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How to Use Alcohol Ink on Metal to Create Necklaces

Updated on January 20, 2017

Make Beautiful Washer Jewelry Using Alcohol Ink!

Using Alcohol Ink on metal is very easy, and I'm going to share a fun project using this technique. The list of supplies to make these cool necklaces is pretty short. Look at the picture closely. Can you tell what I used to make this work of art? You'll need to visit the hardware store....YES.....the hardware store! Oh, now I have you thinking. They are stainless steel washers. Metal washers are inexpensive and look great when covered in Alcohol Ink. It's fun to play with different color combinations of alcohol ink on the metal washers.

What Is Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol Inks come in lots of beautiful colors from brights, pastels, and classics, to metallic gold, silver, bronze, and pearl. Adirondack Alcohol Inks by Tim Holtz are made by Ranger Industries and have a wide variety of uses. They are mainly used on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, and glossy paper. I had alcohol inks for many years, but I had only used it on glossy paper for making handmade greeting cards. I started searching and experimenting to come up with other Alcohol Ink Projects.

Adirondack Alcohol Ink by Tim Holtz

Alcohol Inks come in packs of 3 coordinating colors. There are tons of color combinations to choose from. For this project, I prefer bright colors. Once you learn how to use Alcohol Ink on metal you'll want to add more colors to your collection.

Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Ink 1/2-Ounce 3/Pkg, Farmers Market, Cranberry/Lettuce/Eggplnt
Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Ink 1/2-Ounce 3/Pkg, Farmers Market, Cranberry/Lettuce/Eggplnt

This photo shows a beautiful card made from glossy cardstock and Alcohol Ink. The inks can be blended for all kinds of color effects on non porous surfaces like glass and metal.


Alcohol Ink Washer Necklace

To follow is a list of the supplies you need and instructions to create one of these beautiful necklaces using Alcohol Ink on metal washers. Alcohol Ink can be messy, so wear old clothes and cover your work area before starting any alcohol ink projects. If you get alcohol ink where you don't want it, you can clean it up with rubbing alcohol.

Supplies Needed to Complete This Alcohol Ink Project

  1. Alcohol inks—In a variety of colors. I started with 12 colors which I thought was plenty! I soon discovered that it would be fun to have more pinks and blues, so I added 9 new colors to my collection. The more colors, the more fun!
  2. Alcohol ink applicator and cotton pads.
  3. Metal washers in various sizes—You do not need expensive washers; stainless steel ones work great and range in price from .10 to .45 depending on the size. When choosing sizes, also think about the weight. Some people do not care for heavy necklaces, and the large size washers can be a little heavy.
  4. Jewelry cording or clasped cording—This comes in a variety of colors and materials. You can purchase it on a roll and cut it to the length you want, then knot it. You can also purchase it with a clasped which is what I chose because I like the finished look. I used a velvet cord, but it also comes in leather, suede, and nylon.
  5. Sealer—You will need to seal the Alcohol Ink with some type of sealer. Krylon and Rustoleum make spray acrylic sealers in a glossy finish which looks nice and is easy to use. I suggest at least 3 light coats, waiting 15-20 minutes between coats. Another option is using a product like Crystal Effects to give the washers a high gloss epoxy look.
  6. Rubbing Alcohol—You will need rubbing alcohol for cleaning up any messes. It will also take the alcohol ink off of your hands. Some people wear gloves, but I find it difficult to work while wearing gloves.

Alcohol Ink Applicators

This alcohol ink applicator has velcro on the bottom so that they cotton pad will stick. You can also buy refills of the pads. It is perfect for applying alcohol ink to metal washers or for other alcohol ink projects.

Adding Alcohol Ink to the Applicator

To apply alcohol ink to metal, add dots of alcohol inks to the cotton applicator. You do not have to squeeze the bottles very hard to get the ink to come out. It is very thin and will come out when you touch the tip of the bottle to the cotton. You can add as many colors as you want.

Alcohol Ink Sets

Ebay sells alcohol ink in larger sets at a very good price. It's a great way to get a variety of colors. Once you try alcohol ink on metal you'll want to try other projects!

Dab the Metal Washer With the Alcohol Ink Applicator

Dab the applicator to the metal washer making a random pattern. You will see the colors begin to blend. Each time you dab, you will see a new pattern form. Dab until you get a pattern that you like.

