his article will introduce you to the basics of the alcohol ink art technique. We will give you step by step instructions for your first paintings and outline what you should pay attention to. In this tutorial, you will learn the different terms and get an overview of the required materials.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Alcohol Ink Painting?
- 2 Materials Needed For Alcohol Painting
- 3 How to Use Alcohol Ink
- 4 Varnish For Protecting Your Artwork
- 5 Taking Safety Precautions
- 6 Painting Inspiration For Alcohol Inks
- 7 Alcohol Ink with Zentangle
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
What is Alcohol Ink Painting?
Alcohol ink refers to a fluid painting technique as well as to the painting medium itself. This technique comes from the American region and has become really popular there – very similar to acrylic pouring. The alcohol ink paints consist of pigments and a large amount of alcohol, which evaporates very quickly. This has many advantages. You can dissolve alcohol inks with alcohol at any time and change them further or add more colors.
Materials Needed For Alcohol Painting
Alcohol Ink Set: Perfect For Getting Started
Ideal for beginners are Alcohol Ink Kits. They usually contain inks, yupo paper, stamps and much more. Furthermore Alcohol Ink Sets are often cheaper than if you buy all products separately.
Recommendation: RANGER Alcohol Ink Set
This set includes everything for anyone wanting to start experimenting with alcohol ink painting. There are a few alcohol ink bottles, a blending solution, a mini archival ink pad, and an alcohol ink techniques book included. This is the ideal starter kit for alcohol ink art, as it includes all of the necessary tools to begin creating your first masterpiece. To make the alcohol ink painting more enjoyable and varied, there are even clear stamps, an ink applicator tool, and 10 felt pieces included. If you are new to alcohol painting, a starter kit like this can provide great insight into working with this medium.
There are wide-ranging alcohol ink sets available. These include different color ranges, bottle sizes, and brands. You could choose a large set or just purchase individual colors. A cheap solution is also to refill the existing bottles.
Blending Solution and Isopropanol
Besides the alcohol inks, you can also use other painting materials. One of these is the blending solution, which helps you to lighten colors and create color gradients. This was specially developed for alcohol ink techniques. The cheaper alternative is isopropyl alcohol, which should have a high alcohol content. Isopropyl alcohol is especially suitable for dilution. You need quite a large amount of these solutions – just like you need water when painting with watercolors.
Yupo Paper and Other Painting Surfaces
The painting background for alcohol inks must be absolutely waterproof so that the ink does not sink into the painting surface It should also be as smooth as possible so that you can control the result more accurate;y. This is why Yupo paper, which has been specially developed for this purpose, is particularly suitable as a painting background. Other good options are stone paper, universal painting backgrounds, glass, or metal.
Permanent Markers For Accents and Decorations
After your pictures have dried, you can apply exciting details and decorations with permanent markers. These can be for example outlines, dots, or other shapes. These are great for finer details.
Drying Aids For Beautiful Color Gradients
For perfect color gradients, you should use some kind of drying aid. These can also expand your creative possibilities to create even more unusual and creative works of art.
How to Use Alcohol Ink
As soon as you have the required tools – consisting of alcohol ink blending solution or isopropanol and a suitable painting background, you can start alcohol ink painting.
First, add some blending solution or isopropanol to the Yupo paper. Now carefully dribble the first alcohol ink color onto the paper. These drops will spread out in a circle. If you put another drop of another color into the first blob, it will spread and displace the first color in the middle.
If you add another drop of paint next to the one already on the painting surface, you will displace the already applied paint. The same happens if you apply some bleaching solution or alcohol instead of paint. This will result in a darker line and shiny edges. This way, you create variety and highlights.
If you first apply a generous amount of alcohol and only then drip the paint into it, it will spread out more evenly and you can swivel the painting ground or spread it further with a hole blower or hairdryer. You can also continue working on your painting after a day or a week, as soon as you apply some paint or blending solution.
