The other day, I tried two types of UV-sensitive dyes…

Lumi’s Inkodyes (pictured above, left) and Jacquard Products’ SolarFast (pictured above, right).

These dyes start to develop and become permanent when exposed to UV-light.

All you really need for a basic project is one of these dyes, a paint brush, a piece of fabric (or paper), and something to create shadows (if you want a pattern).

I would also suggest a piece of cardboard to slide in between layers to prevent dye from leaking though (for pillow cases, t-shirts, ect.). I skipped that and now have splotches of dye on the back of my pillow case.

You can use anything for the pattern from clothes pins to scissors to flowers…

For this project,  I used ferns.


Pictured in front of the two dyes above is a roller designed to screw onto the bottles and roll the dye directly from the bottle onto your material. This is not needed! I actually found it much easier to work with a paint brush.

I used two colors… plum in the InkoDye (above, right) and teal in the Solar Fast (above, left).


All you do is paint the dye onto the fabric (do this inside in a well ventilated area, if possible, or work fast… the dye will start developing quickly in the sun) and lay your items onto the fabric.

I would suggest also trying to dab your fabric with a paper towel to get any extra dye off… I did not do this for my first project and ended up with some weird blotches.

The InkoDye (looks reddish in the above picture) developed much faster than the SolarFast Dye (the brownish color).

Tip: I think it was the InkoDye that smelled strongly of ammonia. One of them (or both) smelled really strong and that was while working in an open area outside. If you work inside before putting it in the sun… it MUST be in a well ventilated area.

After letting your project sit outside in the sun, or under a UV light, for about 20 minutes (I let mine sit out for about 30 minutes), take it inside and remove the objects.


This is not the best photo… but this is what it looked like after I hand-washed it.

What you are going to want to do after taking your project out of the sun is wash it using InkoWash or SolarFast Wash. This removes any undeveloped dye from your project, making the contrast of the design easier to see.

I would suggest using the washing machine instructions on the bottle. I tried washing it by hand and it didn’t seem to work as well. Wash your project in the washing machine with 2-3 cap fulls of the detergent and then run it through the dryer.

Then you are finished! You now have a one of a kind item!


Tip: I would be careful washing it with other items of clothing. The box said that after two washes, it should be fine but I haven’t tested this out yet.

For more information, check out these sites:

Interested in buying some? Look into coupons or sales! This dye can be a bit expensive but is a ton of fun to experiment with!