Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Inko dye - part 1

In a previous life I worked in the photographic industry, in one of the largest professional photographic labs here in New Zealand. So it's no surprise that I have a bit of a fascination with photographic processes, it's a bit like magic really!

I loved the idea of doing some "sun prints" ever since I heard about the Cyanotype process, around twenty years ago when I was at school, it's taken me a while to get around to doing it. I'd been put off by the chemical process a bit. Then I discovered Inko dye by Lumi which gives you the ability to print on fabric and wood with the power of the sun, with out all that fiddling around. 

You coat your fabric with the dye in a darkened room, it doesn't have to be completely dark, just away from direct sunlight. Then lay a "resist" on the top (the options are pretty endless there!) in this case I've used a plastic lace table runner (what use as a resist will get coated with the dye, so don't use a heirloom piece of lace that your granny made!) . Then pop it out in the sun. It changes very quickly right before your eyes! Magic I tell you. I left it out for around 20 minutes to give the dye a chance to fully develop, it was a really bright day.

You can see above some "soft" areas in the printed design, that is where the plastic lace wasn't sitting flat. This was my first print! But I didn't quite wash all the dye out and when I hung it out to dry it developed a bit more and went a lighter blue, but I'm still really pleased with my first attempt.

Inko dye is really concentrated so I also had a go at doing a diluted print too (that's it above). I did a wee bit of hand stitching to outline some parts of the design.

I turned my second attempt into two zip purses, one as a Christmas gift for a friend. I'm popping in a few crochet hooks and some hand spun yarn.

The same print, the top one is the reverse side of the printed fabric

The people at Lumi have just released six new colours of Inko dye! (it previously came in just three colours). I've been collecting up a few different things that I want to print with I've got lots of experimenting ahead. My first attempts were on a natural linen, I'm keen to try out the dye on some bright white cotton. Watch this space!

I'm planning a post too on the mistakes I've made, things not to do things I've learned! Just in case you want to try it out too.


  1. Oooooh this looks like fun!! xx

  2. I've been watching this on instagram with alot of interest! These look great and oh my the ideas are endless!
    Love how they look turned into purses :))

  3. I am so fascinated by this whole process Louana - I would love to learn more about it. I think what you have made just looks fantastic !!!! Especially love the little zip purses & the way you have embellished them. I must read more about this as I had never even heard of it before :-)

  4. They're so pretty- I'd be chuffed to get one of those for xmas : )

  5. What fun!! I'm so intrigued. It looks so beautiful with the lace you've chosen too. Off to check it out :)


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