Ever since 15-year-old me fell for Warhol's Silver Factory, I've loved screen printing — or at least the idea of it. Despite my desire to embody Andy's cool, I didn't get to try my hand in the process until I was a freshman in college. Quite a long wait, but a logical one. How many teenagers have resources or willpower to create a darkroom environment, deal with emulsion, printing film, power washing screens and all the other joys that come along with the process?
In my first post-college apartment, I was determined to build my own screen-printing setup. It took time, power tools, and a whole lot of covering cracks of light in basement storage room with duct tape, but I did it (thanks, Dad!) Still, the process was tedious, not to mention pricey, especially for the small runs I planned for most projects. Although some claim to have luck with craft store screen-printing machines, the investment has never seemed worth the risk. I feel as though I've heard nothing but negative things about them from people who create their own set-up. Two different apartments and no dark room later and I still haven't figured it out.
Enter Inkodye. Lumi's Photo Printing kit utilizes Inkodye, film and the sun to create images not unlike the the cyanotype kit I had as a kid (thanks, Mom!) If you weren't lucky enough to have one of those kits as a child, I'll brief you on the process: Get the sun-sensitive paper wet, create a design using objects or film, secure with plexiglass so the objects don't blow away, and set it in the sun.
The process of printing a t-shirt using Lumi's products is a touch more complicated than that, but worlds away from the complexity of screen-printing — especially if you want to create a very small number of prints. The set-up cost is also comparatively minimal, and you're likely to own a lot of the supplies already.