From The Editor — August 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

Like Instagram, Only Wearable


These days many avid photographers don’t really think about printing their work, content to let it live on their phones, external hard drives, and social networks. But a new textile printing method that lets photographers, designers, and craftspeople print directly onto any natural fiber could change that mindset.

The Lumi Process¬†is the creation of Los Angeles dye manufacturer¬†Lumi. Their chief product is a water-based, environmentally friendly dye called Inkodye, that develops photographic images direclty on fabric with sunlight. “We’re working to bring photogrpahy out of the dark room and into the sun,” says founder Jesse Genet, who’s been at work researching and building a company around the dye for the past eight years.

A short video on Lumi’s site explains how the process works. First, take a photo and print out a negative on transparent film. (Lumi’s new app Lumityper lets iPhone users quickly turn their phone images into black and white negatives.) Then, apply a layer of Inkodye across a natural fabric of your choice, pin the negative to the fabric above the dye, and leave it out in the sun, where the print develops. Finally, wash the print with Lumi’s textile detergent to make sure the image stops developing. The result is a high quality photographic image permanently affixed to a cotton t-shirt or leather bag, without the hassle of screens or expensive equipment.

In July Lumi rounded out its second Kickstarter campaign to give the company the funding it needs to begin production on a $35 kit that includes most of the components of the Lumi Process: three bottles of dye in red, orange, and blue, a stencil, a test negative, and instructions. (Film and detergent cost extra.)

I think I might order this kit and test it out. Sounds like a really cool way to show off your photos, especially those random pretty pictures of trees and clouds that you don’t know what to do with.

You can see more info about the Lumi Process here.

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