All About Alcohol Inks

Alcohol inks conquered the scrap market with their intense colors and amazing effects. You’ve probably seen them in scrap stores before. If you have been wondering whether this medium is something for you, read my post.

What are alcohol inks?

These are acid-free, alcohol-based inks with intense colors that are perfect for dyeing smooth surfaces. In scrapbooking, you can use them to create backgrounds or to color elements such as rivets, studs or cabochons.

 They are also great for coloring glass, porcelain and plastic. They can also be used to color surfaces previously covered with white gesso or gel medium. These inks give very interesting effects of combining and permeating colors, creating a beautiful effect of the so-called colored marble.

How to use alcohol inks?

Alcohol inks can be purchased in small dropper bottles, usually about 20 ml. It is most convenient to simply ink the selected surface with ink. However, it is not as simple as it may seem. The end result is usually unpredictable and the “sprinkling” itself can be problematic, especially during the first meeting with these carcasses. 

You can use a pipette for this purpose, then the amount of pressed ink will be smaller and it will be easier for you to control it.

On what paper can alcohol ink be used?

If you want to use ink on paper, you will need a specially designed paper. It can be YUPO paper – unfortunately very expensive but desired and praised because it offers great opportunities. 

It is a very slippery paper, thanks to which the inks spread very quickly and easily. Due to its ultra-smooth and slippery surface, it does not stick alcohol inks so quickly, so if something goes wrong, you can erase the inks from it. You will get a similar effect on a plexiglass tile. 

In addition, the great advantage is that when adding new layers of ink, we do not create a black spot, but the colors blend beautifully (blend). So if you want to make a background for a card with alcohol inks, this is a great medium. 

You can also create a ghost effect, kind of like a negative print. To achieve such an effect, you need to prepare the background, then make a print with the help of permanent ink, such as Archival. You make the stamp, the lighter the ink the better. 

Then, before the paint is dry, you wipe it with a cloth. What you will get in the end are white lines, the so-called ghost effect.

What else is useful for working with alcohol inks?

Also indispensable for working with inks is a medium that will allow for diluting, blending, and permeating colors. You can also successfully use high-alcohol alcohol. Medium is called by producers: Medium Blender, Media Ink Diluent or Blending Solution. 

The retarding medium is a preparation that prevents the carcass from drying out so quickly. As a result, you will be able to shape the shapes you are interested in longer. You will find this preparation, for example, under the name Retarder Retarder in the Aura carcass series from the Renaissance.

The tools that will be useful for you to work with carcasses, in addition to the straw mentioned, are a heater or a dryer. Thanks to it, you will not only dry the mascara but also shape the pattern. 

I used a dryer instead of a heater because alcohol inks dry quickly and warm air only accelerates this effect. Of course, when blowing on carcasses, we will get more interesting and irregular shapes. The application of subsequent layers of the carcass will also be easier and more visible.

How to start your adventure with alcohol inks?

If you have decided to try alcoholic inks, but you do not know yet if it is for you, you do not need to buy special paper or a lot of inks right away. Your two favorite ink colors, e.g. from Pentart, and an old slippery sheet from a wall calendar or photo paper are enough. 

You can also paint on glass or porcelain, generally anything that is slippery and will allow the ink to “spill”. You can also use a plexiglass plate, it is light and slippery. Perfect for the use of these inks. The ink spreads very well on its surface, my tests show that it is even a bit better than on LAVA paper. 

And if you are not satisfied with the effect, you can always wipe the pattern with a special liquid for thinning the carcass. For this reason, it is a great product for learning this technique and playing with the inks.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance with more colors, the effects are different and unique every time. And if something goes wrong, you can easily wash it off with alcohol and start over! Good luck!

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