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Inko Dyes: A brief procedure by Todd Walker

Inko Dyes are manufactured by the Screen Process Supplies Manufacturing Co. , 1199 East 12th Street, Oakland, CA. Another outlet for the dyes is the store called Raw Materials, 1147 West Webster Street, Chicago, IL.

If you order by phone, you'll get your dyes in about a week. They are available in 4-oz., pint or quart sizes. Pints cost $2.80, but a little goes a long ways. The clear is $1.20 a pint, $1.80 a quart.

Inko Dyes are available in these colors: red, red-orange, orange, orange-yellow, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, blue-violet, violet, red-violet, brown and black.

The resist they sell is $1.45 a pint, $2.50 a quart. Write to the California address to rrequest a complete brochure on their stock and various uses for the dyes.


Dyes may be developed by a hot iron, or baked in an oven or steamed in a pressure cooker. Using an iron, you do not get as brilliant colors, and it is time consuming. Set the steam iron at the "cotton" setting, and move the iron slowly for a least 5 minutes. As long as fuming continues, development is taking place.

Baking in a 280 degree F. oven will develop the colors. A higher temperature will darken colors, particularly the yellow. It takes anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to develop the dyes in this way. Check the developing colors by sight.

The steam method of development is so involved that it is best to read the manufacturer's brochure on it for instructions.

Colors can be mixed to get the color you desire. It is useful to make test strips as Inko dyes all look brownish and you cannot see what color you have when working with the liquids. The colors are brilliant and to get a paler color, dilute the colored dye with the clear dye. (Diluting Inko dyes with water destroys the consistency.) Interesting color effects are achieved by overpainting areas.

One problem with Inko dyes is that they adhere to ortho negatives and ruin them. Wipe the sensitized paper or cloth carefully with tissue before bringing it into contact with the negative! I solve this problem by making two duplicate ortho negatives when I'm making them, save one for blueprinting and one for Inko dyes. If a little Inko dye does stick to the negative, I continue to use that ortho and just refer to that area as "texture".

I've been told that occasionally Inko dyes will start increasing in intensity if hung in the sun. If this should happen, rewash the print in soapy water.

The preceding information is from a class handout in the Non-Silver Photography class, ART 444, taught by Todd Walker at the University of Arizona in the Fall semester of 1984.

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This page was last updated March 26, Y2K.