There are many types of holographic recording material. The acrylamide-based recording material examined here has one significant advantage: it is self-processing. This simplifies the recording process and enables holographic interferometry to be carried out without the need for complex realignment procedures. However, the effect that the polymerization process has on the grating thickness must be examined. This question is fundamental to the material’s use in holographic optical elements, as thickness variations affect the replay conditions of the produced elements. This paper presents a study of this thickness variation and reports for the first time the production of reflection holographic gratings in this material. © 2001 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.