Someday, I’ll have millions of dollars and a beautiful custom darkroom all to myself. Until then, here are a couple of my favorite, cheaper alternatives I’ve discovered.
Dark cloth: Yeah, you could spend a chunk of money on a ~professional~ dark cloth, or you could buy a couple yards of cosplay fabric from a local fabric store and save a whole lot of money (plus feel 10000 times more magical). I snagged two yards of this amazing fabric for use with my 4x5 camera, and another 3 that I use with my darkbox. Other than being very stylish, the material is meant for making costumes so it stays fairly cool underneath and is sufficiently opaque.
Stained glass panels: Quickly after starting to build my portable darkbox, I found out how expensive safelights and/or filters can be. Since I’m currently only using the box for tintypes, I knew I could get a little more creative with my light situation. A 12” x 12” amber glass panel for $8 does the job perfectly at a fraction of the cost.
Creamer bottles: This one didn’t occur to me until recently, but I’m sold on it. We’ve suddenly become creamer users, and I can’t bear to get rid of things that may prove to be useful/reusable later, so that’s how I ended up with a middle of the night idea, and a brand new fix bottle. I don’t know how well these guys would hold up to long term storage, but they’ve been awesome for small batch sessions. The pour spout is top notch, plus the lid snaps open and closed with one hand. Cut to me at the grocery store, spending way too long analyzing the size, ergonomics, cap color and (less importantly) flavor of each creamer bottle. shrug
I’m sure that this post will only continue to get longer as I look around and realize more odd things I’ve adapted. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right?