Step-by-step guide to gum printing

Before you start


Warning — please note that working with historical processes brings you into contact with chemicals which if not handled properly can be dangerous to your health and those of others.

Some basic precautions

Preparing the work area

You do not need a fully light tight darkroom to work in gum. Your basic requirements are as follows:

Assembling materials

Notes on exposure control

Exposure times will vary depending on your choice of sensitiser, negatives, paper, printing lights and to a certain extend your pigment colour. A useful test to arrive at some base exposures is to use step tablets with each of the pigments you plan to use — you will then need to do further tests with the same pigments and your negatives.

As a guide my printing exposures vary from 6-15 mins under a 400w metal halide light.

Outline of working procedure