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Alcohol Inks-Tips And Ideas

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Alcohol Ink Work On Many Surfaces

Alcohol inks work well on glossy paper as well as tile and other surgaces

Alcohol inks work well on glossy paper as well as tile and other surgaces

What Are Alcohol Inks?

Alcohol inks are simply put alcohol-based dyes. They are highly pigmented dyes in an alcohol base. The ink is a lot like the ink that is used in Sharpies markers. They are considered permanent unless they come in contact with another alcohol-based product. ( they can smear on some ceramic surfaces) They are used best on smooth non-porous surfaces. They are most often used to stamp or drip on surfaces. On glass they will create a beautiful stained glass effect.

Because their base is alcohol, they tend to dry very quickly. The paint dries literally in minutes. But once it is dry, it can be revived. These inks are manipulated using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol to you and me). As the inks are alcohol-based they evaporate much quicker, so the paint dries in only a few minutes. However, once the ink is dry it can be “revived” to be processed and manipulated further. Because of the nature of these inks, there is a variety of techniques and styles that are unique to alcohol inks, and which allow for an endless river of creation to continually flow.

The most well-known brands of alcohol inks are Ranger Adirondack and Jacquard Pinata. brands,

Adirondacks alcohol inks come in packs of three. It takes the guesswork out of which colors work well together. They have a 60 color collection. They also offer a metallic collection that adds a lot of detail to your design.

Jacquard Pinata alcohol inks have 17 colors plus a metallic collection. They are great for beginners.

Most often, they are sold in 0.5-ounce bottles in a range of colors and dyes. A little bit goes a long way.

The exciting thing about alcohol inks is the number of surfaces they can be used on. Glass, wood, metal, plastics, and just about any other non-porous surface. There are endless ways to use this ink

They are most often sold in 0.5-ounce bottles. It does not seem like a lot, but a little goes a very long way.

The colors are so vivid and beautiful. Once you get started, you will want to expand yourself into all kinds of projects.

What Is Alcohol Ink Art?

Alcohol ink art is one of the main members of the fluid arts family, which is composed of acrylic pouring, resin art, and alcohol inks. Fluid art is when you take a medium in liquid form and let the pigments run wild, creating abstract pieces. You can create beautiful abstract pieces by letting the ink ebb and flow on the canvas or other surfaces. But it foes farther than that. You can also create realistic pieces too.

The possibilities are unlimited for beginners to accomplished artists. Once you let your mind and creative flow loose, you will find anything is possible.

just like any new medium, you need to take time to learn how these inks work and how they react on different surfaces. They can be similar to water colors, but a lot easier to grasp as artistic concepts.

Alcohol Ink Supplies

Like acrylic pouring techniques, alcohol ink projects do not require a lot of materials or supplies to get started, Here are some basics you will need:

  • Yupo paper
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Tim Holtz Adirondack Inks
  • Pinata Inks
  • Blending solution
  • Alcohol ink markers
  • Brushes
  • Droppers
  • Spray bottles
  • Sponges
  • Blending tools

Brands Of Popular Alcohol Inks

Adirondack Alcohol Inks

These are probably the most popular range of alcohol inks on the market today. It is from the Ranger Ink line and was created by Tim Holtz. They can be bought in packages of three. These packs are perfect for beginners as the colors included are compatible-no guesswork.

There are 60 colors in the collection plus metallic colors. The metallics add a lot of highlights and textures. However, you must be very cautious with the amount that you use. Too much and they will overpower your project.

Jacquard Pinata Inks

These inks are very rich in color and fast drying. They have a good variety of colors as well as some metallics.

In this line, you can buy a class pack. Perfect for beginners. You get a variety of inks, some cleaning solutions, and a few extra goodies.


  • For metallics, be sure to shake the bottle well before using to ensure that the product is mixed properly. There’s a ball bearing inside to help with mixing. Standard inks don’t need to be mixed.

Good Alcohol Set To Get Started

Alcohol Ink Markers

If you have alcohol ink markers, you have one if the most popular inks on the market. Most of these markers are sold in packs. If you have any alcohol ink marker refills, then you have alcohol ink.


These are some of the most popular brands of alcohol markers. They have good pigmentation and are considered easy to use. They have either a chisel, brush nib, or both. They have a variety of 368 colors which give you lots of coloring options. You can use the markers or even the refills with just a brush.

