A few years ago, when I was still married, I purchased this product that was briefly on sale at most of the arts and crafts big box retailers for about a year until it was discontinued. (The Lumi company itself is still in business but anyone who wants to purchase something from its Inkodye line can only do so online.) I didn’t do anything with that kit at the time because I was dealing with hip problems at the time followed by my husband’s sudden walkout and all of the physical, emotional, and financial fallout from those two catastrophic events.

A few months ago, while I was doing a little bit of decluttering, I found the Lumi Inkodye kit that I originally purchased from one of the arts and crafts big box retailers a few years earlier.

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I decided that it would be a shame to not do anything with it after buying it so I decided to give it a try. I figured that if it worked really well for me, I could continue to purchase more Lumi Inkodyne products online.

The kit came with a packet of special detergent, a blank pencil case, an acrylic overlay, and two small dye packets—one in orange and the other in magenta. The pencil case itself is light on one side and dark on the other, which indicates that only one side of the pencil case should be worked on.

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The instructions had this bonus tip towards the end that said:

Love to draw? Try drawing on transparency film with an opaque black paint marker or fresh dry erase marker to block the sun and transfer your illustrations onto fabric.

That tip seemed to speak personally to me. So I dug up an old black Sharpie marker and purchased some transparency film a local arts and crafts supply store. I had an idea of using the orange dye packet to create a fox pencil case. I found a fox photo on the Internet that I traced over on the transparency film. Then I opened the orange packet and smeared half of the packet on the pencil case while putting the other packet half in a ziplock plastic sandwich bag to keep for another project. Then I placed the transparency film with my fox drawing and put everything outside where the sun did its thing for a half an hour.

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Afterwards I washed it using half of the enclosed packet of special detergent. (The instructions said to wash one load with the special detergent followed by another load using regular detergent.) I put the other half of the opened packet in a ziplock sandwich bag for use in another project. I began to eagerly look forward to seeing my fox image appear like magic. (Yeah, I know that it’s really science and not magic.)

Except the image never appeared on the canvas. In fact, it looked like an orange tye-dye pencil case that one could’ve found in a circa-late 1960’s hippie art supply shop. The result wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t what I had in mind. I later decided to paint a fox head on the pencil case using brown, black, and white acrylic paint while having the funky orange show through. I have to admit that I liked the result much better.

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It was a bit of a letdown that the process didn’t work quite like what I had in mind. I read online that Inkodyne can be used on a t-shirt as an alternative to tye-dye. I had one packet of magenta dye and a half a packet of orange dye left so I decided to try the tye-dye idea. I purchased a blank white t-shirt from a local arts and crafts supply store, gathered a bunch of rubber bands of various sizes, and proceeded to tie the shirt like I would with a conventional tye-dye project. Then I smeared both packets around the t-shirt until I used both of them up. I placed the shirt on some wax paper and put it outside in direct sunlight. I left it outside for 30 minutes then I flipped it over on the other side so it could get its share of sunshine for another 30 minutes.

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The big snag is that the leftover special detergent did something really funky with the ziplock plastic sandwich bag where it fused both halves together so it looked like it was some kind of an experimental abstract art piece. I literally could not open the bag at all. I decided to wash it once using regular detergent then wash it again using plain water. I found that the Inkodye process wasn’t really affected at all despite not using that special detergent. (Of course it helped that I wasn’t trying to aim for a specific design.)

But then I looked at the result and I found that I really didn’t need to use the rubber bands at all because I didn’t have enough Inkodyne packets to completely cover the t-shirt with dye. I also found that while the sleeves and back of the shirt were adequately covered with colored splotches, the front of the shirt looked relatively plain by comparison. I fixed it by making an emergency run to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts and purchasing a Tulip beaded t-shirt transfer. Using my iron I managed to successfully have something for the front of the shirt that matched the colored splotches.

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Here’s the front of the shirt.

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And here’s the back of the shirt.

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The bottom line is that Inkodyne is fine if you want to do an abstract kind of project (such as what I did on that t-shirt) but if you want to do something that’s more concrete, you may need to look at alternatives since Inkodyne may not live up to your expectations. I suspect there’s a reason why a lot of the big box arts and crafts retailers opted to stop carrying Lumi Inkodyne products after one year.

I’ll end this post with a couple of selfies of me modeling this t-shirt.

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