Inkodye Dos and Don'ts

When I first heard about Inkodye I knew I had to try it. It's a dye that develops when it is exposed to sunlight the results look so neat!! I was determined to become a pro but so far, I've managed to graduate  from C squad to JV.

This is my most recent attempt. It's still not perfect but I'm getting better and still learning. I'm sharing the dos and don'ts that I've discovered thus far so you can learn from my mistakes!

  • Start with a simple design. Consider coins as your first silhouette - they are heavy and flat so they won't curl or cast shadows. 
  • Mix in a little bit of water with the dye to make it easier to spread. 
  • Use a sponge brush for application. 
  • Paint your fabric in a room without direct sunlight to avoid prematurely exposing the color. 
  • When exposing the dye, try placing the piece in indirect or filtered sunlight (cloudy days work well). I found that direct sunlight cast shadows and left blurry edges. 
  • When the exposure is complete, wash the fabric like crazy in a room without direct sunlight. If you have any dye left over on the fabric, it will continue to color when exposed to sunlight again. 


  • Don't use items with dimensionality for your silhouette. I tried scissors but since they aren't flat, they cast shadows where I didn't want them and let sunlight in to areas I didn't want exposed. 
  • Don't use colored paper for your silhouette - the dye from the paper will transfer to your fabric. Use white card stock instead. 
  • Don't get impatient and sneak a peek while you're still exposing! If light hits the fabric for just a second it will color. 
  • Don't hang your piece in a sunny place to dry. You'll risk further exposure. 
  • Don't give up! I've probably tried 20 different projects and have only been reasonably happy with the result of 2 of them :). 
Have you tried Inkodye before? I'd love to hear any tips, tricks or project ideas you've thought of! 


Allegory said...

I love the little cats! I think I'm going to try and pick up some after I get back from travelling. I have no idea what silhouette to try, though.

Additionsstyle said...

I have never tried this, but it looks interesting. I like this post, it's nice to know what works and what doesn't.
Everyday Inspired

Zakka Life said...

Great tips! I'll have to bookmark this for when I get a chance to test out the dye.

Duni said...

I LOVE the cat motif!
I haven't heard of this dye before. Thanks for sharing the do's and don'ts :)

Lukas K. said...

Looks pretty amazing!

Anonymous said...

Well I think it looks adorable! LOVE it! Are you planning on making anything out of it?

Heather Hands said...

Wow, I have never heard of this before. Do you know how the dye develops in sunlight?


susie said...

I just got my Kickstarter bundle from Lumi and am about to start. I also live in Seattle and wonder if you tried exposing on cloudy days? Any thoughts on that? If I do it, I'll come back and report!!

Leslie Andersen said...

This is a cool way to print a piece of custom fabric--yours looks great! Thanks for sharing your do's and don'ts.

Jacob said...

Awesome stuff. I'm experimenting using it with film negatives.

Nelly's Treasures said...

could you use a lamp directly over the top so not to cast big shadows? hmm this is very cool tho, i'm intriguied by the process :)