Troubleshooting

Inkodye becomes permanent once it is activated by light. If you've spilled Inkodye on clothing it is important to act quickly and wash the garment before Inkodye's color develops. For spills on carpets and furniture, soak up the dye with paper towels then scrub the rest using soap and water. Inkodye can safely be diluted with water and poured down the drain.

For stains on skin and hands we recommend Reduran Hand Cleaner or pumice soap. If a stain has been exposed to sunlight it is unlikely to come out easily. There is not much left to do but scrub with hot soapy water to try and remove as much of it as possible.

CAUTION: Do not use bleach to clean Inkodye. Inkodye is resistant to bleach and contains ammonia that can react with bleach to create toxic fumes. Learn more about Inkodye safety.

  • Make sure to vigorously shake Inkodye for at least 10 seconds before each use.
  • For best results use direct sunlight between 11AM and 3PM. Inkodye typically develops in 10–30 minutes but it may take longer in cloudy weather. Expose until color reaches desired saturation.
  • Note that glass and acrylic partially block UV light which slows down the development of Inkodye.

If you have a good negative it is difficult to overexpose Inkodye. It is better to err on the side of exposing your print for a longer time than avoiding overexposure. If you are noticing that the light areas of your prints are over-developing or that your print does not seem to have good contrast, you probably have a negative that is not opaque enough. Try printing two negatives and stacking them.

Slight tinting of the fabric can occur, especially with some of the darker Inkodye colors. The basic issue is that the fabric "holds on" to small amounts of residual dye, which continue to develop later on. 

If you are looking to print logos, we recommend using the new tools at lumi.com, see our FAQ about printing logos. To minimize background tinting, these tips may improve your results:

  • For best results we recommend washing your print twice with Inkowash right after it is done exposing. Use the hot wash and cold rinse cycle if possible.
  • Ensure that your negative is opaque enough to fully block the light areas of your print. Learn more about making darker negatives.
  • Before washing, quickly rinse your fabric in a sink to remove as much of the liquid dye still sitting on the surface. This ensures there isn't as much dye floating in the wash.
  • Depending on where you live, the quality of your water can have a major effect on the washing process. Minerals in hard water can inhibit detergents. To solve this issue you can use a chemical water softener such as borax. Depending on how much fabric you are washing you may consider washing with distilled water.
  • Consider pre-washing your fabric with Inkowash. This will help remove dirt and other impurities that can make it harder for unexposed Inkodye molecules to break free after printing.
  • Certain fabrics, especially thicker ones tend to "hold" the dye more than others, consider trying different materials.

CAUTION: Do not use bleach to clean Inkodye. Inkodye is resistant to bleach and contains ammonia that can react with bleach to create toxic fumes. Learn more about Inkodye safety.

  • Improve the contact between your fabric and the object (or negative) you are using to block light. It is possible that your object (or negative) is lifting off of the fabric. Smooth out your negative before pinning it or try using a thin sheet of glass or acrylic to hold it down. For shadow prints you can also flatten leaves, flowers and other objects in a book to help improve contact.
  • 3-dimensional objects can cause undesirable soft/fuzzy edges around your shadow print. For best results, use flat, thin objects. It also helps to print at noon when the sun is directly overhead and rotate your print during exposure to ensure that light reaches all around the edges of your object.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but more dye does not always make your print darker. If your material is too wet condensation may develop under your negative and reduce the quality of the finished print. If your prints are turning out speckled or mottled it is most likely due to excess moisture. Once you've coated your material, blot out the excess dye with a paper towel to prevent this effect. 

When printing Inkofilm negatives at home, we recommend setting your printer to "High quality" or "Photo quality" and maximum ink usage. You can also layer two negatives for higher contrast Inkodye prints, or if your printer outputs less ink. Check the opacity of your negatives by holding them up to sunlight and making sure the black areas are as opaque as possible.

Negatives ordered through the  Lumi App are printed with high-density inks which provide high contrast prints. They are available in 12x12 inch format which may be more effective for your application.

If you are looking to further improve your printed negatives, we recommend investigating after-market kits used by screen-printers for making "inkjet positives". We recommend  Ryonet's BlackMAX products.