Alcohol Ink Makes Everything Better

Master alcohol inks and create art on practically anything. You can use on fabric, canvas, ceramic, paper, wood, and more! Here's how.

Creativity 5 min read May 20, 2022

Alcohol ink is one of the most versatile inks on the market. You can use it on any surface, like fabric, canvas, paper, wood, or metal, to create an amazing piece of art.

Made from an alcohol-based solution and an organic dye, alcohol ink is ideal for people who are allergic to other types of inks. It is widely used for calligraphy, drawing, and painting, given its versatility in achieving different results, for example, like a watercolor or a bubbling effect. In this article, we provide a beginner’s guide to alcohol inks and how you can use it on any surface to give a new look to any project.

How to use Alcohol Ink - The Basics

There are many different types of alcohol inks available and they are available in many colors, scents, and levels of opacity. Some artists prefer it over other mediums because it is permanent and non-toxic. What’s more, it is easy to find and relatively more affordable than most mediums. You can even make your own alcohol ink at home!

This type of ink is quite popular for beginners and widely used by scrapbooking enthusiasts, because it can be applied to decorating paper, fabric, glass, and more. It is even safe for kids to use and perfect for small crafts for them to work on at home.

There are a few ways to use alcohol ink. You can use it with a dropper, a spray bottle, or a paint brush. If you are a beginner, you will find alcohol ink pretty easy to use. You can simply paint and go!


Just start with a small amount and dilute it in water as needed. Next, apply color in thin layers, noting that it tends to dry quickly under normal conditions. Alcohol ink does not run or bleed when it is applied to any surface, and when you’re done, you can just use a paper towel to remove the excess ink.

It is important to keep your alcohol ink in the fridge and not anywhere exposed to the air, or else the ink will dry out and become unusable. Another important tip is to make sure that your paintbrush is clean because alcohol ink may adhere to the brush and make it difficult to paint.

When you are done using alcohol ink, it’s important to clean your marker, pen, or brush. Alcohol ink is a solvent, which means it will eat away at the bristles of your brush and leave it discolored and unusable with time. There are a few ways to clean your brush, but the best way is to soak it in a solution made with distilled water, a small amount of rubbing alcohol or bleach, and a little dish soap. The solution will help to dissolve the alcohol ink and clean the brush. If you want to remove the ink more easily, you can also place the brush in the freezer for a few minutes.

Using Alcohol Ink on Any Medium

Alcohol inks are fast-drying, extremely vibrant dye-based inks that can make beautiful artwork on canvas. But once you’ve got the techniques down pat, you can also use alcohol ink to liven up common household objects and decorate a variety of other items.

Ceramics

Ceramics are great canvases for alcohol ink. You can create blended colourful abstractions with alcohol inks on tiles, vases, and other household objects made of clay.

If you’re looking to create art decor with clay, use a clayboard. They work great with alcohol ink because they do not smudge, bleed, or feather as easily as canvas and paper materials.

T-Shirts

T-shirts are a good place to start, if you want those really vibrant, kaleidoscopic colours created by alcohol inks on canvas. Using alcohol inks on t-shirts is similar to tie-dying, except you have a little more control, thanks to the nature of alcohol inks.

Using ink spray bottles, you can draw patterns on your shirt similarly as you would on paper. You can also paint on a t-shirt similar to watercolour painting. And because alcohol inks work on fabric so well, you can also use them on pillows, bedsheets, and other household fabrics.

Glassware

On a glass surface, the ink moves freely and makes for an interesting blend of colours. There are two ways that you can use alcohol ink to coat glass.

Once you’ve applied alcohol ink, you can spray the glass after it’s dried with a clear glass graze. Or, you can light it on fire before it has fully dried to burn the alcohol off the surface, resulting in a full stained glass effect. Gorgeous!

You can do this on wine glasses and other glassware, but this works especially well for glass window panels, allowing colour-tinted sunlight to illuminate the room.

Jewellery

Alcohol ink also works with metal surfaces and can be used to design jewellery such as pendants, bracelets, and earrings. Dripping a mix of alcohol ink on your metal jewellery and then spraying on them with canned air is a fun and inexpensive way to make your accessories pop with colour.

Alcohol ink also works on copper, stainless steel, and brass. Thus, you can decorate other household items made of metal like tumblers, tea kettles, and thermoses.

Cards and Stamps

Yupo paper is a synthetic and waterproof variation of watercolour paper that some artists like to use to create stamps and cards. This is a great surface to apply alcohol ink on because it will not absorb the ink, but rather keep it in place perfectly allowing for bright, crisp colours to retain.

Additionally, you can use alcohol ink to create a background on your yupo paper and later sketch on it to create defined figures in contrast with the background. Experiment blending alcohol ink with sponges and droppers to add texture, use light scraping techniques, and try spraying alcohol for cool effects. Don’t forget to let it dry!

Enrol in an alcohol inks class to learn the different effects you can achieve with alcohol inks, the different surfaces you can paint on, and ways to effectively blend and mix different colours to make your pieces pop. You’ll be ready to work on these next-level projects in no time!

Excited by these project ideas? See you in one of our alcohol ink classes!

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