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|All about alcohol inks!
This page has color charts, combinations, a collection of techniques and projects. Including using alcohol ink with polymer clay, metal leafing,
domino art, mixing with glues and other mediums to tint them for glazing, glass paint, faux enamel, miniature food syrups, etc.
|I hope that you have enjoyed my tutorials. Please
consider sending any size donation to help me
create more artwork, tutorials, free patterns, and to
support this website. Thank you :)
|Alcohol inks work wonderfully inside empty markers, such as Ranger
Ink or Copic brand markers. Just add drops of ink onto the broad tip
until it bleeds through to the bottom tip. This takes about 150 drops (it's
not much, somewhere about 1/10th of a bottle of Adirondack inks.)
These colors blend beautifully together on paper projects.
Allows you to turn your favorite inks into markers, or mix your own
custom colors. Since you can add ink any time the marker starts to run
dry, these markers can literally last forever. No more waste of
disposable markers, or disappointment when you find a marker has
When mixing custom colors use an empty dropper bottle to mix the
colors first before inserting the mix into your marker. Craft stores
usually have empty bottles with dropper tops for essential oils in the
soap making supplies area.
If you are using empty Copic Sketch markers than you can also use
these inks with their airbrushing system for painting.
When you are using dark colored alcohol inks on a domino you will
have a hard time getting a rubber stamped image to show up well. You
can help bring out the details of your stamped art by lightening certain
areas of your image. You can do this by erasing the alcohol ink with a
lighter color of alcohol ink. Alcohol inks or blending solution in marker
form is great for this. Sharpies also work, however the tips on those
markers do not allow for smooth precision.
|How to use the applicator, felt and alcohol inks:
Add a few drops of each color you want to use to the felt pad
that is attached to your applicator. I apply single drops of
color a little randomly on various areas of the felt (see
Lightly dab your surface repeatedly until you achieve the
coverage and pattern desired. If you apply it by patting the
surface only a couple times you will get a blended, less
marble looking / blotchy effect as you do if you keep patting
your surface repeatedly. You can make it very interesting by
blowing on it as you work in quick taps for the smallest
marble pattern effects.
Try out combinations of 2 inks, or even just one and the
"alcohol blending solution" (works as clear alcohol ink) for
a variety of marbled monotone effects.
Note: Felt by nature has a lot of loose fibers that often fall
out. I have not found a way to avoid this, but you can rub off
a lot of the little fibers once the ink dries in a few seconds.
|Use multiple color combinations to
compliment your rubber stamped
artwork. (I used Stampbord as my
surface, and the image is from Spri-106)
|The Basics. Here is the standard, most popular application:
|Alcohol Ink Color Chart:
Adirondack Alcohol Inks by Tim Holtz / Ranger Ink come in 54 colors, including "lights", "brights", and "earth tones" shown individually here on glossy paper.
They appear more vibrant on non-porous surfaces (such as a domino) and slightly muted on porous surfaces (such as paper.)
|Creating custom colors and filling markers with alcohol inks:
|Failed experiments and happy accidents. (I make mistakes so you don't have to!)
Sometimes I try and fail. Sometimes I thought I failed and in the clean up efforts discover something interesting! Here is where I will share these "mistakes" with you!
|Using alcohol inks to paint polymer clay or over gold leafing / metal foils.
|You can achieve marbled monotone effects by combining any single
color with the colorless blender (clear alcohol ink) like this:
|Mixing alcohol ink into TLS, polymer clay (colorizing clay before baking) and miniature food techniques such as faux maple syrup.
|Lettuce + Clear Blender
|Learn various ways to decorate domino
game pieces on the domino tutorial page.
|Altered jewelry! Add color to metal and other non porous surfaces:
|I bought a silvertone metal ring a while back and I always wished it was colorful. So I picked out some alcohol ink colors
(raspberry, stream and sunset orange) and placed a drop of each color onto a non-porous surface (I used the outside of a
ziplock bag.) I then picked up the colors and applied them using an empty aqua brush filled with alcohol or blending solution. I
sealed it with Krylon clear gloss sealer spray.
|Simple color combinations of two inks create bold results and polished stone effects like this:
|Pitch Black + Red Pepper
|Lettuce + Meadow
|Shell Pink + Clear Blender
|The hunt for an opaque metallic ink:
I've gone through quite a bit of trial and
error looking for a good stamping ink I
could use over my darker alcohol inked
dominoes. I have tried the metallic
StazOn, acrylic paints and Smooch accent
inks. All of which were slightly transparent
and started showing the alcohol ink color
All in all I do not recommend trying this
method, as Smooch ink is an expensive
and pretty metallic ink to waste on just
washing away, but it does spark my
imagination and I'll be investigating
bleach stamping techniques further.
