Another exciting new trend in art is painting with alcohol inks. Alcohol ink is a highly-pigmented, acid-free, and fast drying medium for non-porous surfaces such as glossy or coated papers, glass, metal, or plastic. The vibrant colors blend and marble well, leaving a permanent, matte finish when dry. We carry two lines in the store: Ranger’s Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks and Jacquard’s Pinata Color Alcohol Inks.
Working with alcohol ink takes some getting used to, and we’ve discovered several sure-fire tips and tricks to make using these products easier:
Use a paint brush (we suggest a round brush in sizes 2, 3, or 4) or the Ink Blending Tools from Ranger to spread your alcohol inks across your surface.
Suggested Surfaces: Ceramic Tile, Yupo Paper, Glass, Plastic, Metal, or any other non-porous surface you choose.
Alcohol ink dries quickly! Use Ranger’s Alcohol Blending Solution or 91% Isopropyl Alcohol to create more flow with your colors; both the solution and the alcohol act as erasers for the alcohol ink so that you can clean up any mistakes.
Don’t get caught red-handed. Inks will temporarily stain your fingers, so you may want to wear gloves when using alcohol inks. Also keep in mind that they will permanently stain porous surfaces (like your clothes!), so definitely dress in clothes that you don’t mind damaging, or wear a protective smock.
Enjoy the process! When working with alcohol ink, try not to get too attached to your final outcome – the joy is seeing how these colors layer and interact together.
Use your imagination when it comes to the subject of your piece. Don’t be afraid to go abstract and play with color combinations.
Create a bubble effect by using a spray bottle filled with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol for spritzing. We recommend starting at least 12 inches above when you spray to get a light bubble effect; spraying too close will result in your image disappearing.
Avoid smudges & smears: because of the alcohol content of the ink, your inks won’t be sealed unless you complete some extra steps - so if they get wet again, the ink will reconstitute and potentially smear. This isn’t so much an issue when you’re creating paintings that are meant to be framed or hung, but if you create objects for everyday use, you will definitely want to seal them.
The final step: sealing your painting is a must if your object is destined for use (like a painted tile to use as a coaster). We recommend Krylon’s Kamar Spray Varnish or a two-part epoxy resin to complete this step. NOTE: We recommend NOT using a brush-on varnish, as it will lift your color as you brush it on. As previously noted, if you’re using your finished painting as an art piece, sealing is not necessary.
Now that you know the basics, here are some ways to use alcohol ink in your next project!
Framed Coloring Page
Do you have a favorite coloring book, or an image you’d like to color in? Choose your favorite coloring page, insert into your favorite frame, then use alcohol inks to “color in” the image on the top of the glass.
Create one of a kind ornaments to adorn your tree or give as gifts. Try the following process to give your ornaments a beautiful finish in your own personal style:
Apply alcohol inks to felt applicator (2-3 colors work best), then dab all over the outside of the glass ornament.
If you’re in search of some extra glam, use a Leafing Pen (gold, silver, copper, etc.) to add metallic accents.
Apply blending solution on the used applicator felt, then dab all over the ornament once again. Let dry.
If you’re looking for that last bit of wow, when dry, add approximately ¼ teaspoon of Ranger’s Perfect Pearls (a pigment powder that creates a pearlescent effect) to the inside of the ornament. Cover the opening with your finger and shake ornament to coat the inside. Tap out excess pigment and replace the cap on the ornament.
Use alcohol inks to paint plain metal washers, then purchase leather cords, chains, or ribbons and string them to create colorful pieces of jewelry.
Painted Pewter Pendants
You can also purchase some pewter pendants to paint with alcohol inks to add a pop of color to your jewelry pieces.
Create accent tiles for a backsplash, or tile coasters or pick up small ceramic dishes to hold jewelry and make them your own.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to create finished paintings to frame and hang, you can try painting on yupo paper. Yupo paper is a recyclable, waterproof tree-free synthetic paper that is ideal for alcohol ink.
We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what kinds of projects you can create with alcohol ink. We can’t wait to see what you make - the only limit to what you can do is your imagination!
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