Spectrum Noir

These are other popular brand of alcohol inks. they come in the standard alcohol marker, a three-in-one marker, and an illustrator marker. They have a wonderful range of colors and blend nicely.


You have known them and loved them. And yes, they are alcohol markers. They come in neon, pastel, metallic and traditional colors. However, unlike the others, they are not refillable. They are best used for outlines and highlights. While they are considered permanent markers, they can lose that feature when mixed with other alcohols.

However, if sealed with Krylon Kamar and UV Protectant they stay permanent. White gel pens are also great when it comes to adding highlights to your piece as that final finishing touch.

Where Can You Use Alcohol Inks

There are so many places where you can use alcohol inks. They are not just for coloring or making patterns on paper. Here are just a few:

  • Color Acrylic Gems-color them to fit your project
  • Wood-Use on small projects because ink will soak into the wood
  • Sequins-recolor to work with your project
  • Sand-you can color sand to fit your project
  • Use them on ceramic tiles
  • Perfect to use on glass

How To Color Sand With Alcohol Inks

Alcohol Ink Drop Technique

Simple drops of alcohol inks on yupo paper. One of the easiest techniques

Simple drops of alcohol inks on yupo paper. One of the easiest techniques

Blending Tools For Alcohol Inks

Here are a few of the tools that you can use for blending alcohol inks:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Water paint brushes
  • Colorless blenders (Both Copic and Spectrum Noir make them )
  • Ranger alcohol ink pens
  • Round and rectangle ink applicators

Surfaces (Substrates) For Alcohol Ink Projects

You will often hear the word substrates which is a term used for the surfaces that you use to do your alcohol ink projects on.

Yupo Paper

Yupo paper is often used with alcohol inks for papercrafts. Alcohol ink is too porous to be used in regular paper. The ink would sink directly into the sheet. You need a paper with as smooth a surface as possible.

Yupo is a synthetic paper made of polypropylene and is tear and water-resistant. It does crease easily and you should avoid touching the paper with your fingers. ( the oil on your fingers will move the ink.

One of the best properties of Yupo paper is that it is torn and water-resistant. You never have to worry about ripping your paper.

It comes in both white and transparent paper. It also has a variety of weights so you do have options.

The nice thing about this paper is that the ink spreads further. So while the paper might be an investment, the ink will go farther. It is also easier to mat and frame than a tile might be.

Ceramic Tile

Another popular surface is ceramic tiles. These can be purchased very reasonably at your local home improvement store and online.

The nice thing about using tiles is that if you make a mistake or want to change the color, you can wipe it off all the way back to the tile. With yupo paper, once the ink is on it, it stains the paper, there is no going back.


Who says you need to be just limited to just tiles and paper. Glass makes a terrific surface to try alcohol ink art. If you have extra clear glass vases, you already have a surface to practice on.

  • Wood
  • Alcohol markers and inks do work on wood to create eye-catching art forms.
  • Metals
  • Glossy Cardstock
  • Plastic
  • Canvas prepared for nonporous surfaces
  • Whiteboards
  • Glass bulbs
  • Acetate
  • Plastic Containers
  • Gourds
  • Silk

Sealing Alcohol Ink Projects

When using the alcohol inks it is best to use a clear sealer or resin to prevent it from wiping off or running later on. Two to three thin coats should do it. I recommend using Krylon Kamar for 2-3 coats then a UV sealer.

Using Alcohol Inks With Stencils

Getting really creative with alcohol inks and stencils is more fun than you can imagine

Getting really creative with alcohol inks and stencils is more fun than you can imagine

Create An Alcohol Ink Christmas Ornament

You can create stunning alcohol ink Christmas ornaments

You can create stunning alcohol ink Christmas ornaments

Blending Solution-Tips And Ideas

Blending solution and alcohol is what water is to watercolors. It is used to extend the life of your alcohol inks and for some creative techniques. It is a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and glycerine to lighten and mix the colors. You can plan for the fact that you will use it often and use a lot of it.

