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How is made Palladium Print?

The Palladium Photography is an old printing process but unlike traditional silver printing the image is made from palladium metals. A solution of palladium salts mixed with ferric ammonium oxalate is coated on to a sheet of cotton paper. A palladium print is made by contact printing. The coated paper and the negative are exposed under a UV light source or sun light.

Preparing the paper
I am printing most of palladium prints on Bergger COT-320 paper, which is specifically designed for platinum, palladium and other alternative processes. Before coating the paper stays in humidity chamber under 80% relative humidity for 30min to absorber moisture.

 

Preparing the sensitizer

Ferric Ammonium Oxalate
Dissolve 15 grams of green crystals of Ferric ammonium oxalate in 25ml water not above 49°C. Mix well, it will look like dark pea soup when first mixed. I like to mix the night before I print but you may use it as soon as cloudiness disappears in about 2 hour. Solution is fully saturated so there will be some undissolved crystals. You will filter and bottle Ferric ammonium oxalate in dark brown bottle. It does not have a long shelf life once in liquid form one to three months.

Lithium Chloropalladite
First dissolve 7g of Lithium Chloride in about 50ml of hot (70-80 °C) distilled water and ad 10g Palladium(II) Chloride with stirring HAZARD (Wear a dust mask!). Keep hot, with stirring, until all has dissolved (about an hour). Make up to 85ml with distilled water. Filter and bottle in dark brown bottle when cool.


Mixing the sensitizer

To make a 20 x 27cm print mix in small glass:

– 0.6ml  Ferric Ammonium Oxalate

– 0.6ml  Lithium Chloropalladite

Coating the paper and preparing for the print

Pour into paper well mixed sensitizer, take a brush and spread the sensitizer across the paper. You should get between 4 and 6 passes in all directions to give a nice even coat. Once the paper is coated let it dry in the paper box or table drawer for 10min. Look at the coating on the paper it should be mat and no reflecting, transfer paper to humidity chamber under 80% relative humidity for 10min.

 

Holding the paper and negative

Carefully place the negative on the coated paper and held firmly together using either a contact printing frame, a vacuum frame or two heavy sheets of glass. Due to POP (developing out) process it is recommended to use contact printing frame to be able to examine developing print during exposition.

Exposing the print

The negative and paper sandwich is then placed under the UV light source or sun light and exposed. Exposure times can vary between 5 and 10 minutes and can be controlled by opening half of contact print fame and visually examine print.

Cleaning the print

Cleaning the print involves two baths of Citric acid and one bath of Sodium sulphite. The print spends 5 minutes in each bath. The Print is finally washed in running water for 30 minutes before being hung to dry.