Permanent self-diffraction gratings are formed in red sensitive Acid blue 7 dye soaked gelatin films under illumination of an interference pattern by two linearly polarized beams from a He-Ne laser at 632.8 nm. Growth of the self-diffraction grating is monitored by measuring intensities of various diffraction orders. Systematic studies are carried out to investigate the influence of various parameters involved in diffraction efficiency of the grating such as time of exposure, concentration of dye in the gelatin-coated plate, intensity of interfering beams and intensity ratio of interfering beams. Efficient gratings with ten diffracted orders are formed. Several interesting observations are made by blocking one of the writing beams and an attempt is made to analyse these results. © 2001 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.