Inkodye- Experimenting with Sun Printing

I bought some Inkodye about four years ago, and had a go then.  It’s a dye that reacts to sunlight or UV, and I was living in a shared house without a garden.  It meant doing this project in my bedroom next to the window and it didn’t really work.

It’s fairly easy to play with.  You do need to plan it a bit first though.  The most obvious idea is shadow printing.  You paint the dye onto the fabric in a thin even coat.  Then quickly place items with clear silhouettes on top.  Leave in bright sunlight for about 20mins.  It was really windy when I was out, so I had to weigh my fabric down with coins!  You don’t have long before the dye starts to react, so I arranged my items in advance to make sure I could put them on quickly after painting my dye.  You can see in the pictures above how the dye started to change colour in just a few minutes.  You can also see how I splatted the Inkodye over the table I was using!  I also got it on some of the plants in the garden.  Be careful not to get it on your clothes, I think you would struggle to wash it out.   

I used pieces of card cut into hearts, a key, safety pins, horse shaped paper clips, scissors, buttons, and film negatives.  The best results came from the heavier items that lay flatter on the fabric like the key and scissors.  The card hearts would have worked better but I used a spray bottle for the dye on that piece instead of painting it and that made it all splodgy!  The negatives did nothing!  They were too dark and entirely blocked the light.  What you can do it print an inverted image of a photograph onto a piece of acetate or the ‘Transparency Sheets’ that Inkodye sell.

Afterwards I carefully transferred the pieces of fabric onto a tray to bring them inside.  The dye is still light sensitive, so once you remove the items onto the white bits underneath with start to react and change colour.  I put them all into the washing machine as quickly as possible, with the special Inkodye Detergent.  My washing machine refused to obey my command immediately, and they were waiting inside for a few minutes before I set it going.  In that time I lost the definition of the safety pins and horse shaped paper clips.  It was fun to play around but I don’t think I am quite ready to attack another piece of real clothing.

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