Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lummi Photo Printing Kit, Review and Tips

This week I want to introduce you to a specific product; the Lummi Photo Printing Kit.
I rarely do a product review, but this one is different. I believe it could be a valuable asset to anyone thinking about making souvenirs or promotional material for their products, to commemorate a special occasion, or just to have fun for creating their own crafts.
In full disclosure I have not, nor will I get any money or endorsement from this company. I bought this product, so I could make colorful shirts and hats to help promote the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival and to produce tee-shirts to sell when I am wrestling. NOTE: Most independent wrestlers like me, do not get paid a lot of money to wrestle; in fact, we barely make gas money to get to those matches. Selling products such as tee-shirts is one way for us to recoup the cost it takes for our sport.  In the future if my book gets republished I may also use this product for promotional material.
This will be a quick review of this product. Understand that this is the first time I am using this product, and with any craft merchandise, practice makes perfect. This will not be a semi step by step “How-to” description, but a combination of that and tips and a review.
The Lumi Photo Printing Kit allows you, by use of photo sensitive dyes, to make a picture print on a tee-shirt or other cloth (you could use pillow cases or even canvas). For those of you that have done screen-printing, this is similar. However, instead of ink being pushed through a stencil, it uses a light-sensitive dye to make the print. The product goes for around $35.00 (US), the price will vary from store to store, replacement dyes and materials can be purchased separately.
The following are steps for using the Lumi Photo Printing Kit:
Step 1-Pick your picture.  I had noticed that using a photo with a bright area, either the picture, or as a background increases the intensity of the finished product. The photo I choose is one of the logos for the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival (SSIFF).
Step 2- Create your negative. The best way to describe this product is that you are developing a photo on paper; and like old photographs, you will need to have a negative (Yes kids, there was a time photos were not taken by your phone). You need to turn your photo into a black and white image using one of your computer programs, or go to the Lumi site and use their app.

Step 3-Prinitng the negative. The kit comes with the paper, and you will need to print two copies (there is a front and back side of this paper so read the instructions). Once printed, you will need to stack them together, because this will give the best results. Print settings are vital in this step. The setting should be set at high quality or photo quality; you want as much ink on the paper as possible. The paper type should also be set on “Transparency paper” if you do not have this, use “Photo Paper”.  After printing, stack the papers together, this ensures a darker negative.

Step 4- Preparation. This is a vital series of steps. You will need to make sure you have some push pins, paper towels or rags and tape (preferably masking or painter’s tape). You will need a Brush or the Inkodye packet, a piece of thick cardboard or Inkodye project board (depending on which Inkodye product you are using).  Take the board and place it underneath the cloth, this will prevent the inkodye from leaking through to the other side.
Using the negative as measurement, tape of the area on the shirt or cloth you are going to use.  Make sure this area is slightly smaller than your print, for you are going to pin it down upon the cloth.  I would also lay a cloth, or more tape around the other parts of the shirt. If you accidently get some of the Inkodye product on that part, it too will be exposed and colored.


Step 5- Making your print. With everything in place, you can now start to create your masterpiece.
A. Shake the bottle of Lumi inkodye, or your Inkodye Packet (the kit includes several colors). Put some dye in a container; or in case of the packet, snap it in two to release the dye. Put the dye on the inside area you had tapped off on your cloth.
B. Apply the dye to the cloth. You can use the side of the inkodye packet to spread the ink over the area, or a brush to apply it.
TIP:  Have some extra pieces of tape handy.  If you do by chance get some dye on areas you do not want, quickly tape over them. This will keep the area from being exposed, and then it will be washed off before it can develop in Step 6 below.
C. YOU NEED TO BLOT THE AREA, to remove excess inkodye. This is important. Make sure the cloth is damp, but not wet to the touch.  If there is too much of the product on the cloth, it may be blotchy.
D. Place your negative on the cloth. Make sure it is covering the area properly, and pin it down to the board below it. This will make sure it does not move during the exposure process.

E. Exposure. I can imagine if you have a setup with its own type of proper light (UV) you could do this inside; otherwise, if you are like me, you need to use the sun.  This step is very important, for on a sunny day it takes less time than when it is cloudy. Also remember summer has more direct sunlight overhead (for those of us in the Northern Hampshire) than in the fall or winter. You also do not want to skip the last few moments of the exposure, make sure you do through the entire process.
F. Once the time in the sun is completed, carefully remove your negative. Gently wipe off any of the inkodye which is on this negative, and you can use this negative over and over again.
Step 6- Stop the process.  For those you who might be as old as I am, and was a photographer who developed their own photos, you know the chemical process must be stopped.  To do this the cloth must be washed. The kit includes a special detergent for this.  Use the HOT/COLD setting on your washing machine.
TIP: if you are planning on doing several shirts at once, I would start your washer, and then add your cloth. Let it go through some of the cycle, then open the washing machine door (or pull the knob), to stop it.  Keep the cloth soaking in the water; add another cloth and repeat the step until you have finished all your projects.  You will need to wash these items twice to ensure the exposure chemicals are completely removed.

You are now done. The results are very unique looking and with some practice your finished product will look like a professional did it. As with any product I would check out the web to locate tips and suggestions about using this product.

Another variation from above is to invert the colors. This is having the surrounding area as color and your picture blank, showing the color of the shirt underneath.
This is me, and I know many people who have mastered this product might disagree, but plain old white tee-shirts seem to work the best. I tried using different colored shirts with different colors, and the result was not as good as the white. Using colored shirts might mean you need more experience using this product.
I tried doing tee-shirts before; trying to master the skill of screen printing or using the typical iron on transfers, my results were either less than satisfactory, or I had made a mess. Lummi Photo Printing Kit delivers what it promises; they give you the ability to create some excellent results with little knowledge or practice. I will be using this product more in the future, and will keep you updated on this blog when I do. This company also offers other great products, check them out on their website.

Next Week:  Back to the fair, I visit the Market of the Moons Renaissance Fair.

 W.A. Rusho is a professional wrestler, historian, and author of the novel “Legend of the Mystic Knights”. The previous publisher of this novel is no longer in business, and so he is actively seeking a literary agent or publisher. If you wish to contact him, email him, or visit his website.


  1. Thanks for the review. I've always wanted to try a photo printing kit like this for shirt (mainly for literary quotes). I know I will give it a try sooner or later.

  2. This seems like a really useful product and for a very, very modest price. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  3. What a great idea William! I've created promotional products in the past and the biggest challenge has always been finding a source where I could create custom products in small quantities. This would definitely eliminate that issue. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing this review. This can also be great for kids party favors. We used the iron-on image for one of my kids parties and it was a huge success. But, I like the idea of printing instead. It looks much better.

  5. Fun...I'm sure the festival folks will like them and appreciate the work you did on them. Like the hint about white being the best one.

  6. Thx very much for introducing us to this printing kit, William. It looks easy enough that even I could handle it!

  7. Great review! I really like the idea and would like to try once :)

  8. The Lummi Photo Printing Kit might be something that my husband wants to check out. He has a comic book and he did get some shirts printed up promoting the book. Thanks for the detailed steps. I'll pass this along to him.