Felt Stamps For More Creative Possibilities
Felt stamps offer further creative possibilities. You put different alcohol colors on the felt piece and at the end some blending solution. Then you can stamp with it to create unique designs. For example, you can create cards or other decorations. To take it further, you can embellish them with permanent markers or some alcohol on a brush.
You can also paint realistic landscapes with alcohol inks. However, this requires some practice, so it is recommended to experiment with abstract paintings and gradients first. Once you know the colors and their properties, you can develop your own style step by step. Also, many different tools like straws, hole blowers, brushes, cotton swabs etc. can create unique effects. Alcohol ink can also be combined with other painting media to create exciting effects.
Varnish For Protecting Your Artwork
Alcohol colors are relatively light sensitive. Therefore, you should seal your finished works. The easiest way to do this is with a spray varnish, which protects your pictures from UV light and mechanical effects. For this purpose, a UV-protection is suitable for spraying.
Taking Safety Precautions
If you cannot work in a well-ventilated room, we recommend using respiratory protection when working with alcohol ink, as well as protective gloves. This will protect you from exposure to potentially dangerous fumes and chemicals from the ink.
Painting Inspiration For Alcohol Inks
Below you can find more inspiration for artwork with alcohol inks – get inspired!
Alcohol Inks on Ceramics
Besides tiles, you can also decorate dishes with alcohol inks – from plates, cups to vases, everything is possible. The procedure here is the same as on Yupo paper, but the challenge lies in the mostly round shapes – here the colors sometimes run unexpectedly. Another possibility is the application of alcohol inks with an airbrush gun. This way a very specific application is possible and realistic pictures can be sprayed with it.
To make the alcohol inks stick better, you can place the painted porcelain in the oven at 302 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour. The colors will burn into the surface, and the paint application will be more resistant. A dishwasher damages the paint, so after the paint has baked hand washing is recommended.
Coloring Epoxy Resin – Resin Petri Dishes
Alcohol can be used to color epoxy resin – for example for resin art. You can get a visually inflated impression by filling silicone molds with crystal clear resin and then dripping alcohol ink colors directly into the resin. The chemical reaction creates so-called “petrified rainbows”, i.e. petri dish effects. So you can enhance your resin artwork with fascinating color effects.
Alcohol Ink with Zentangle
You can achieve an equally ingenious effect by combining a classic alcohol ink image with the Zentangle technique. Create a beautiful image with color transitions. After drying, you can apply your Zentangle patterns with waterproof markers. You can apply simple or complex patterns depending on your mood.
Frequently Asked Questions
We answer the most common questions about alcohol inks and this method of creating art below.
Can Epoxy Resin be Colored with Alcohol Ink?
Yes, this is possible without any problems. You can add a few drops of alcohol ink after you have mixed resin and hardener. Alcohol inks are very well suited for coloring epoxy resin because due to the transparency you can see through the paint in spite of the color.
Can You Make Alcohol Ink Yourself?
Want to know how to make alcohol ink? Alcohol inks can be made by mixing printer ink with isopropanol. The mixing ratio is 2 parts printer ink with 1 part isopropanol. In this way, you can make your own alcohol inks very cheaply.
Which Varnish is Best For Alcohol Ink?
Alcohol colors are relatively light sensitive. Therefore you should seal your finished works every time. The easiest way to do this is with a spray varnish, which protects your pictures from UV light and mechanical effects. For this purpose, a UV-protection is suitable for spraying.
How Does Alcohol Ink Work?
Add some blending solution or isopropanol to the Yupo paper. Now carefully dribble the first alcohol ink color onto the paper. These drops will spread out in a circle. If you put another drop of another color into the first blob, it will spread and displace the first color in the middle. If you add another drop of paint next to the one already on the painting ground, you will displace the already applied paint again.
Alcohol ink painting is a unique artistic activity that offers some very rewarding results. We hope that this guide has taught you how to use alcohol ink, and inspired you start making your own beautiful creations!