Stereoview Construction Instructions


December 30, 2000

Les Gehman


This document describes the method I use to create contemporary stereoviews. Many of the techniques described here were taught to me by David Lee and George Freeman. Without their help, I would never have learned how to create cards as professional looking as these.


Wherever possible, I have included the sources I use to purchase the equipment and supplies required for the method. These sources are listed in the footnotes to this article. Other sources are available for most of these supplies, Im just listing the places I used.


This method produces professional looking stereoviews for under $1.00 per view. While it is somewhat equipment intensive, once the equipment is purchased, it becomes very easy to produce a large number of stereoviews quickly and easily.


Equipment required:

-         a dry mount press[i]

-         a 24 Rotatrim Mastercut II[ii]

-         a book press or suitable vise[iii]

-         a film scanner[iv]

-         Stereo Image Factory[v]

-         any decent photo editing software[vi]

-         a computer

-         a printer

-         a tacking iron[vii]


Supplies required:

-         two-ply museum mat board[viii]

-         8 X 11 dry mount tissue[ix]

-         acid free 24lb. printer paper[x]

-         3M 568 positionable mounting adhesive[xi]

-         4 X 6 prints[xii]


Scanning and Aligning the Stereo Pair


I use two primary cameras for stereo photography, a Realist and a Canon Elan for hypers. By shooting slide film in the cameras, Im able to scan the film and produce prints from the scans, and still mount the slides as a stereo pair. I have the slide film processed[xiii] and sleeved from the Realist and processed and mounted from the Elan. The HP Photosmart S20 scanner that I use, can take both mounted and unmounted slide film (along with prints).


1.      Scan the slides. Before scanning Realist format slides, I cut the film into 40-perf strips. This is the equivalent of 5 full frame (8-perf) images, or 8 realist (5-perf) images. Set the scanner to panoramic slide strip mode, and scan at the highest possible resolution. On my scanner, each 40-perf strip scanned at 2400 dpi produces a 125 Meg tiff file.

2.      Pull the left and right images from the strip. I load the tiff file of the strip into Picture Publishervi and save each individual left and right image to separate tiff files.

3.      Clean up the scan. No matter how clean you keep your scanner and slides there will be dust on the scan. Load each individual image into your photo editor and using the clone tool, get rid of all the dust spots, and re-save the tiff file. They are mostly a problem in the sky areas.

4.      Align and crop the stereo pair. Load each left and right tiff image into Stereo Image Factoryv and align and crop the stereo pair. Be careful to ensure that neither image goes off the end of the image into the adjacent image. When done, save off the left and right images separately.

5.      Create the stereo print in your photo editor. Open the left image and re-size to allow room for the right image and a black septum between the two images. If the stereoview will be a standard 3 X 7 card, add black area under the images to fill out to a 4 X 6 print size. Save the final stereo pair as a jpeg file.

6.      Upload the jpeg file to the print service of your choice and order prints.


Creating the Card


7.      In your photo editor or other software[xiv] create a page of stereo card front images and a page of stereo card back images.

8.      Print the stereo card front and back images onto your acid-free printer paper.

9.      Build a stack-up of your front and back images and mat board as follows:

-         front image

-         dry mount tissue

-         mat board

-         dry mount tissue

-         back image

and align this 5-layer stack and temporarily hold with spring clips.

10.  Using a tacking ironvii, tack the front and back of your 5-layer stack-up and remove the spring clips.

11.  Place the stack-up in your heat seal press between two sheets of release paper and two scrap mat boards for about 1-2 minutes. (Youll need some experimenting to find the proper time and temperature. I use 180 F for 2 minutes.)

12.  Remove the laminated stack-up and allow to cool.

13.  Cut apart the card blanks using the Rotatrim cutter.

14.  Apply 3M positionable mounting adhesive to the backs of the photos.

15.  Position the photos on the card blanks and bond them with the brayer.

16.  Place the finished cards in sleeves, stack them up and clamp them in a book press for 24 hours.

17.  Join APEC III[xv], and trade your views with other stereoview makers.


[i] Dry mount presses are very expensive to purchase new. Suitable presses such as the Seal 160 cost about $1000 new from B&H. I picked up an older Seal 150 on eBay for under $200.

[ii] Yes, you really need a Rotatrim. And, yes, you will most likely need the 24 model. I bought mine from B&H Photo, 1-800-606-6969.

[iii] New book presses are expensive and difficult to find. I use a Zyliss woodworking vise to clamp my views. Its also fairly easy to build your own book press from some blocks of wood and clamps.

[iv] I use an HP Photosmart S20 scanner purchased from, however any scanner capable of scanning slides or negatives at 2400 dpi or greater will suffice.

[v] Purchase from SOFTreat Co., has a downloadable demo. The software, version 2.50, costs $99.00 and may be ordered online.

[vi] I use Micrografx Picture Publisher, A demo is downloadable from their web site. Picture Publisher 8 lists for $49.95 and earlier versions may be picked up cheaply on eBay.

[vii] I use a Seal Sealector III tacking iron available for $51.49 from B&H.

[viii] I purchase Westminster 2-ply mat board in 22 X 28 sheets from Light Impressions, P.O. Box 22708, Rochester, NY 14692-2708, 800-828-6216, (Item # 3612, 25 sheets/package, $83.15/pkg, $66.55/pkg for 2 or more) (Each sheet is then cut down into six 8 X 11 sheets.)

[ix] $17.88/100 sheets from Film Source,, 1158 Carmel Circle, Suite 140, Casselberry, FL 32707-6457, 1-888-241-7775.

[x] Xpedx Paper Store, 106 S. Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO, 303-777-6688.

[xi] Freestyle Sales Co.,, 5124 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027, (800) 292-6137. (Catalog # 17029, 11 X 50, $30.89/roll)

[xii] I use a variety of on-line photo print services. Many of them offer a number of free 4 X 6 prints for signing up. My favorites are for their very nice cropping and border options, for their prices (as low as $0.19/print), and

[xiii] Markham Photo Lab, 204 N. Link Lane, Fort Collins, CO, 80524, 970-221-9429.

[xiv] I use Microsoft Vision 2000 Technical Edition, but many programs are available that work equally well.