Photo-Printed Silk Ribbon




About: We're Lumi, a team based in LA making it easier than ever to order custom made goods. We believe getting things manufactured doesn't have to be hard and we love supporting independent artists and business ow...

Only with Inkodye can you create this incredibly easy and rewarding DIY project! Because Inkodyes are truly photographic you can use them with black & white negatives to create your very own photo printed silk ribbon.

Use your ribbon in your hair, around your waist on a summer dress, on a gift, wrapped or not, or cut it into sections and give them away as adorable bookmarks!

Total tutorial time: 15 minutes

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Step 1: Materials

 Inkodye, foam brush, pins, silk ribbon, b&w negatives and a work surface board

Step 2: Making Your Own Negatives

You can buy a B&W disposable camera and take your own shots! Important Note: High contrast negatives are needed for this project to work so try to overexpose the pics you take! You can also request "push processing" at your local film development lab to ensure higher contrast negatives.

Step 3: Prepare

Cut your ribbon to the size of the negatives you'd like to print

Step 4: Position

Lay your ribbon down onto a board that you'll be able to move out into the sun

Step 5: Pour

Apply your Inkodye straight from the bottle, we recommend not diluting for this project

Step 6: Brush

Using a regular ol' foam brush make sure your Inkodye is evenly applied. A regular paintbrush can also be used, but watch out for stray bristles!

Step 7: Place

Get your negative placed properly, make sure you put it SHINY side DOWN so as not to smear it

Step 8: Pin

Using push pins, pin your project to the board to keep the negative in contact and so it can't blow away!

Step 9: Smooth

Using the slight stickyness of the wet ribbon rub the negative down until it is smooth

Step 10: Take It Into the Sun

This is where the magic happens, watch your photos develop right before your eyes!

Step 11: Wait

Leave your project in the sun for at least 5 minutes, up to 12 minutes in cloudy weather

Step 12: Uncover

In a shady indoor area uncover your masterpiece!

Step 13: Wash

Wash vigorously in HOT soapy water, for best results use our specialized Inkowash. If you do not wash enough your project may continue to develop after it is dry.

Step 14: Dry

Dry your project without heat, just lay it out indoors (not in the sun) and let it dry completely

Step 15: Enjoy!

Use your beautiful custom ribbon for anything! We'd love to hear what you dream up.

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    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    this is completely awesome.

    the only downside is finding places that develops film without the "here's your CD, will keep the negatives" thing. i Got like 25 roles.


    5 years ago

    it's very cool!!! but, where can i buy inkodye?? (i live in Italy!!) :-) thank you!!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy Inkodye on our website (we ship to Italy) or from a store in your country:


    5 years ago

    Very cool! I would love it if you could buy inexpensive large quantities of this stuff to use with an enlarger.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy gallons of Inkodye if you apply for a Pro account (it's free!) >>

    But enlargers typically don't put out enough UV light intensity to develop Inkodye prints properly - but worth experimenting :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    oooohhhhh...very cool! You could use a lot of ribbon, and make a lamp shade! That would also be an awesome nightlight medium! Limitless possibilities!

    prickly vegan

    5 years ago on Step 15

    seems a shame to go to all that effort to print on a rough cut piece of ribbon... I would suggest finishing the ends so the fabric does not fray or unravel. Looks like one would need to use seriously high-contrast negs to have the pictures be visible at all. Can objects be used instead, as with the photosensitive paper kits?

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I had no idea there was such a product. Looks like fun. Nice instructable.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I love this instructable! Well done ! I am going to try this. Look at Vogue Magazine Nov 2013 issue with Kate Moss on cover, page 254, for some very cool urban photo printed fabric on dresses. Looks like single photo printed not repetitive fabric printing, very unique & gorgeous


    5 years ago on Introduction

    What a cool idea! Thanks for sharing. I want to try this!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This would be great for making table decorations for a graduation or anniversary party. It is possible to "Transform" color negatives from those old photos into B&W, although I am no expert and the results are not always great.

    This method will probably also work with SOME color negatives, but the quality of results are hard to predict. Still, for printing some nostalgic pictures for special decorations, it might be worth experimenting.