How to Write on a Polaroid

By Brandon Getty

Updated February 10, 2017

Add a caption to the border around your Polaroid pictures.
i Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Polaroid once manufactured instant cameras and compatible film packs. After you take a photo using instant film, the camera ejects the picture, which is framed by a white border. The film emulsion contains the chemicals required for development, which begins just after ejection from the camera. Though Polaroid has halted their production of new instant films, you can purchase cold-stored film packs from various online merchants. You can use any permanent marker to write on a Polaroid picture's white border.

Wait until your Polaroid picture is fully developed. Instant film is usually completely developed and fixed, or made permanent, within five to ten minutes.

Decide what you will write on the picture's border. Most instant film photographers write the date and time, a sentimental caption or fitting song lyrics.

Write your desired text on the white border around the image. If you wish to add more text, flip the picture over and continue on the backside.

Allow the ink to dry for several minutes before storing or transporting the Polaroid picture.

Write directly on the film using a white paint pen. Allow the ink to dry for ten to twenty minutes.

Items you will need

  • Permanent marker (fine or regular tip)

  • White paint pen


New instant films based on Polaroid's original formula can be purchased from The Impossible Project website.

Store your Polaroid pictures in a cool, dry area to preserve them.


Do not write on your Polaroid pictures before they are finished developing, as this may ruin the resulting image.