Adventures with Inkodye


Inkodye 1

I've been having some fun playing with Inkodye, a light sensitive fabric dye, which I first heard about via How About Orange. Here's how it works… 



Inkodye 2The only crazy thing about this dye is that it smells just like hair dye. My sweet mother in law gave me a huge bag of keys a while back and I finally found a place to use them! It was fun masking this design with random keys. I kinda want to do a larger piece of fabric for a dress or skirt!  



Inkodye result

I was pretty happy with my first attempt. I tried a couple other objects (doily, clothes pins) that didn't work so well. I think that one of the tricks is that it needs to be a really solid object that masks out all light for the sun exposure. I am going to try a few more experiments, but I'm excited about the possibilities with this dye. I can't wait to use the red bottle! Happy Sunday… Elsie


  • 25日午前10時半ごろ、北海道白老町の白老港から南東約10キロの沖合で、登別市の登別マリンクラブ所属の遊漁船「MIHO7(ミホセブン)」(全長7.3メートル、定員14人)が転覆。乗っていた船長の沢田行雄さん(63)=登別市千歳町=と釣り客4人が海に投げ出されているのを、近くにいた漁船が見つけて4人を救助したが、2人は死亡。1人が行方不明になった。

  • This is so cool! Just been on the site of this product, and i’m in love! Wish you could buy it in Belgium! ;c xxx

  • I seem to remember my grandmother having some thick plastic doilies once upon a time — I bet those would work! Now, where would one go to buy plastic doilies….?

  • We did this in several classes in college. Photo 1, Printmaking and painting.
    Best time is high noon in the summer. Heat of the day = less time the oject has to be on it. We always did HUGE pieces as a group. One of them was shadows……
    Yes, the objects have to be VERY solid, unfortunately doilies and small items where light can seep thru can’t be used!
    Great use! Can’t wait to see more.
    emily, kansas

  • One of the art classes I took used inkodye a couple times.
    It was in my digital photography class. We took pictures, changed them to black and white in photoshop, and then edited them so they were just black and white–not grays. Then we laid the images over the inkodye-covered paper, let them sit in the sun for a bit, rinsed the remaining inkodye off and viola! blue and white images.
    There were some very beautiful images turned-out. I still have mine, actually. 🙂

  • I love your blog and this is one of my favorite techniques…you can buy cyanotype kits to coat fabric and paper, it works out much cheaper and doesn’t smell. Here is how I’ve used it …

  • I do cyanotypes with my class on watercolor paper…this seems similar…neat.

  • Can’t wait to try this! We’ve been thinking about doing something similar with bleach, but this looks far less messy 🙂

  • If it’s like cyanotype then you can hold down the other objects with a piece of glass.

  • I just ordered some of this a few days ago. I found out about it on a site I frequent. The problem is that I now live in Sweden and shipping is a bit expensive. Actually it pretty much doubles the price so I ordered one of the smaller bottles in only the blue color. I’m going to give it a go ad then see if it fits my creative needs. I was googling some info about this and clicked your site. Funny thing is, is that my girlfriend reads you blog a few times a week. Haha good idea with the keys. Good luck with it!

  • How beautiful! That dye sounds amazing i cant wait to try some out.

  • Looks pretty cool. They also have the paper like that where you lay objects on it, put it in the sun for a while, and then rinse to finish. I gave a pack to my cousin for Christmas. Fun!

  • P.S
    could you pretty please do a post about photography and light? your photos just have such a lovely use of light in them!


  • super cute! I love the gradient effect of how it turned out !:)


  • I really like the skirt idea! I’ve found that Martha Stewart’s stencil spray adhesive works well and could be of benefit to the doily idea.

  • gahhh i love that! & it looks pretty simple too. this is for sure being bookmarked to be tried whenever i get through the huge list of diy’s already waiting for me.

  • My students and I made one of these the size of a king sized sheet. Many of us layed on the fabric, one bicycle, lots of plant fibers and such as well. We order from they also sell scarves, shirts, etc. that you can dye as well!

  • I’ve seen this done with paper clips and it came out adorable! What will you use your swatch of key fabric for?

  • Wow, what a great way to create interesting prints for fabric!

    Fang Ting

  • How neat!! I’ve been wanting to make a ditsy print for a skirt, this is perfect!

  • As for the keys, consider making a windchime/ hanging art. I made a mobile (that got crunched in a storm, unfortunately) by hanging keys on fishing line from a colander & the keys were surprisingly tonal! I think an embroidery hoop would work, too.

  • You might try cyanotype treated fabrics. It is the same idea but it doesn’t smell and definitely works with fine objects (lace, etc). You can purchase pre-treated fabrics and papers from this site:

    I helped out at a local community center and used this fabric with some of the kids-it worked great and they loved it!

  • Ooooh! Makes me want to get a white skirt and start printing away on it!

    xoxo, Jjanga

  • When I was a kid it was popular to do the same sort o’thing with light sensitive paper {like Tedco SunArt Paper @}!

    Have you tried using natural objects {like leaves and twigs?} I think that would make a really cool pattern!

  • check out the various prints and clothing using this method-may be some inspiration

  • I have never heard of this dye, but the result seems really pleasant!! i will see if i can buy it online!!

    (New blog needing some love and support:

  • Cute idea! 🙂 Elsie always has the most amazing and fun projects!!! 🙂

    On another note, head on over to my blog for a My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software giveaway! 🙂


  • I’ve never heard of that dye, will have to try it out. I think it would make a cool skirt!


  • I’m wondering how the pattern stays when the garment or item is worn out in the sun after the initial exposure process. Is there a second chemical used to “stop” the process afterward?

    Looking forward to your other experiments with this dye.

  • Looks like cool stuff.

    A jewelry blog.

  • This is really cool! I’ve seen this dye used before for other projects but I like what you did with the keys!

  • I’ve wanted to try this as well! There’s a similar project in Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts. Can’t wait to see what else you create!

  • So cook. I love trying new things. Especially things having to do with dye. So fun. Thanks for sharing. xo, rv

  • Wow, it’s a relly nice idea…it would be great for a white t-shirt!

  • That’s so cool! I’d never heard of that but it sounds really neat, and I love the result! Very unique 🙂


  • This would make really cute fabric for a skirt! I love “How About Orange”‘s version. This dye looks like so much fun!

  • cool! we’ve tried a similiar thing with light sensative paper, but i’ve never tried with fabric…


  • I’ve used old photo negatives with paper like this and it’s turned out really net. The light goes through the negatives and you have a blue and white photo. I don’t know how well it will work with dye, but you could give it a try.
    Nora from

  • Looks fun! I love any sort of printmaking usually. It would be cool to do areas of a shirt like this or something!

  • oh elsie! thanks for another rad DIY tip! I am ordering these the moment I get paid!

  • This is pretty cool, I’d love to give it a go sometime.. I might have to put a weekend aside just to try all of your great craft projects!

  • You might also be able to lay a piece of glass over it to weigh the objects down without blocking any light? Very cool though, I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on some of it.

  • this is REALLY cool! I’ve never heard of it before! I bet you’ll create some really cool pieces using this method! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Very pretty. I love the different sizes of keys and the different looks. Lovely.


  • What about using a temporary spray glue to hold the lighter objects in place while the effect works? I have no idea whether it would be successful, but it might 🙂 Nice to see you experimenting and having fun playing 🙂

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