Getting Started with Alcohol Inks – Art is Basic

Janice K. Johnson

I recently took a workshop at a local gallery with artist Kinga Johnson. I learned a lot of great tips and techniques for working with alcohol inks. I bought some of my own alcohol inks and experimented at home and I wanted to share with you some easy ways to get started using alcohol inks.

It is a really fun process and you can use the resulting papers for fun backgrounds or to cut out and make collages. You can also just frame the pieces as they are. I do not recommend this to be done with young students at a school though, because there are all kinds of warnings on the bottles about being flammable and dangerous to inhale.

I bought two kinds of alcohol inks: the store brand kind from Hobby Lobby for $3.99 each and an Alcohol Ink set by DecorRom with many colors for $18.89. The store brand bottles from Hobby Lobby seemed more vibrant and easier to blend, so I recommend those. Both kinds worked fine, I just liked the other ones more.

You also will need rubbing alcohol higher than 90%. You can put the alcohol inside a little squeeze bottle.

You can put your paper on top of a baking tray lined with paper towels to keep your work surface clean.

Another tool that you can get is an air blower tool from Tim Holtz. You just squeeze it and air comes out of it to blow the ink around. (You may also notice in this picture a set of Alcohol Pearl inks. I do not recommend these, they did not blend nicely for me.)

You can also use a straw to blow air. Both give slightly different results.

All you really need to do to get started is drop the ink on your non-porous paper and then drop some of the rubbing alcohol on top of that and then blow the ink. Let the ink move around the paper by lifting the paper and turning it from side to side. Continue dropping ink and rubbing alcohol and then blowing around the ink.

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