  1. Ranger has a blending solution that is made to blend and thin the alcohol ink. It is also an aid in cleaning up any mistakes or messes the ink may make.
  2. Pinata sells a cleanup solution and extender for thinning.
  3. However, the less expensive solution is rubbing alcohol. Both the 70% rubbing alcohol and the 90% rubbing alcohol will work equally well. The 90% product is usually only available in the pharmacy section of a store or in your drug store. If you can, get a bottle with a flip-top. These have a little nozzle which makes them easy to use. Save the lid of these bottles. They will often fit on other alcohol bottles.
  4. You can mix your alcohol with your blending solution to extend the blending solution.
  5. Take a brush and dip it into your blending solution. Lightly wipe off any excess liquid so you don’t drop it on your project. Use the brush and work it back and forth or side to side over the line you want to disappear.

More Blending Solution Ideas

Alcohol Inks On Glass

Beautiful votive candle holders and vases can be made with alcohol inks

Beautiful votive candle holders and vases can be made with alcohol inks

Alcohol Techniques For Beginners

DIY Alcohol Ink Applicator

With just a piece of felt and a binder clip, you can make an inexpensive alcohol Ink Applicator

With just a piece of felt and a binder clip, you can make an inexpensive alcohol Ink Applicator

Alcohol Ink Applicators

Alcohol ink applicators have a felt surface where you drip the ink onto and then apply to your surface,

You can purchase these applicators, but you can also easily make several to try out and use ( much less expensive and they work as well :

  • Brushes- Saturate your brush with a blending solution to clean the ink off
  • Block applicator
  • Droppers-Some inks have droppers in them
  • Spray bottles-Use small bottles for your inks
  • Stamps-If you use these, you need to clean them right away
  • Magic Erasers- they are in your grocery store
  • Cotton balls
  • Stamps
  • Sponges

Wispy Alcohol Ink Technique

Alcohol Ink Tips

Here are some ideas and tips to help you get the most from your alcohol inks

  • Experiment with different things to apply your alcohol inks-droppers, time sprays, cotton balls, q-tips, napkins, paper towels, felt applicators, just have fun and experiment.Try some bubble wrap. Scrunch up some saran wrap. See what you like best.
  • Move inks around for a totally different look. Blow on the ink through a straw. Use a heat gun. Try a blow dryer. You can even try some compressed air.
  • Try mixing different brands of alcohol inks. Who says you need to try one company?
  • Always make sure that your work area is totally covered with several layers of newspaper. Then on top of that use a craft mat or some parchment or waxed paper. The newspapers will absorb any spills or run overs.
  • Always wear gloves. This is messy fun and it's not always easy to get the ink off your skin
  • Cap your bottle or jar right away. That way you do not have a chance to spill any ink.
  • You can make your color lighter by adding 91% rubbing alcohol to your ink,
  • You can use masking fluid on any area that you do not want the ink to be absorbed
  • Consider making a collage in an art journal or an altered book with some of your pieces.
  • A tiny spatula can be helpful to spread inks
  • Old credit and gift cards can be useful to spread inks
  • Make up brushes can be used to move inks on canvas
  • If you are using stencils with your alcohol inks, get them cleaned with a non alcohol wipe as soon as you use them. Then clean them in warm water and mild dish detergent. Allow them to dry.

Alcohol Ink Backgrounds On Greeting Cards

Alcohol Ink Art

You can create beautiful art images with alcohol inks. These one of a kind art pieces can be created by begiiners too.

You can create beautiful art images with alcohol inks. These one of a kind art pieces can be created by begiiners too.

Make Your Own Alcohol Inks With Sharpies

There are a few simple ways to create your own alcohol inks at home.

Cover your work space with newspaper or a craft mat to keep the top from being stained. Have some paper towels handy to wipe away any little messes.

You will need some bottles or containers to hold your inks. While I am mixing these inks, I would wear plastic or laytex gloves on my hands. Make sure that the bottle covers are secured tightly.

You can reuse bottles from re inkers for this purpose. Baby food bottles woulld work well too. Or you can purchase bottles for this purpose.

