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Lumi lets you print on fabric using sunlight


We’re going to make a confession now. Ready? We love At first it seemed to be just some weird hipster crowdsourcing thing, but then we realized that a lot of amazing creativity is flowing through those doors, and that we needed to pay attention. So now we do, and if something stands out as a superb example of technology we feature it.

Lumi is a Kickstarter veteran. The tiny company first raised a few thousand dollars back in 2008 to fund research on their interesting light printing tech. And my how they’ve grown. They have just returned to the crowd and raised over $260,000 for their fully commercialized product, and what a great product it is.


They now sell a clever printing kit which contains everything you need to transfer images from photos to just about any kind of natural fabric. Unlike traditional transfer technology, their system requires no heat, high pressure transfer or decals, but instead you simply paint an inert dye called Inkodye onto your fabric, clamp a photo negative to the area and expose the whole thing to sunlight for 15 minutes to an hour (depending on the quality of the light).

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The result is a permanent, color fast, machine washable representation of the photo embedded into the fabric, all done via photo-transference. They call this process Lumityping and it’s clear that there’s potential for this way beyond just plonking your sister’s photo onto a T-Shirt. The team has already demonstrated it working on leather, cotton, silk and other natural fabrics, and they’re planning to use the new funding to develop new colors and techniques to expand the range.


The Lumi Printing Kit is $70 and includes A3 transparent film to create negatives, the dye and detergent to remove residues. There’s also a free iPhone app (soon Android too) available to help create a photo negative from anything you shoot. A lovely product, and the team seem really nice too, so check them out.

1 Comment

  • This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. I can only imagine what it took to come up with this. Some really cool stuff does indeed come from Kickstarter.

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