Naturally Print Your T-shirt Using the Lumi Process

by Heather Abbott on July 18, 2012

Lumi App

Lumi, a Los Angeles based photographic studio and group, has introduced a new technology that enables artists to use natural sunlight to print on t-shirts. Jesse, head of the Lumi project, has been dreaming of and developing this project since her childhood. The Lumi process is incredibly simple:

  1. use the Lumi iPhone app to take your images,
  2. use a USB drive to upload your images into something as user-friendly as a FedEx Kinkos kiosk or other copier
  3. print the image onto a transparent film so you have a high-density negative
  4. coat your apparel or accessory with dye in the place you’ll be exposing your image
  5. place your transparent negative on top of the dyed area
  6. place the project outdoors in the sun
Pumi Print

The sun-printing process only takes about ten minutes and is permanent. All you have to do afterward is wash the garment with the Lumi detergent to remove any remaining dye. This process could really benefit indie brands in sunny climates. I can imagine a brand taking their original photography, up-cycling garments, and printing a special – not to mention eco-friendly – series with the Lumi products.

Lumi has a Kickstarter project that will end on Monday, July 30, 2012. Make sure you visit their site and contribute to their innovative project. There, you can also learn in detail about the full Lumi kit and the Lumi Starter Kits they look to release in the near future.

  • Umang

    This is probably an old process that has been around before the black and white photographic process was invented. The first process known was Cyanotype and produces a cyan-blue print. It is also made of cyanide. The next are the vandyke brown and palladium process’. They all use the sun to expose the image but there are chemicals involved, so not sure how green this really is?

  • Stephan

    The process is based on vat dyes, the same family of dyes used in service uniforms and military uniforms.

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