Sharpie Alcohol Inks 1

  • Cover your workspace
  • Cover your hands with gloves
  • Remove the nib from the sharpie with a pair of pliers or tweezers
  • Fill a small bottle with at least 91% or higher alcohol- about 1-2 ounces depending on how intense you want the color
  • Add the nib to the bottle
  • Close the lid of the bottle tightly
  • Let the bottle stand until you see the color leave the nib
  • You can remove the nib when finished and allow it to dry
  • It may be possible to replace the nib to the marker

Sharpie Alcohol Inks 2

  • Cover your workspace
  • Don gloves
  • With the cap on your sharpie, twist back and forth on the cap
  • As you move the cap with the cover on, the cartridge will come away from the base of the pen
  • Slice open the cartridge with a craft knife, Cut all the way from one end to the other
  • Place the tube in a small glass jar.
  • Squeeze some alcohol (at least 91% or more) into the jar. Start with a small amount
  • Add more alcohol till you get the color that you would like
  • Cover the jar with the lid and allow to sit
  • Once most of the ink has seeped from the tube, squeeze the balance of the ink into the alcohol with a gloved hand
  • Use small precision bottles to store your ink
  • Make labels to mark different colors

Alcohol Ink Projects

Alcohol Ink Swatches

Like any other ink, it is important to create ink swatches for your alcohol inks. If this is the only medium of inks that you use, you can create a simple ring swatch collection.

If you also use other inks, then you can use either the ink swatch book or the ring method. If you have multiple inks, then you can include the alcohol inks with your other inks in your ink swatch book.

Swatch Pages For Alcohol Inks

Alcohol Ink Push And Glide Technique

This is one of the easiest techniques, especially for beginners. This is a great way to get started with alcohol inks.


  • Alcohol ink
  • Yupo paper
  • Paint brush
  1. Draw a basic shape like a flower or a butterfly with a pencil
  2. Put some ink on a plastic palette or a recycled meat tray
  3. Dip your brush into the ink
  4. Place your brush into the center of the shape
  5. Watch how the ink moves around on the edges of the paper
  6. Fill in the other areas not covered with ink

Alcohol Inks On Greeting Cards

Alcohol inks can be used on glossy paper to make greeting cards

Alcohol inks can be used on glossy paper to make greeting cards

More Alcohol Ink Greeting Card Ideas

Drop And Pour Techniques

These is another technique that you can master as you learn how to use alcohol inks. Once you master these simple techniques, you will be ready to start creating exciting new crafts.


  • Three colors of alcohol inks
  • Yupo paper
  • Coffee stirrer or wooden stick
  • Blending solution
  1. Place a single drop of one color of your alcohol inks on the paper, Watch how it spreads.
  2. Drop a new color next to the first drop. Watch how it spreads and pushes against the first color
  3. Continue to add drops till you are satisfied with the results.
  4. Allow to dry.

Drop And Pour Tilt Technique

This is the perfect technique to create a background. You drip multiple colors on your paper or surface and tilt to blend the inks. You can use a coffee stirrer or a wooden stick of some sort to spread the ink to the edges of the page before it dries.

  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper or scrap paper
  2. Chose three colors to use on your project.
  3. Cover the surface using blending solution/alcohol
  4. Use a coffee stirrer or wooden sticks to move the solution to the ends of the paper.
  5. Randomly drop/pour your colors straight out of the bottle over the surface.
  6. Tilt gently to move the inks around. Use a coffee stirrer to pull the dye to the edges of the page while it is still wet.
  7. Let dry, watch the colors as they blend, and adjust.
  8. Do it again, this time without any blending solution.
  9. Do it again, this time with blending solution and without tilting. And again, without the blending solution and without tilting the page.

How To Draw On Alcohol Inks

You can use alcohol inks on art journals and scrapbook pages. Learn how to draw on alcohol inks.

You can use alcohol inks on art journals and scrapbook pages. Learn how to draw on alcohol inks.

More Alcohol Ink Technique Ideas

Final Thoughts On Alcohol Inks

We have just barely skimmed the surface on alcohol inks. There are so many ways to use these and dozens of projects that can be made. Watch for more ideas in the future. We are exited to delve into this medium and share them with you.

What we did learn right away is the necessity to protect your work area and your hands. You also need to be sure to lid your containers . It takes a lot of work to get that ink off. But the results are so much fun.

© 2020 Linda F Correa

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, tips and comments on alcohol inks

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on June 17, 2020:

Thank you for your comment. We try to get everyone's creative juices going. Hope you try some of the ideas

Rose McCoy on June 16, 2020:

This is awesome! Very thorough and seems like an awesome project to try!

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