Is Acrylic Ink the Same As Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol ink set

People embark on crafting for different reasons - hobbies, businesses, therapies, school projects, etc. One of the first things every crafter, whether a beginner or a pro, must learn and master is his or her ink. There are several types of inks available in the market for each craft or art. Honestly, they can be confusing sometimes. Here, you will learn about acrylic ink and alcohol ink.

Acrylic Ink

What is acrylic ink? It is a lightfast, water-based, and water-resistant medium. It comes in different colors and shades - iridescent, metallic, and fluorescent. Acrylic inks are runny and can be found in opaque, semi-opaque, and transparent formulas, very different from acrylic paint, which is opaque (nontransparent) and gooey. 

Acrylic ink is artist-friendly; it doesn’t smudge, bleed, or fade, and it dries quickly. It is usually used with a pouring medium, a substance with which the inks will be mixed so they can be poured onto a surface. This is necessary for the acrylic ink pouring technique - a painting method that uses acrylic ink mixed with pouring medium. This mixture is poured onto a surface like a canvas, wood panel, or a ceramic tile to make an abstract painting. There are many ways to pour ink, so the creative possibilities are unlimited. 

Surfaces for Acrylic Ink Pouring

Here are a few that work with this medium:

  • Stretched Canvas - Any size of stretched canvas prepared with gesso
  • Ceramic Tile - Any size or color of ceramic tile
  • Ampersand Gessobord - These pre-primed wood panels have a very smooth surface, which is ideal for acrylic ink pouring.
  • Any type of sealed and primed wood panel

Acrylic ink will surely spark your creativity as a crafter. You can use it on your cards with different stamp designs and sentiments.

Alcohol Ink

Artist Marker Refills

If you need a luminous color coverage on any surface, alcohol ink is what you’re looking for. This translucent ink is good for metals, resins, paper, glass, fabrics, etc. It works very well on non-porous (thick and compact) surfaces, but you can very well use it on other surfaces. Being alcohol-based, these inks dry quickly and can be modified multiple times. Although a little pricey, alcohol ink is a favorite pick in craft stores, especially in the scrapbooking section. But if you want to save money, there are video tutorials that will teach you how to make your own alcohol ink set. 

Other than paper crafts, there are more stellar surfaces that your alcohol inks will perfectly work on:

  1. Fabric - Alcohol ink works the same way as tie-dying. You can make patterns and designs just as you do on paper. Alcohol ink dying can be done on all kinds of fabric and is good for your cloth shoes, pillow, and bedsheets.
  2. Metal - Many crafters utilize alcohol ink on metal surfaces: artists create gallery-worthy alcohol ink arts, jewelers make pendants, bracelets, and earrings, and hobbyists create inexpensive designs for accessories.
  3. Clayboard and ceramics - Clayboard, as a fine arts canvas, is perfect for meditative paintings; ceramics are great surfaces to create alcohol ink arts on - you can see them in vases and coasters made from ceramic tiles
  4. Glass - Glass surfaces are excellent for stained-glass window hangings and other decoratives that create beautiful lighting. Artists love how the inks flow freely for creative mixing and blending. You can seal alcohol inks to a glass surface in two different ways. 1) Wait until the finished design has completely dried, and then spray it with a glass fixative or clear glass glaze. 2) Before the piece has dried completely, use fire to burn off the alcohol, and stabilize the dyes for a full stained glass effect.

For your alcohol ink paper crafts or just about any alcohol ink craft needs, you need high-quality supplies that will provide satisfying results. If you want to get great ideas on paper crafts and ink crafts, an amazing website to look up is Altenew. They have everything you need from cardstocks, patterned papers, envelopes, embellishments, washi tapes, stencils, alcohol markers, and more. They even conduct classes and provide tutorials in addition to their YouTube videos. The following are just a few entries from their card blog:

  • How To Color With Alcohol Markers
  • Layering Up With Paper, Ink, Stamps, Dies
  • Best Layering Stamp Sets For Beginners
  • How To Make An Inked Rose
  • How To Use Artist Marker Refill As Alcohol Inks

Plus, they have giveaways!

Inked Rose

Basically, you only need: 1. your hands, 2. alcohol inks, and 3. a surface to paint on to get started with alcohol ink crafts. But for better results, here’s a list of specific materials you will need:

Use Artist Marker Refill

  • Alcohol Inks - There are specific materials best suited to achieve your desired results. Of course, you utilize multiple colors in your alcohol ink painting, so it is necessary to choose high color density or highly pigmented alcohol ink as it contributes greatly to the quality of your ink crafts. It is best to do research before purchasing an alcohol ink set. Each set is usually contained in small bottles with a fine dosing tip.
  • Surface to paint on - For your alcohol ink crafts, choose a non-porous surface like glass, glossy cardstock, shrink film, plastics, metals, ceramic, and varnished wood. These surfaces will keep your craft from soaking in alcohol inks and fading.
  • Blending Solution - These are used in diluting and lightening the alcohol inks’ vibrant tones. This will help you not only in enhancing and modifying alcohol ink colors on your project but also in cleaning up your crafting area. The solution removes alcohol ink from impermeable (nonabsorbent) surfaces, tools, and your skin. 
  • Applicator - This helps in mixing different ink colors and applying without making a mess or smudges on the surface.
  • Pens - A wide variety of alcohol markers and pens is available at Altenew.
  • Storage - One of many crafters’ persistent dilemmas is keeping their workplace neat and clean. Organizing your tools needs containers that will help you find what you need when you need it. You get more motivated to work when your surroundings are clutter-free.

Artist Markers

Alcohol inks can be used in many different ways:

  1. Filling your artist markers
  2. As traditional alcohol inks to create stunning background effects
  3. As color embellishments on non-porous surfaces such as enamel dots (you can create your own to fit in any alcohol ink paper craft)
  4. As color embossing paste
  5. And many more! Check out the Altenew YouTube channel to learn different alcohol ink techniques.

Embossing Paste

Get your stamping and card making to a higher level by using elegant alcohol ink for your background and layering designs. Each ink bottle will help you create a little paradise in your imagination and make it a reality through your art. You can use alcohol ink crafts for your journal pages, decor pieces, scrapbooks, holiday projects, and more; you name it! 


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