1) I applied my alcohol inks to my domino.
2) I coated a rubber stamp with Smooch accent ink by Clearsnap, and stamped the image onto the domino. (I
started with the gold fern image.)
3) After about 20 minutes I thought it was going to be dry, so I touched the domino and smeared the Smooch
ink. In a panic hoping I could save the domino somehow I rinsed off the gold Smooch ink under running water.
It took the Smooch ink off AND some of the alcohol ink underneath it. I was left with a bleached effect.
4) I repeated this process intentionally using a darker alcohol ink combo (Miner's Lantern) and used a brighter
color of Smooch Ink (Silver) and washed it off after about 15 minutes. This resulted in a clearer contrast.
|Shell Pink + Clover
|Attempts at using alcohol inks as a paint or mixed with sealers for a tinted glaze:
|I started off with creating molded polymer clay pieces,
which I baked and then painted with bright gold
Lumiere acrylic paint.
I then began my glazing experiments by mixing alcohol
inks into sealers to tint it, which was a failure on all of
the sealers I tried, including Mod Podge, polyurethane
and other multi purpose sealers. It created chunky bits
of dried alcohol ink color. I pushed the uneven clumps
of color out of the way and used the remaining sealer
as a glaze for the owl face --->
|Eventually I just started applying the alcohol ink directly to my gold acrylic paint. I used an aqua brush filled with
alcohol or clear blending solution, and picked up alcohol ink color onto the brush tip. If you do not have a non-stick
mat or paint palette to put your drops of colored alcohol ink, you can always use a piece of paper covered with tape.
|Try mix and matching random colors, even ones you didnt
think would go well together. Here is an unusual
combination using honeycomb, poppyfield and mermaid.
|Tips: If you're unhappy with how your
color combinations are turning out
("help! they dont look like these
pictures!") try using less ink of one or
more of your colors.
Sometimes a drop less red color for
instance makes a huge difference.
Too dark? Try adding a couple drops of
colorless blender to lighten all of the
|The following ideas I haven't tried yet, but alcohol inks can be used for, include:
|The Enchanted Gallery carries all 3-packs of inks as packaged by the manufacturer.
Available for purchase on the Ink, Color, Stencil and Embellish store page here.
The color combination charts below show how each set works together. For example, the "Countryside" set
includes Shell Pink, Willow, Cloudy Blue. When used together they look like this:
|Using alcohol inks to color plain beads for jewelry making:
|Any non-porous surface can produce the beautiful marbled effect with
alcohol inks. Plastic, resin, acrylic, metal or glass beads are perfect
White acrylic beads, metal tags, blank guitar picks and game tiles
to decorate can be found on the beads page here.
|Using canned air, an air pump or a coffee stir straw can create unique
effects when used with wet drops of alcohol ink.
Here I have added a drop or two of alcohol ink directly from the bottle
onto my white acrylic bead. I immediately used an air blower to push
the ink in my desired direction. The force in which the air blows effects
how many little branches of color shoot out, the quicker and harder the
blast the more tiny branches appear.
|Some Walmart stores have Kamar Varnish in the art supply section, otherwise these sealers can be found online such as at amazon or dick blick art stores.
|Alcohol inks, glitter glue and versamark can be found on the coloring supplies page. Perfect Pearls mica powders on the clay supplies page. Beads and acrylic
shapes on the blank beads to decorate page here.
|You will always get the best results with transparent inks on
LIGHT COLORED SURFACES (especially white tile), but for
those of you tempted to try them on mirrors and metal I tested
out stainless steel pendants and charms (located at the
bottom of the beads to decorate page.)
Troubleshooting: I used a mirror finish, not the dull dark metal
of screws/washers/hardware equipment which I found alcohol
inks difficult to work on.
I do not use a felt pad to apply alcohol inks on surfaces that
are not white/very light colored, as this further dilutes the ink.
Use the darkest and most vibrant alcohol ink colors directly
dripped from the bottle. For the effect to the left, use canned air
to blow the blob of ink around immediately after you drip it onto
the metal or mirror surface.
|No longer available in 2017: Woodlands, Mountain Vineyard,
and Scenic Terrace sets have been discontinued by the
If you experience any ink smear/bleeding from your chosen type of resin, the Kamar Varnish spray applied first before pouring your resin should fix any problems. I do
not currently make any inked items for handling (I make decor/magnets/wall art, where only spray sealers are required) so I am unable to answer questions about
types of resin.
If I want to use just spray and build up a shiny coat, I use Kamar Varnish for layer one, then four separately dried spray coats of Krylon's UV clear gloss acrylic. This is
not as durable or lightfast an option as resin, however it is usually enough for indoor crafts that are not frequently handled.