New: Contact Printing Frame

Seeing that I’m starting to work more with contact printing processes the need for a decent contact printing frame surfaced. At our latest Picto meet I saw one made by Rene Smets. He builds his own cameras, pinhole, wet plate, you name it, dark boxes for collodion / daguerreotype etc. and does a really wonderful job. He was more than willing to make me a contact printing frame in my desired size: 42 x 52 cm. Today I picked it up.

The design is really well thought-out. It’s, in short, a wooden frame holding a glass plate. On top of that you would place your negative. On top of that goes a sort of pressing surface which presses your paper to negative evenly and firmly so sharpness is overall equal. This pressing surface has been divided in three sections, each section being pressed down by a their own pressing bar. You can unlock the outer two to lift up the outer “flaps” of the pressing surface to check on the print while exposing. Since pressure is never lifted of the middle part the print should stay in the exact same position. Smaller printing frames usually have two sections but the three on this one is really nice because of its size!

The front of the frame where you can see the glass. This side is up (duhhh) while exposing the print.


This is the back of the frame where you can see the three bars pressing down the three sections of the plate pressing the print and negative tightly against the glass. The red knobs you see are for locking the bars into place.


The printing frame with the bars opened so you can see the pressing plate. The sections are connected using hinges which allows you to open them per one and sneak-peak your print.


A close-up of the knob which slides the locking mechanism in and out of its place.


Here I’m lifting up one of the sections (the one on the right) to look at your print while exposing.


It’s a very smart design and I’m really happy with it! If I need a different one (bigger for example) I sure know where to go! I might lacquer it although it’s not really necessary as the printing material is dry once put in there. If you’d like to have something like that made or maybe a camera or something else you can contact René Smets for more information: You can also follow his blog, which is very new right now, but hopefully he’ll post some great things soon.





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