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DIY Prints: My Review of Lumi Inkodye

Updated on June 19, 2013

I was first introduced to Lumi via Kickstarter, the popular crowd funding site, and was immediately impressed. The Lumi team put together a fun video that demonstrated a printing technique they describe as, "a water-based dye that develops and fixes its color permanently with exposure to sunlight." For $35, I helped fund the project and ordered my kit. The below is my candid step-by-step review.

Step 1. Gather supplies. To create your custom negative, find the image you would like to print. Using an image editing program like photoshop, de-saturate it (making it black and white), invert the black and white shades to create the negative and print onto the transparent film.

These are the transparent sheets I used - they were great!


Step 2. Pin down material to the cardboard, keeping the fabric taut. The binder clips from my office worked well, but I assume clothespins would have been equally effective.

Step 3. After shaking the bottle of Inkodye, pour about 2 tablespoons into the dish and use the brush to apply directly to the fabric. The ink will appear almost colorless before it is exposed to light, so use a paper towel to wipe up access ink until the material feels damp to the touch (not soaking).


Step 4. Remove the clips and apply the clear glass or plastic sheet on top to keep the negative in place and touching the inked-up towel while outside in the sun. Leave the project outside for 8-16 minutes in direct sunlight. The more direct the sunlight, the better.


Step 5. Remove the negative film and wash material in hot, soapy water. I used regular detergent and then partially dried it in the dryer.



I was a little disappointed that sharp and narrow lines did not translate cleanly to the fabric, but otherwise thought it was simple (just 5 steps after the negative was ready), fast (approximately 45 minutes, not including dry time) and unique (each print is one-of-a-kind).

Tip 1: No words

I wouldn't recommend trying to print anything that you would want to be legible. This technique is best suited for avant-guarde images.

Tip 2: Flat surface

The company writes that their ink can be applied to any natural material, but as you can see from the towel, you lose the focus of the image when there are threads protruding.


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      johnny 4 years ago

      the blurriness is from the transparency being too far away from the fabric.. use a piece of glass or clear plastic to press the transparency against the fabric next time... add bricks if you need to.

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      Lisa 4 years ago

      Maybe you should have actually used a flat surface. A towel has lots of texture and can absorb the ink differently. Next time, try an old sheet and see what happens.