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Lumi's Inkodye Lets You Print With The Sun

Who hasn’t always wanted to do their own screen printing? Now, instead of ordering silkscreens, inks, emulsions, etc., there’s a cheaper, simpler, DIY way to do it—a printing process using sunlight to reveal images on natural materials. It’s the Lumi Process, and apparently it’s way addictive. Isn’t the future great?!

Lumi.co, a design duo from Los Angeles (where else?), developed Inkodye for “sun printing” after five long years of researching printing processes. The result is a light-sensitive ink that fixes on fibers when exposed to the sun.

With some Inkodye, a printer, and some good ’ol UV rays, you can produce high quality prints on relatively any fibrous surface. Even without a computer you can take advantage of the process, using various opaque materials to compose graphic images or patterns. Tutorials on Lumi’s blog show a couple inventive ideas, like using lacy fabric to print a pattern on a lampshade, or wooden tangram to make an abstract design on a sweater.

All this is done by painting the surface with the Inkodye, laying your print or pattern on top, then putting the piece outside and under direct sunlight for between five and fifteen minutes. After a little soap and water to “fix” the design, your exclusive, totally did-it-yourself print is ready to rock. Each 118ml vat of Inkodye costs US$12, and comes, so far, in orange, red, and blue. They deliver worldwide, and you can buy it here.

For the past few years, Lumi have been creating bags, pillows, and dresses, and now there’s a furniture collection created using the Lumi process. On the duo’s Facebook page you can follow the amateurs and designers putting it to work. A recent post speaks of a Lumi installation, opening soon.

While we wait and see which creators might take full advantage of the Lumi Process, we’re very excited with its capabilities. In Brazil, for example, there’s a lot of sun to deal with, and ample room to come up with large-scale printing possibilities. Imagine yourself spreading a sheet printed with Inkodye on the beach and covering it with… well, we’ll let you fill in the blanks.

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