Inkodye: Photo Negatives to Fabric Prints


Print your own photos on your clothes with Inkodye using sunlight! This process makes it so simple and affordable to print your own photographs onto fabric at home. The best part, the results are high-quality, permanent and machine washable.

This process is similar to the Sun Print paper you may have used as a kid, but Lumi has formulated a special chemistry for Inkodye that is meant for fabric instead of paper. The free Lumi iphone app to walk you through the process and help you turn your images into printable negatives. If printing your own negatives seems too daunting you can even purchase custom printed negatives straight from the app and Lumi will deliver them to your doorstep.


For this project we used the free Lumi iPhone app, a red Print Fabric with Light kit, Blue Inkodye, Inkofilm and an H&M tank top.


Pick a photo, turn it into a greyscale negative using the free Lumi iPhone app, print it out TWICE on Inkofilm and layer the two films to build up denser blacks. By layering the two printed Inkofilm transparencies you’ll get better contrast on your final print. If you’re familiar with Photoshop you can also make your images into negatives on your computer instead.


Put a piece of foam core or cardboard inside your tank and apply your Inkodye. Choose a dim area away from direct sunlight to apply your Inkodye. We’re using the Inkocap Roller that comes in the kit, you can also use any brayer or brush. Putting a board inside your shirt prevents dye from bleeding onto the back of your shirt when you apply it.


Blot your dye with paper towel to soak up the excess. This is a very important step. The goal is to fully saturate your fabric but not to make it too wet. If your fabric is too wet your print might turn out splotchy or blurry.


Pin your negative down ‘ink-side’ up. If you’re using Inkjet printed negatives you want to put the glossy side down on your fabric and the side with the black ink on it facing up. If you put the ink side down on your wet fabric it will smear. Smooth your negative down firmly with your hands and then pin it into place.


Time for the sun! Expose your project to direct sunlight for 12 minutes. Cloudy day? No problem. Inkodye is UV sensitive so it will still expose on a cloudy day but you’ll need to leave it out for twice as long. Midday sun is the best.

Bring your print back inside into a dim area and peel your negative away to reveal your print. Your print is still light-sensitive to keep it in a dark area until you wash it.


Wash your print twice on the HOT/COLD cycle of your washing machine using Inkowash detergent. Inkowash is made to remove excess unexposed Inkodye more effectively than household detergent.


The last step is figuring out where to debut your kickin’ new custom fashion statement ;)

Alison is the Operations Associate at Whimseybox. Born and raised in Maine, Ali was brought up in the creative culture of craft fairs and artist co-ops where she discovered her love of all things handmade. A true dilettante, she rarely repeats a project and considers herself one lucky lady that her passions have collided with her career.


Leave a Reply