How to use alcohol inks

How to use alcohol inks



What is alcohol ink

Alcohol ink is a fast drying alcohol-based dye ink, therefore is re-workable.   Beautiful flowing textures can be created by using a pump or a hairdryer while the product is still wet.   This product is best used on a specific type of paper such as Yupo, or on shiny and non porous surfaces such as ceramic tiles, glass, or clayboards.

Based on the above information, alcohol inks cannot be mixed with water-based products such as acrylic inks.

Products to use with alcohol inks

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (This is the type of alcohol appropriate for the inks. It is recommended to be used with extreme caution, as it has a very strong odour).  You may use any other type of alcohol as long as it contains at least 91% alcohol.
  • Alcohol Blending Solution (Delays the drying time of the ink, extends the transparency of the color, blends the colors, and seals the ink on the surface)
  • Resin (Seals and protects the inks)
  • Alcohol Lift-Ink (removes the ink)
  • Yupo paper
  • Air pump
  • Dropper
  • Sponge/stencils/stamps

How to use alcohol inks

  1. Rule number one:  Wear gloves!!!!!!  
  2. Start from the corner of the paper and drop alcohol with a dropper on the surface you are working on.
  3. Add a few drops of the color.
  4. Use a blow dryer or a pump to control the air and move the ink around the surface.
  5. Add more colors and keep moving the inks with the pump.
  6. Using a sprayer, spray a small amount of alcohol to create spots.

You may also use the dry method by avoiding dropping alcohol on the paper before using the inks.  

Other techniques with alcohol inks

Using a stencil or a stamp

Once you have created a background using the above steps you can take your work a step further by using a product called alcohol lift-ink.    As it name states, it removes the ink.   This product can be used on a rubber stamp, or on a sponge and a stencil to create shapes, text or patterns by removing the ink from the background.  You add this product on the stamp and press it firmly on the background for a few seconds.  You lift up the stamp and wait a bit.  The using a cloth or a piece of kitchen paper you dap the area to remove any excess color.  Then you rub the are to reveal the shape/text/pattern. 

Using a sponge

Cut a piece of felt and cover the sponge surface. Add your colours and some blending solution on the sponge and you are ready to create beautiful patterns. Once you finish you may remove the piece of felt and your sponge is clean.

Using Alloy inks

This new product added in the Tim Holtz alcohol inks collection, is actually a series of metallic alcohol inks. Their pigment though differs a little bit.  In order to seal this type of inks on the surface you must use a few drops of Alcohol Blending Solution.  This product ensures that the metallic pigment is well blended and sealed on the surface you are working on.   Otherwise it may be removed easily when it is dry, if you just rub the surface with your hand.  It is advisable to use Alcohol inks Alloy in very small quantities. (Note: the lift-off technique is not applicable over the Alloy inks).

 How to protect your work

Using a resin specially designed for alcohol inks will create a strong shiny surface, and protects the colors from yellowing and fading.  A water-based spray varnish containing UV protector is also recommended.. Whatever product you chose make sure you test it first on a draft piece of work.



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.