[alt-photo] Re: casein

Don Bryant donsbryant at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 17:06:04 GMT 2011

Hello fellow casein experimenters and lurking listees,

I wish I could post a glowing report of success with casein printing but to
date that's just not the case.

My first home made solution of casein still reeks of ammonia. Does anyone
know if that is normal? To make the solution I used common household ammonia
- 3%. Should I order some Ammonia hydroxide from the Formulary? I have a
lifetime supply of sodium hydroxide, would be best if I could get that to
work since the am. Hydroxide has serious hazmat fees to ship. 

After leaving the jar of liquid casein uncapped for a couple of days, I came
down to my darkroom to discover ants floating around in the solution. Seeing
that, I recapped the solution and left it sitting on the counter. This batch
was mixed on April 14th. There it still sits.

I have attempted to make casein powder without adding alkali just out of
curiosity. What I have ended up with is a hard mass that reminds me of dried
out Play-Doh. Just in case anyone wants to make their own home grown
Play-Doh click here:


I'll attempt to grind the lump into a powder in my darkroom blender, but
mulling this stuff into a fine maybe more labor than the stuff is worth. The
initial curd I produced was very reminiscent of cottage cheese - white,
lumpy, and wet.  

My casein pwoder came a few days ago and I gave it a try. I mixed it with a
amonim carbonate solution, It mixed very well with just a spoon, no mixers.
It has been sitting on the counter for 2 days, actually today is a third day
and I have not noticed any viscosity changes. It looks exactly as I have
mixed it fresh. My first attempt in printing was a disaster. I have not made
anything that bad in a long time. Looking at it I think I overloaded it with
black pigment. It looked so dark and beautiful when brushing. Unfortunatly
it mostly flaked out leaving a horrible stain and traces of the image.
 I am going to try with watercolour pigments and a lower load, perhaps
similar to gum
 Not discourage just curious.

I may just throw in the towel and purchase some ammonium caseinate though
I'm eager to make and compare sodium caseinate. Thanks to Marek for the
great link to Earth pigments, I just received their dry pigment color chart
yesterday in the mail, but being able to make ones own caseinate appeals to
me. The dry Earth pigs. seem like a good value but are they resilient and

I will scan my very first set of casein prints and put them in the same URL
location shortly and you will see there is hope between those first prints
and the ones I have in the Past Lives on my website.

I was reticent to mix a tube of watercolor pigment into a stock solution of
casein and now I'm glad I didn't seeing C.Z. Anderson's recent post on her
experimental web page of showing the results of clotted nickel AZO.

I would like to get this process to work, if possible printing tri-color on
black plastic.

Thanks to Dick Sullivan for posting that oh so salient link to the Google
doc. Got any plans to sell caseinate Dick? Until I started reading about
this milk by product on the net I never realized how important and widely
produced casein and caseinate is. For a protein starved world I suppose this
makes sense.
Is there any pointing in considering Calcium caseinate?

Thanks for reading the ramble,

Don Bryant

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