How to Print Inkodye with UV Light

How to Print Inkodye with UV Light

Bud Bennett

At Lumi HQ we're always ready to print Inkodye, even without sunlight. Maybe it's a cloudy day, maybe it's a late-night project... perhaps you live in Alaska? Follow these tips and you'll be able to print 24/7, 365 days a year.

Always be sure to follow the safety instructions included with electric UV lights. Don't leave your prints unattended!


Inkodye ↗
Inkowash ↗
Negative ↗
Fabric or garment
Black light or UV exposure unit
Project board
Straight pins
Purchase a UV light

1. Purchase a UV light

Instead of the sun, we will be using a strong UV light to develop Inkodye. There are a number of different tools that will do the job, from black lights to UV exposure units. 

In this guide we will be using the Eliminator EBK400. It's available on Amazon for about $170. Similar blacklight units are often available from event rental shops if you only need it temporarily.

Alternatively there are a number of entry-level UV exposure units used for screen-printing that also work well. A great source for these is Ryonet's Silkscreening Supplies. We recommend models with at least 6 fluorescent tube bulbs.

Prepare work station

2. Prepare work station

Set up your work area, away from any flammable materials like plastic or paper. The ideal distance between the UV bulb(s) and your print is about 4-8 inches (10-20cm). We used wood blocks to prop up our light box.

Protect your eyes (everyone needs a pair of welding goggles), and get the light warmed up. Follow safety instructions and keep your hands away from the bulbs and metallic parts of your device.

Apply Inkodye

3. Apply Inkodye

Use the standard Inkodye Photo Printing instructions to apply and blot Inkodye. Do this away from your UV light to avoid exposing the dye prematurely.

Pin your negative

4. Pin your negative

Pin your negative. Make sure the blacks are really opaque. If you're not getting good contrast double up your Inkofilm negatives or try ordering one from the Lumi App.

Expose to UV Expose to UV

5. Expose to UV

Place your project beneath the light.

Our print took 8 minutes to develop, but timing will depend on strength and height of the light. Be sure to rotate the print halfway through developing to ensure evenly developed color.

Note: Take care not to let the light burn your project. Heat from big lights can damage fabric or negatives.

That's it!

6. That's it!

Remove the pins and peel back your negative. Hello Mr. Owl! All that's left to do is thoroughly wash your print according to the standard Photo Printing instructions.