FED up with the same old sources of mass produced clobber for your wardrobe? Times are changing. You can now print your own photos onto T-shirts, dresses and other fabrics at home. It takes no more than a standard inkjet printer, a bottle of safe and affordable photo sensitive dye and a bottle of special detergent.
This is the work of California-based entrepreneur Jesse Genet, who discovered a harmless dye which is activated by sunlight. Now she is mass producing it, as Lumi Inkodye. It is taking off and has been brought to the UK.
It works like this. You select a suitable photo and create a black and white negative from it, using Photoshop or a similar image processing application. Those with iPhones or iPads can also use Lumi’s own App, Lumityper, to generate suitable negatives. Then you print the negative onto a sheet of transparent film.
Apply the Inkodye to a flattened plain T-shirt or other fabric, then lay the sheet of film on the top and expose it to sunlight for 10-15 minutes. The dye will have ‘fixed’, but only in the areas exposed to sunlight through the negative. Remove the film, put the fabric straight in the washing machine with a special dye detergent to remove the dye where it has not fixed, job done.
Of course, stencils, shapes, hand painted film and other means of blocking out the sunlight in various patterns can also be used to create different results. Watch the process and check out some samples at www.lumi.co and www.everydayashirt.tumblr.com.
Inkodye, suitable inkjet film and dye detergent supplies are available through www.firstcall-photographic.co.uk.