotypes


3.25″ x 4.25″ calotype negative
Bienfang Vellum (100% rag)

I am currently trying out a new calotype recipe, and need to fine-tune its exposures.  Due to the size of the calotype, the screen pattern of the paper is very prominent in the image.  So I decided to make a comparison of a waxed and unwaxed calotype.

My waxing method is as follows.  First saturate 2 sheets of newsprint larger than the calotype with paraffin wax using an iron set to medium heat.  The negative is placed between the saturated newsprint, and, and that sandwich between two sheets of dry newsprint.  (Ironing the saturated papers directly builds up black marks that can transfer onto the negative.)   Iron the pile until the negative become completely transparent.  It is easily visible when the negative is back-lit.  Then iron the negative between two sheets of newsprint until the excess wax is removed.

Left: Silver gelatin print of unwaxed calotype. (10 seconds @ f/2.8 no filter)
Right: Silver gelatin contact print of waxed calotype. (2 seconds @ f/2.8 no filter)


Left: Unwaxed close-ups
Right: Waxed close-ups

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