Alcohol ink has gained so much popularity in recent years. This is great for crafting enthusiasts because they are easier to use and less expensive than other types of paints. The only downside is that alcohol ink crafts don't last as long as acrylics or oil paint. If you want to challenge yourself with something new and different, then keep on reading! We’re sharing a few easy DIY alcohol ink projects in this post!
What are alcohol inks, and how do they work?
Alcohol inks are alcohol-based dye inks that dry quickly. The alcohol will evaporate and leave a permanent design on the paper or cardstock after it is applied. It is fast-drying and allows you to layer colors if you want. There are many different alcohol ink art ideas that can be done to make your handmade project unique. You can use alcohol inks with paints, foil paper, alcohol pens, etc. It is a very fluid and flowy medium that can be used easily, even by beginners!
What Tools Are Needed for Alcohol Ink Art?
1. Surface - One of the most important things to remember is that alcohol inks work best on non-porous surfaces. This includes synthetic or waterproof paper, Yupo paper, alcohol ink paper, glass, ceramic, plastic, metal, and vanished wood. When it comes to paper, you want something tear-resistant and waterproof. Other types of paper that you can try are glossy paper, acetate paper, and vellum paper. Unlike acrylic ink and other inks, you can’t create alcohol ink crafts on porous surfaces like regular paper, fabric, cardboard, untreated wood, etc. You want to keep in mind that you don’t want a surface that quickly absorbs the ink.
2. Alcohol ink blending solution - This is like water to watercolor. This solution is basically 90% isopropyl alcohol mixed with glycerine. You need this solution to re-activate the alcohol inks, move them around, lighten/subdue the colors, etc. For more intense and vibrant colors, don’t add too much solution. If you can’t get ahold of this solution, pure isopropyl alcohol (90% - 99.99%) is a good alternative.
3. Tools to move the inks around - There are a few tools that will help you create one-of-a-kind alcohol ink art. These tools will help you move the inks around seamlessly.
4. Glass surface - You need to remember when creating alcohol ink crafts that these inks are incredibly messy, and they will stain. They will stain your fingers, mat, surface, and shirt - everything within a couple of feet around you. Even your usually easy-to-clean cutting mat, crafting mat, or oven liners will get stained. Alcohol ink on glass surfaces is the best way to prevent all the mess and stain.
5. Gloves - Speaking of stains, try wearing gloves if you hate getting inks on your hands and fingers when making alcohol ink painting. Rubber, plastic, cloth - whatever floats your boat - as long as it protects your hands.
Alcohol Ink Art Ideas for Beginners
If you are new to alcohol ink or it’s your first time trying out the technique, here are some easy techniques that are great for beginners!
1. Running technique - This technique is effortless. All you have to do is put a drop of ink onto a piece of alcohol ink paper (or any non-porous surface of your choice) and run your finger through it to create a gradient. After you've made the sort of design that you want, you can leave it to dry or add more layers after it’s dry.
2. Dot & run technique - This alcohol ink art idea is similar to the previous technique, but instead of running your finger through it, you can use a paintbrush or cotton swab to make the color spread out more. You will need to apply pressure when using this method to emphasize the design.
3. Dripping technique - With this technique, you can use any surface, but a glass surface or a clear plastic one would be ideal. Simply drop different ink colors onto the surface, pick it up, and start tilting and swirling it. This will move the inks around, mix them together, and create such a lovely dripping effect on your alcohol ink painting!
4. Marbling technique - This fun technique involves a few extra tools. First, drop a few inks into a basin of water. Then, place a piece of paper (you can use a heavy cardstock or watercolor paper) in the water, just above the surface, and only for a few seconds. This is relatively easy and fast. The result is always unique, even if you use the same ink colors too!
7 Super Easy DIY Alcohol Ink Projects That You Can Try Today
Alcohol ink techniques are perfect for mixed media. It will adhere to varnished wood, paper, glass, plastic, and other non-porous surfaces. This makes creating alcohol ink crafts super fun and easy - even for beginners. Here are a few of our recommended crafty projects using alcohol inks!
1. Handmade Cards
One of the easiest alcohol ink art you can try is creating backgrounds on handmade cards. All you need are your basic card-making supplies, some alcohol ink paper (or Yupo paper), and of course, alcohol inks!
In this blog post, Lydia showed how she used these fabulous inks to add color to her floral die-cuts. She started by adding drops of the inks to the Yupo Paper and moving the color around with a felt blending tool. You can also use an alcohol ink blending solution to make moving the color around easier. Once she was happy with the backgrounds, she just let them dry.
Zinia also had fun playing with alcohol inks to create a gorgeous blue-purple background for her stamped florals in her handmade cards.
2. Background for Travel Journals
While most journaling lovers are more interested in dry media when it comes to embellishing and decorating their pages, a little mixed media fun won’t hurt! Nathalie added a lovely alcohol ink painting to spice up her travel journal’s background here. Needless to say, it’s a quick and effortless way to transform simple elements of her journaling pages into something more.
3. DIY Scrapbook on Canvas
If you’re a scrapbooker who’s tired of using the usual 12 x 12 scrapbook paper, then try creating your next page on a canvas! This is not just a great DIY home decor idea, but you can also make DIY gifts for family and friends. Our guest designer, Nenette, created this fabulous alcohol ink project using mixed media tools and techniques.
4. Stitched Hoop Art Project
Are you into sewing and stitching? We’ve got you covered! If you’re running out of colorful embroidery floss or thread, or you simply want to jazz it up, try using alcohol inks to dye them! In her hoop art project, guest designer LauraJane took it to the next level by stamping an image onto cotton fabric and using the dyed embroidery floss to do a backstitch of the image’s outline. How awesome is that? Try it on your next handmade project!
5. Circle Scrapbook Layout
Just like handmade cards, you can get uber creative with your scrapbook layouts! It’s one of the best and easiest alcohol ink crafts that you can try right now. Simply create a fun background using your favorite inks. Then, cut it out into a circle or any shape you desire. Add a photo, some journaling, and other embellishments, and you’re done! Easy peasy, right? Check out Kymona’s unique circle scrapbook layout here.
6. Personalized Ceramic Mug
Do you have a favorite glass mug that needs a little pizzazz?! Get out your alcohol inks and start creating! You can make your very own alcohol ink painting on everyday objects such as mugs, plates, trinket dishes, etc. Simply drop a few ink colors all over the surface and start moving the inks around with your hand air pump (or heat tool, if you have one). Keep on adding colors, layering, and moving the ink around until you get the desired look.
7. DIY Cellphone Case
This is a beautiful idea shared by our frequent guest designer Laurel Beard! If you have one of those clear plastic phone cases, then it’s time to jazz them up! You can buy these in bulk and personalize each by doing a bit of alcohol ink art. Use different ink colors and techniques to create unique results every single time. You can even add some bling like gold foil, gold flakes, sequins, or beads! Then, send them out as gifts to your family and friends!
Alcohol inks are a versatile and exciting medium to experiment with. These alcohol ink art ideas will help you get started on your own DIY projects and give you some inspiration on how to use this fun and exciting coloring medium to create unique handmade projects and mixed media artwork from scratch.