Tipster: Simple Hacks to Retrieve a Film Leader From a Film Canister


We have all been through the hassle of having a film stuck inside of a canister. Fear not, we're going to show you two easy ways to retrieve the 35 mm film leader without a film puller or film lab nearby!

Retrieve the 35 mm Film Leader with Tape

For both hacks, the principle is the same and we recommend, if possible, to find an old film end or beginning where there are no frames. Here is what you'll need for the first method:

  • Tape holder or scissors
  • Old film
Step 1: tape the old film, step 2: insert it in the canister, step 3: pull gently

Get a piece of film and stick a piece of double-sided tape on one side of it. Gently move the wheel of the film canister and set the negative near the opening. Then, insert your taped piece of film into the canister and gently pull the stuck film leader out.

You might encounter some resistance as the film may have bent on the corners. Be patient and try a couple of times. Usually, it works just fine.

Retrieve the 35 mm Film Leader with Water

In case you don't have any double-sided tape at home or if you are travelling, here is another easy solution for you!

  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Old film

Dip your old film in water, then remove the excess water and insert the negative inside the canister. Sometimes the film is not near the opening, so wind your roll to get it near the slit.

Step 1: dip old film in water, step 2: insert in the canister, step 3: pull gently

Push the old wet film inside far enough that you are sure to have grasped the stuck film leader, then pull. Feel with your fingers if they are sticking together and make sure to pull them both. It might well take a couple of attempts but you will retrieve your negative!

Do you know any other tips for retrieving a film stuck inside a canister? Share them with us below! If you are running out of film, head over to our online shop to stock up.

written by eparrino on 2022-03-10 #gear #tutorials #videos #analogue #tipster #canister #35-mm-film #film-stuck #film-puller #35-mm-canister #film-leader-extractor #simple-hack #retrieve-a-film-leader #film-out-of-canister


  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    It's not always work. Buying film picker are the best way

  2. brine
    brine ·

    I have used the wet film technique!!!

  3. stereograph
    stereograph ·

    @brine yeah i did this too, in the field.
    i spooled in the film accidently and really needed the material.
    i found it deep in the web and it worked!

More Interesting Articles