Finished Metal Washer after applying Alcohol Ink

This is how the metal washer looked when I was finished applying the alcohol ink. Each time you dab, you create a different pattern. You can also put alcohol in a small spray bottle and spritz it and then dab. That will also create a different texture. On some of the washers, I dabbed a base coat of Alcohol Ink with a solid color and then applied another color directly to the washer from the bottle to create dots.

Crystal Lacquer for Sealing Alcohol Ink on Metal

You will need to seal the alcohol ink. Crystal Lacquer is a great product to use for sealing the finished washers or other Alcohol Ink and Metal Projects. It will give your project a high gloss finish. If you prefer an acrylic spray, Rustoleum and Krylon make them in gloss and matte finishes.

More Finished Metal Washers - Ready for Alcohol Ink Projects!

Here is a group of washers ready to string onto cords for necklaces or other alcohol ink projects. I used a variety of color combinations and patterns. My daughter thought that hanging 3 washers in a row would make great earrings, but they were too heavy. I thought these might also make nice windchimes if strung on monofilament. If you can think of other projects using these washers, I'd love to hear your ideas!

Don't limit your creativity to just adding Alcohol Ink to metal washers. Any type of metal or nonporous material will work with alcohol inks.

Do you enjoy doing arts and crafts?

See results

Alcohol Ink Necklace - Eggplant and Denim Alcohol Ink

Necklace Cording With Clasps

You can choose to use one washer for your necklace or two. I tried using 3 washers, but it was really heavy. Make a slipknot through the holes of two washers to string your necklace.

Alcohol Ink On Metal Tutorial

This video shows another great project using alcohol ink on metal.

How do you like the looks of these Alcohol Ink on Metal necklaces?

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    • profile image

      Dannett 8 weeks ago

      I think it's very cool, I'm going to try to do this.

    • profile image

      Veryverni 7 months ago

      Great idea. This will be my next project!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      This is a neat craft and your examples are quite nice. I'm interested because these would make neat closures or embellishments for some of the bags I make. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      These are beautiful! What a really cool craft.

    • profile image

      carin4you 3 years ago

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share such a fun, easy, afternoon project. They came out fantastic! I'm excited to try in on a scarf! Thanks again! :-D Diane

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      This is such a unique idea. These look so cool.

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Very cool idea. I have to try this.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      How innovative! Profitable too!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great tutorial....we use alcohol inks on silk scarves....washer necklaces will look great with the scarves

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Terrific! Loads of help.....Can't wait to get started.

    • clkbm profile image

      clkbm 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this. I would like to try it. Do you sell these?

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      Very clever. Love it! Blessings.

    • profile image

      olmpal 5 years ago

      THis is a new method for me. Beautiful abstract Alcohol Ink necklaces designs! Love the final look!

    • profile image

      peajock24 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      peajock24 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      MagnoliaTree 5 years ago

      I never knew about alcohol ink-- such a nice result from something so simple!

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      It looks so easy to do. I enjoyed reading this lens.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      It looks so easy to do. I enjoyed reading this lens.

    • profile image

      NeuseRiverWriter 5 years ago

      Love it - I have made washer pendants using patterned paper, but have never tried alcohol inks.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      I've found some very fun art projects that use alcohol inks. I really need to get me some to play with. I make jewelry too and this looks so cool!

    • Frankie Jr profile image

      Frankie Jr 5 years ago from Texas

      Wow, that is pretty cool. They would make some great gifts! Thanks for sharing.

    • StephanieMangino profile image

      Stephanie Mangino 5 years ago

      Wonderful tutorial and method of making necklaces! Look for this to be showcased on So Crafty's homepage in the coming days! :) -- Stephanie, So Crafty editor

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      Amazing on how something so simple can look so lovely. Blessed.

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is great. It's unbelievable that they are just metal washers.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      This I like. When I used to make jewelry, I used all kinds of hardware, including washers for spacers. But this is really special and I want to do it! Thanks

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 5 years ago from Spain

      I've never heard of it either, but it's a great idea. My young daughter loves making jewellery so I'm going to past this on to her. Many thanks for sharing. Great lens!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes I like them. Have not heard of it before, but an interesting craft on How to use alcohol ink on metal. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Really nice.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      I love the way the colors turn out on metal! I'd never even heard of alcohol ink, and now I must have some. What a cool way to use a washer... you'd never guess the finished product sprang from such humble origins!