Quick Guide to Alcohol Inks (And Where to Buy Them?)

Last Updated: January 18, 2022

Do you find yourself constantly searching for the perfect alcohol inks? Do they seem to dry out too quickly and leave your paper with a sticky residue? Are you tired of wasting money on expensive alcohol ink sets that don't work well?

If you’re ready to try something new, check out this guide to buying the best alcohol inks for your paper crafts.

Brief Introduction About Alcohol Inks

Alcohol inks are acid-free, alcohol-based inks that dry quickly and permanently. These inks are dye-based and transparent. The alcohol in the ink evaporates quickly, leaving a design or pattern on the surface. Since it dries fast, it’s excellent for color layering and creating unique combinations, patterns, and designs. 

Nowadays, more and more artists and crafting enthusiasts are using alcohol inks for a wide range of projects - from handmade cards and scrapbook pages to mixed media art and DIY home decor. This free-flowing and fluid medium is also easy to use, making it a favorite among beginners and seasoned hobbyists.

Alcohol ink background on a handmade card

Rock Garden 12 Artist Alcohol Inks Bundle

Here are three essential things to consider when using alcohol ink:

  1. Use it on non-porous surfaces such as alcohol ink paper or cardstock, Yupo paper, glazed tiles, foil paper, glossy paper, glass, metal, plastic, acrylic, etc.
  2. Use isopropyl alcohol or alcohol ink blending solution to lighten, soften, and move the inks around.
  3. Use a hand air pump or air blower, straw, or water brush to help move the inks and get your desired effect.

Uses of Alcohol Inks

As mentioned above, alcohol inks are used for various DIY projects and in arts and crafts. You’ve probably seen those gorgeous marbled effects or galaxy-like designs on home decor items like cups, pen holders, keychains, plates, and even fabric! Using alcohol inks on DIY crafts is fun, quick, and easy. Let’s check out some more uses of these incredible inks!

Best alcohol ink set from Altenew

Water Garden 12 Artist Alcohol Ink Bundle

What Is Alcohol Ink Used For?

  1. Use it to refill alcohol markers.
  2. Create your very own alcohol ink art - on glass, plastic, metal, or paper.
  3. Customize your embellishments! Since they dry on non-porous surfaces, you can color your enamel dots and wood veneers.
  4. Make your embossing paste unique by adding one or two ink colors to it. 
  5. Add instant color (or colors!) to your creative die-cuts. 
  6. Make your own glitter color! 
  7. Personalize your beads, gems, or sequins.
  8. Create DIY customized gifts like mugs, glasses, trinket dishes, frames, plates, mobile phone cases, bookmarks, and tags. 

If you want to learn more about the different uses of alcohol inks, then watch the video below!

Alcohol Ink Supplies

Now that you know how to use alcohol inks, it’s essential to learn about some basic “add-ons” or tools that you can use to create one-of-a-kind artwork like a pro. Here are a few alcohol ink supplies that you need to add to your kit.

1. Yupo Paper or Alcohol Ink Paper - Some crafters prefer Yupo over regular alcohol ink cardstock because the former holds ink better. Other alternatives are any glossy paper or the back of a photo paper, deli paper (which has a tissue paper side and a shiny, waxy side), and of course, glass.

TIP! Don’t get too close to Yupo or alcohol ink paper when using a heat tool. These are synthetic and basically made of plastic. They will warp or melt easily when too much heat is applied. Keep on moving your heat tool and keep a good distance (6 inches or more).

2. Isopropyl alcohol (at least 90%) - Regular rubbing alcohol will do, but 90% alcohol is advisable for better results.

3. Alcohol blending solution - This helps lighten, soften, or move the alcohol inks around. But it doesn’t lighten it as much as rubbing alcohol. It does move the inks more smoothly.

Birthday card with alcohol ink art

Script Words 2 Die Set

4. Alcohol ink supplies to help you move the inks around:

    1. Ink blending tool 
    2. Hand air pump or air blower
    3. Straw
    4. Paintbrush.
    5. Water Brush - You can fill this with isopropyl alcohol or alcohol blending solution

5. Heat tool - It moves the inks and dries the surface quickly.

6. Glass surface or glass mat - Having a glass surface will make your life easier. It’s super easy to clean, and it’s not going to stain. It’s definitely one of the most important alcohol ink supplies.

7. Pipette - This is used for transferring rubbing alcohol or blending solution into your water brush.

8. Alcohol ink alloy or metallic mixatives - These are a type of alcohol ink made with custom metal powders that are reflective. These will add intense metallic highlights when combined with alcohol inks and blending solutions.

