Science just sort of blows me away sometimes. How is it that the sun can print on fabric?! But it's true!
While you can find the Lumi Photo Printing Kit just about ANYWHERE, I found it cheapest through Blick, which is an art supply store that we have in Chicago. But they are also online. Not sure if they are anywhere else in the country.
Lumi photo printing kit
white cotton fabric (smooth works best as opposed to textured fabric)
8" x 10" canvas
access to a washing machine-staple gun-glass from a picture frame bigger than 8" x 10" (optional)
Scroll through the millions of pictures you have on your computer for THE PERFECT PHOTO. Once you have it, change the settings of the photo so that it is:
Black and white
Inverse (blacks become white and whites become black)
Print the image out TWICE onto the two separate transparency sheets that come in the kit. You need to stack them on top of each other--doubling the image back to back. Tape together so they don't separate.
Use tape to outline an 8" x 10" area on your fabric, pinning the fabric to the thick foam core board that comes in the kit.
In a ventilated (yet almost dark room), break the dye packet in half, squeeze the ink onto the fabric, and use the folded ink packet to spread the dye onto your fabric (just stay within your taped border). As you can see in the photo, this method shows the brushstrokes around your photo, so spread the dye in a manner that you'll want to show up later. Place the doubled-up transparency on top of the inked fabric (with the ink side of the transparency facing UP).
Place your fabric board out in direct sunlight and allow the ink to be activated by the sun. If you don't use the glass on top, your photo can be done in about 12 minutes on a sunny day and about 30 minutes on a cloudy day, but you'll want to double (or even triple) your exposure time if you use the glass sheet. The best time to do this is during peak sun hours in the afternoon (from around 11-2), but if you miss those times, just leave it out there a little longer. I left mine in the sun during peak hours for 45 minutes. The exposure is done once the dye has reached it's darkest color (so pull it sooner if you want a lighter print).
Once your photo has been exposed to your liking, bring the fabric inside and remove the glass, transparency, and tape from the fabric. Immediately drop it in your washing machine on the hot/cold cycle with one of the detergent packets from the photo kit to wash off the extra dye from the fabric (otherwise your white areas will just keep developing).
You want to wash this twice because, as you see above, the darker image was only washed once. The other was washed twice.
Once your fabric is dried and ironed flat, stretch across a canvas and staple into place. All you have to do next is admire your work and marvel at how science makes it all possible! Be sure to gift these to friends and family as they will love this!
For more crafty projects like this, be sure to click here!