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Alcohol Inks-Tips And Ideas

Updated on May 9, 2020
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Paper crafting has been my passion since I was a child. I love sharing paper projects, ideas and products. Get more from all your paper .

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 | Source

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 are 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

Most well known brands of alcohol inks are Ranger Adirondack and Jacquard Pinata. brands

The exciting thing about alcohol inks is the amount 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.

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 guess work.

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 solution and a few extra goodies.

Metallic Alcohol Ink Tips.

When you are using metallic inks, it is important to shake the bottle before using it. That way the mixture will be right when you go to use it. You will hear a ball bearing move around as you shake it. That helps mix too. The others do not have to be mixed,

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 one 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.

Spectrum Noir

These are another 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.

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 | Source

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

Yupo Paper

Yupo paper is often used with alcohol inks for paper crafts. Alcohol ink is too porous to be used in regular paper. The ink would sink directly into the sheet. You need 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.

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

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 | Source

Create An Alcohol Ink Christmas Ornament

You can create stunning alcohol ink Christmas ornaments
You can create stunning alcohol ink Christmas ornaments | Source

Alcohol Ink blending solution can be used to dilute or lighten the vibrant color of these inks. It can also be used to clean a surface or your hands where the ink may have spilled

Blending Solution-Tips And Ideas

Blending solution 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.

Ranger has a blending solution that is made to blend and and thin the alcohol ink. It is also an aid in cleaning up any mistakes or messes the ink may make.

Pinata sells a cleanup solution and extender for thinning.

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 make them easy to use. Save the lid of these bottles. They will often fit on other alcohol bottles.

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 | Source

Protect Your Manicure

You may want to wear plastic gloves on your hands when working with alcohol inks. That way you will avoid staining your skin or your manicure, The oils in your skin will actually get into the project and may cause a problem

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 :

Block Applicator

Brushes- Saturate your brush with blending solution to clean the ink off

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

Cover Your Workspace

It cannot be mentioned enough that you need a slick surface like a craft mat under any alcohol ink project. A slick surface will allow you to get a good clean up with no stains. Stay away from a glass mat as the inks may stain the glass permanently.

Wispy Alcohol Ink Technique

Stamping On An Alcohol Ink Background

If you plan to stamp on an alcohol ink background, the only inks the will work are archival inks or the Stazon line

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

Sealing YOur 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– that would be disastrous after all the hard work you have just put in! Two to three thin coats should do it. I recommend using Krylon Kamar for 2-3 coats then a UV sealer.

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. | Source

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

Containers For Mixing Alcohol Inks

Always mix alcohol ink recipes in glass or disposable plastic cups.

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.

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

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