9. Anti-static tool - If you ever added way too much ink on your surface, they could get a bit sticky. You can use this to remove the stickiness from the surface.

Handmade card with alcohol ink background

Nature's Views Artist Alcohol Markers & Alcohol Ink Bundle (24 Colors)

What are the different types of alcohol inks to use and where to buy them?

If you’re looking for the best alcohol ink brands, then look no further! We’ve gathered some of the well-reviewed and much-talked-about alcohol ink sets right here. Let’s get started!

Best Alcohol Ink Brands

1. Ranger Alcohol Inks - These inks come in a 5 fl. oz. bottle and are available in a wide range of colors - 70 colors to choose from! They also sell alcohol blending solution, alcohol ink air blower, splatter brush, alcohol ink alloy. Their mostly earth-toned colors come in sets of 3 complementary colors or a set of 24. The precision tip on each bottle allows you to have better control over the amount of ink you’re using. One disadvantage with this brand is that each bottle only has under 15 ml of ink.

Alcohol ink for paper crafting

Nature's Views Artist Alcohol Markers & Alcohol Ink Bundle (24 Colors)

2. Altenew Alcohol Inks / Alcohol Artist Marker Refills - Our alcohol ink sets are vibrant, acid-free, and easy to use. Each bottle contains 30ml of the alcohol-based solution and can refill each alcohol marker up to 10 times. You can buy these individually or in sets of 12 and 24 handpicked colors. These inks coordinate with Altenew’s line of inks, making it easier for you to curate a color theme for your handmade projects. Shop for Altenew alcohol inks.

3. Copic Ink Marker Refills - Offers a wide range of colors available. At the time of this writing, Copic offers over 350 vibrant and rich colors. The old bottles carry around 25ml of inks, but Copic recently released a new bottle design that only holds 12ml of alcohol ink, has a long nozzle with a transparent body. The biggest cons here are the price for each bottle and you can only purchase them individually.

4. T-Rex Alcohol Inks - An alcohol ink brand for beginners with a limited budget. T-Rex inks come in 20ml bottles and are available in 3 different budget-friendly alcohol ink sets: warm tones, cool tones, and a starter set. The latter includes 11 highly saturated and acid-free colors and a bottle of their alcohol blending solution.

5. Rupert, Gibbon & Spider Jacquard Color Alcohol Ink - While the color range isn’t the best for this brand (they have a total of 27 colors now), it is quite known among those starting out with using alcohol inks. This inexpensive brand offers a basic set with nine fast-drying and highly pigmented colors. It is thicker than other brands and comes in 0.5 oz bottles. Their line includes metallic colors as well.

Where Can I Find Alcohol Inks?

You can find the best alcohol inks in your local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or online craft stores like Altenew, Simon Say Stamps, Ranger, Scrapbook.com, and e-commerce sites like Amazon. 

Sample Alcohol Ink Projects

Now that you’ve got an idea on how to use alcohol ink and where to buy them let’s get your creative juices flowing with a few ideas!

Alcohol ink background on DIY journal page

Alcohol Ink Bundle (24 Colors)

1. Try using alcohol inks for memory keeping! You can create a quick and instantly beautiful background just like what Nathalie did here.

Alcohol ink art on a handmade card

Altenew Alcohol Markers Refills

2. With a few drops of Altenew alcohol inks, some alcohol ink blending solution, and rose gold mixative, Lydia whipped up these two handmade cards with gorgeous alcohol ink backgrounds! How stunning are those colors?!

3. Did you know that you can use deli paper to create the best alcohol ink art? Yes, that deli paper - the thin, tissue-like paper used for wrapping sandwiches! Watch the video below and see how Amber did it!

4. If you don’t want a messy background, you can try heat-embossing your stamped images and adding colors using alcohol inks, just like what our guest designer Taeeun did here!

Coloring with alcohol ink set

Wonderland Stamp Set

Alcohol ink art is a lot of fun and can be a fantastic way to express your creativity. But before you get started, it’s crucial to learn the basics that you'll need. We've compiled this beginner's guide so that as soon as the alcohol ink sets arrive on your doorstep, you will be ready to create! We hope you found our pick for 5 of the best alcohol ink brands right now, as well as some basic supplies, extra helpful. If you need more inspiration or information about alcohol inks, drop by our All About Crafting page!


  • Terra

    What is an anti static tool??

  • Kelly Snyder

    Loved this video and your idea to use deli paper!

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