Friday, March 20, 2009

Alcohol Inks Part 1

Alcohol inks come in many luscious colors and are really very easy to use if you have the right supplies to use them with. They make some beautiful, vibrant colors for any project!

They even have gold and silver alcohol inks for adding a little bit of bling onto your projects. I will show examples of the bling colors in later tutorials but for now I will just show you the basics of using alcohol inks and how to use them as a background. Check back for more ideas and tips.

Alcohol inks can be found in most craft supply stores and will run you about $5.00 to $6.00 if you buy them in the packs of three which I would highly suggest doing since one bottle of this stuff cost me $3.99 when I could have paid $4.99 for the pack of three.

The Alcohol Blending Solution is a must have when doing anything with alcohol inks because it will help you to blend your colors together and keep your inks from drying to quickly. You have seen how rubbing alcohol will evaporate quickly, well alcohol inks will do the same.

There are couple of ways to apply your alcohol inks but right now I will just cover the technique of applying the inks to a pad to cover a large area. You can buy the pads and stamp block that are sold in the store just for the alcohol inks but why do that when you can make your own from what you already have in your crafting arsenal. I took an old stamp that was attached to a wooden block and stuck a square of velcro (the side with the little grips) on the wood side and cut small squares out of felt to stick to the velcro. You will need to cut many squares because you will go through alot of these when completing your projects.

Whenever you are using alcohol inks, you need to use them on a surface that is slick and shiny. Alcohol inks can be used on plastic, glass, ceramic tiles, acetate paper, and the glossy scrapbooking paper. I have used the alcohol inks on glossy photo paper but the alcohol interacts with the chemicals in the photo paper and makes the paper sticky and doesn't blend the colors very well. I am not saying that you can't use the glossy photo paper, it just doesn't work as well as the glossy scrapbook paper. I have found the glossy scrapbook paper at Craft Warehouse for about .33 cents a sheet and from what I understand, not all crafting stores carry it. If you do find it I would suggest buying alot of it.

The first step is to attach one of the felt squares to your block. Saturate the felt square with the blending solution making sure that you cover the entire surface of the felt square.

Next, take the colors of alcohol inks that you want to use and apply drops of the color randomly over the felt square. Try not to use too many different colors, usually 2-3 will work well.

Pat your glossy paper with the felt square all over in a random design. You can even pull the felt square across the paper to fill in the white areas.

This card was made using the Red Pepper and Butterscotch alcohol inks. Perdy huh?

This card was made using the Lettuce and Stream alcohol inks. Even perdier!

And this card was made using the Lettuce, Stream and Wild Plum Alcohol inks. As you can see, using three colors at once is about all you will need to make a really pretty background. More than that would make the card look too cluttered.

Clean up is a snap too! I filled a tiny spray bottle with the blending solution and sprayed in onto my work surface.

Used a tissue and the alcohol wiped right up!
As I stated at the beginning of this tutorial, there are many different ways to use the alcohol inks and I will go over those in future postings. Experiment and have fun with your alcohol inks. You may even invent your own technique and may need to share your experience with the rest of us!


  1. Thanks for posting this. I bought some of these inks about a year ago and really didn't like the effect (didn't use the blending solution). I'll give it another shot :)

  2. I was using the solution but not saturating. May be part of my frustration.

  3. Very nice! I love your technique! I've just started playing with mine, but can't wait to try your ideas for the mottled effect (I did something different with mine to fit the current project ;-)).

    And I have to say - Around here, the three bottle sets cost $11-12 - so I always buy with a 50% off coupon. Do you have an online source you like?

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great tutorial! Ranger also has videos about their alcohol inks and techniques. I have used the blending solution AFTER applying the inks to paper for a different affect. Many ways to use the inks and various techniques. I appreciate your blog and all the information!

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  6. I just bought some alcohol inks and played around with them the other night. Boy, are they gorgeous!! So vibrant--I love it! The three pack costs $10-11 here (MA), so, like Kay, I bought w/a 50% off coupon. I just bought the blending solution yesterday, so am looking forward to trying that. Thanks, as always, for your tutorial! :-) ~zess~

  7. Wow, very purdy colors. I love that your lemon drops are in the first picture. (It's the little things that keep me going, lol).

    Isn't that crazy how the price can differ so much from state to state. Not fair.

    Can't wait to get back out there doing some LTCs, I'm really starting to have withdrawals.

    Blooming Flowers

  8. Thanks for this great pictorial!!! I love alcohol inks but could only get instructions from the Ranger books. And to be honest, it's so much easier to learn with step by step pictures. I've been just throwing some stuff on the glossy cardstock and swirling it around. I love this mottled look! Thanks so much for taking the time to show us how it's done! So easy, too!

  9. This is so cool. I can't wait to go play with my inks. Thanks for the pics...

  10. My plan was to use them on the back of my domino pendants but I hear the people who have lotion or perfume will end up with the ink from the domino on their skin. What will prevent this?