Today I’m going to share with you an awesome (and easy!) herringbone-patterned shirt I made with Lumi’s Inkodye.
What is Inkodye? It is photo-cured dye, a dye that develops in sunlight. This means you can use large negatives to develop awesome printed pictures, or you can make shadow prints using opaque objects. The biggest advantage of Inkodye to me, though, is the fact that, until it is hit by sunlight, it can be washed off. That means you can make a mistake, and if you haven’t exposed the dye yet, your piece isn’t ruined. Try that with a standard dye!
It can be used to dye natural materials: cotton, linen, or silk. For this project, I chose a standard Target longsleeve tee, 60% cotton/40% polyester. I washed and dried the shirt in order to preshrink it… then I just had to wait for Cleveland to give me a sunny day.
The color used in this tutorial is Yellow Green. Lumi no longer sells Yellow Green, but they now sell Inkodye in Blue, Orange, and Red. The orange looks amazing.
For my negative, I wanted to use something that wouldn’t blow away on a sunny but windy day. So I chose to make a herringbone pattern out of masking tape!
I did not measure, but placed the tape as evenly as I could. I wanted the finished pattern to have a not-quite-perfect, hand-painted look.
Once I was done taping, I slid a piece of cardboard (an empty cereal box) inside the shirt to add stiffness and prevent the dye from bleeding through. Then I moved to a room with only one window, closed the blinds, and applied the Inkodye using a paintbrush. It is slightly goopy, not at all runny like many dyes can be. This quality makes it easy to apply with a paintbrush, a foam brush, or possibly even a squeegee for a screenprinting attempt.
Having applied the Inkodye, I carefully carried the shirt outside into the sun, and set my timer for 10 minutes!
I watched the color slowly deepen, and when the timer was up, I could definitely see a change in the dye’s shade. So I carried my shirt inside.
I returned to the dark room and carefully removed the tape from the shirt. I then handwashed the shirt in my sink, using standard laundry detergent (free & clear).
After handwashing, and pretty sure I had removed most of the excess dye goo, I stuck the shirt in the washing machine by itself, again with regular detergent.
The shirt lightened considerably after its real washing, most likely due to the polyester in my shirt fabric. I quite like the subtlety of the pattern, so I wasn’t disappointed, but it is something to keep in mind for future projects. After wearing it for a full day in the sun and washing it normally, it now has the aqua color shown in my awkward modeled shots.
I’m guessing the change in dye color upon first wearing is due to the polyester content of my chosen fabric, but it should be noted that the dye may be slightly unpredictable (as many dyes are). Perhaps the uncertainty of the mixture is what caused Lumi to stick to their base colors of Red, Orange, and Blue. But also worth noting is the fact that it hasn’t changed color further after that first wear – I’ve worn and washed this shirt plenty of times now and it’s still the same aqua-green.
Regardless, this is one of the easiest dyes I’ve worked with, and I feel it has lots of potential.
Hurray, Inkodye, for a quick and easy little project, and a very cute shirt!
And finally, to answer the most important question: yes, my necklace is a pretzel clown.
My Mama gave it to me recently. It was hers when she was younger, and when she gave it to me she said, “I’m giving this to you because I think you will actually wear it.” Actually wear it?! It’s the greatest pretzel clown ever! I wear it all the time.
(Lumi provided me with the Inkodye for this project at no cost. I was not further compensated for this review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own – I really do think it’s super cool stuff.)