Inkodye develops photos on T-shirts using sunlight
By Pawel Piejko
November 18, 2011
Inkodye is a chemical solution designed for people who are passionate about photography. After all, who else would want to emblazon a T-shirt, ribbon, or a handkerchief with images based on photo negatives? The process is reportedly quite easy, and requires just a dozen or so minutes of sunlight exposure.
Made by Lumi, the light-sensitive dye can be applied to fabrics (cotton, linen, silk), or wood. It might work on other materials too, although this could require some experimentation. The kit contains red, orange and blue dyes, that can be mixed to create additional colors. Each can has a volume of 4 oz (118 ml), which is enough to cover 6 sq ft (0.5 sq m) of cotton fabric, although you could also dilute it with water.
First, you'll need to paint the surface with a chosen color. Then, you place and arrange the negative on the wet dye. It might be a good idea to put a piece of glass on top to keep the negative flat. When the project's ready, it needs to be exposed to the sunlight for eight minutes when it's sunny, or 16 minutes if the day is cloudy. Once it's done, the last step is to wash the fabric in a strong detergent, scrubbing hard to get rid of the unexposed dye, so it doesn't darken anymore.
If you don't have any negatives, it's possible to utilize inkjet-compatible transparency sheets for printing appropriate images. Otherwise, it may be worth a visit to a photo studio. It's also possible to create simple silhouette images by cutting out shapes from cardboard, and using them instead of negatives. In this case, you'll need to follow the same steps described above.
An Inkodye kit containing three cans of dye is priced at US$35 and can be ordered online.