The sun? Yes. THE SUN! We’ve been obsessing over Inkodye since the day it came out (see some early experiments here) — any dye that uses sunlight to dye fabric is pretty freaking awesome in our books.

As we mentioned, this dye uses sunlight to dye fabric (which only takes about 20 minutes to fully develop) and really packs a punch! You can use the dye on a variety of fabrics then cover it with text, objects or even photographic negatives. In just a matter of minutes, you’ve got yourself a bone fide piece of artwork.


– Dry Erase marker

– tea towels

– geometric stencils (download the printable templates here!)

 – Saran wrap or plexiglas

– foam brush

– Xacto knife


1. Print out our templates. Use an Xacto knife to cut out the stencils.

2. Lay out your tea towels and figure out where you want to place the stencils.

3. Dip your foam brush into the dye and start painting the part of your towel you want to decorate. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way when it comes to Inkodye.

4. Take your stencil and place it on top of the painted portion of your towel. Press down on the edges of the paper.

5. Place tea towels (with stencil on top) outside for 20 minutes to develop. This should be enough time for the color to reach full saturation.

6. Bring towels out of the sunlight and let air dry. Then wash in soapy water before using. Done!

Let’s get to it!

Take your Xacto knife and cut out the stencils. We found that it was easier to free hand cut them instead of using a straight edge.

Cut any excess paper off so you have a nice sort of stripe filled with design.

Lay out your napkins and decide where you’re going to place the stencils. Then take your foam brush and dip it into the dye. A little goes a long way!

Start painting your tea towels! Take your stencil (or stencil cutouts) and place them on top of your painted towel. Press down on the edges of the paper. The design will develop right on your towel – it’s super cool!

Place your tea towels outside to develop. Leave them outside for 20 minutes or until color reaches full saturation.

Bring your towels back inside and let fully dry. Once they’re dry, wash them in hot soapy water.

We also created one with the pieces cut out of our stencils. So fun!

Aren’t these awesome? It’s just like creating a photogram, but without all the darkroom hassle!

What other cool stencils and objects would you use? Tell us in the comments below.