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Alcohol Ink Art Tutorial [Alcohol Inks 101]

This step-by-step alcohol ink art tutorial is all that is needed to make your first alcohol ink painting. Are you ready to paint?

Abstract fluid art background dark purple and black colors. Liquid marble. Acrylic painting on canvas with lavender lines and gradient. Alcohol ink backdrop with violet wavy pattern.

Bring the materials out and prepare for the time of your life! Painting with alcohol ink is trendy, and we will take you through the entire process of making a beautiful alcohol ink painting. The best part is that you can do this without any help from anybody else.

We will guide you through the alcohol ink painting process, and the required materials. You could already have these materials at home, or they might need to be bought online.

So, once you have laid the ground to begin painting, read the steps given in the tutorial. Or, follow the instructions by placing them somewhere next to you for easy reference. Without much ado, let's learn something about alcohol inks and painting with them.

The DIY Alcohol Ink Art Tutorial

Making beautiful paintings using the alcohol art technique is in vogue, and many creative people paint to express themselves. You, too, can learn how to make remarkable pictures using the technique by going through this detailed and comprehensive tutorial.

Let us read the tutorial and learn the steps involved in bringing the technique to color and life on paper. Then, we will follow with the materials required for painting with the alcohol art technique. We will also look at products designed primarily to enhance the experience of this kind of artwork.

Finally, a look at a few precautions while handling alcohol ink will be revisited so that you always remember to be safe while painting. We will also highlight other materials that can be painted by using this technique.

Alcohol Art Tutorial 1 | Step-by-Step Painting

White and Gold Stains. Blue ice Stains. Water Ink splatter. Aquamarine Drops Aquarelle paint.Mixing acrylic paints. Modern art.

Step 1

Preparing all the required materials, such as alcohol, alcohol ink, paper, and blending solution. Now the painting and experimenting can begin easily.

Step 2

It is best to make small paintings when you begin with the alcohol art technique. As you get more confident with the work you are producing, you can try different paper sizes for the paintings.

Also, cut A4 sheets into half to make smaller paintings. The back of the sheets can surely be used if you feel like experimenting. Carry on with this only for some time - while learning. 

In order to keep saving paper, you may even think about using double-sided paper paintings. Say for instance, maybe to decorate your home!

Step 3

Choose a color that appeals to you and then begin painting using the alcohol art technique. Put a drop of this colored ink on the paper and observe what happens. You will most likely see the drop spread out quickly in the shape of a circle.

Step 4

Now, pick another drop, preferably in some other color and gently drop it into the circle on the paper. Watch as the second color spreads out to displace the first color. It will form a lovely pattern that other colors can enhance.

Another option is to place the second ink drop next to the first one. Then the circles will blend with each other!

Step 5

Next, try a colorless circle with just a drop of blending solution or alcohol. The ink or solution will displace the colored circles as before. Familiarize yourself with this technique used to create contrasts with partial and shiny edges that are dark, almost shadowy in texture.

Step 6

Once you are done with the painting, embellish the effort with cotton wool, brushes, or even wooden sticks dipped in alcohol.

Step 7

There are options galore - just decorate the painting with markers on dried alcohol ink or use ornaments, beads, etc., to complete the painting.

Follow these simple steps to get the alcohol ink painting you have always wanted to make.

Alcohol Art Tutorial 2 | Creating Color Gradients

  1. The Straw Technique

You can create lovely color gradients on the surface of the painting by following a few simple steps. Prepare the surface of the painting by spreading alcohol all across it. Drip paint onto the surface and create color gradients by using a drinking straw. Blow air through the straw onto the painting to get those beautiful gradients you want! 

  1. The Hair Dryer Technique

There are a couple of advantages of using the hairdryer technique to create color gradients for alcohol ink art paintings. Firstly, blowing cold air does not affect the paper at all. Since there are no creases or ripples formed, you don't have to press them out once the color gradients are done.

Secondly, the hairdryer has to be held in a certain way. Hold it just right to create the lowest air pressure that treats the painting neatly. It ensures that the colors do not spread by themselves on the surface that might have to be dealt with later. 

Also, the alcohol will not get blown off the paper when held this way. It will keep the work area neat and clean. Just move the hairdryer slowly across the paper and keep it around an arm's length from you while enhancing the painting with color gradients.

  1. Other Techniques

Alternatively, one can make waves with the paint and enhance the painting even more with color gradients. If the technique is being used more often, get a borehole blower instead of using straws or any other device.

A borehole blower is like a tube with a pump balloon. It has the advantage of creating color gradients on the surface of the painting without letting moisture affect the artwork. Usually, when straws are used to create individual color gradients, moisture is formed that can damage the paints on the artwork.

Also, using too many drinking straws could lead to wastage, even plastic pollution, when they are finally discarded. It is possible to use other techniques to get the same results. Be watchful while using these techniques, even though they might seem creative and exciting. 

Always remember that alcohol is a highly flammable product. For example, when the hairdryer is being used, it is recommended to set it to blast the coldest air possible. It is advisable to take these necessary precautions to avoid any chances of injuries or accidents.

Supplies For Alcohol Ink Art

The materials that are required to paint with the alcohol art technique are few, and also readily available. There is no need to worry about collecting them to start painting. Some of them might be found at home, so you won't need to go out of the way to buy them.

The main supplies include alcohol inks and markers, blending solutions, and paper-suited for alcohol ink art. We will also take you through examples of the best alcohol inks and paper for the alcohol art ink technique.

Also, some additional materials can be used to enhance the painting. They can be used for other purposes as well, such as securing the final artwork. We will list these briefly so that you are well-stocked and completely aware of the options available for you to begin painting.

  1. Alcohol Inks

Different colors in alcohol ink are easily available online. The ink is the primary material that is needed for the alcohol ink art technique. Some of the best colors that are popular and used frequently by hobbyists and art enthusiasts are found in the Tim Holtz Ranger collection.

There are other brands that are great for the alcohol ink art projects you must already be thinking of starting. Let's Resin, and Pinata from Jacquard are two well-known product lines that can give a range of alcohol inks. We are sure you would be delighted to work with them.

Moreover, they are just right for first-timers who want to experiment and play around a bit with the colors to get a feel of the technique. That is because the brands offer ink and marker sets at low prices. The affordability can help start a project without having to worry about wastage and further expenses.

Talking about inexpensive options, refill bottles from Copic Marker are also available on the internet that contain refill ink. This refill ink can be used instead of alcohol ink. Later, when the painting is decorated and embellished, go for Sharpie markers to add some delightful finishing touches to your artwork.

  1. Blending Solutions

Most blending solutions used for the alcohol art technique contain isopropyl alcohol and glycerine. These two ingredients bring out the brightness of the colors. They can also be mixed easily with inks to give the best solution for the alcohol ink you would be using on paper.

Blending solutions can lighten the alcohol ink in use. They also help save a lot of alcohol ink when mixed properly to form a perfect blend with the ink. These solutions, along with the ink, are the basic colors used on the paintings.

Also, note that the quality of the isopropyl alcohol also directly affects the painting. For best results, use isopropyl alcohol that has 90% alcohol content. You can get pure isopropyl alcohol at 99.9% on the internet. They come in 1000 ml bottles at an affordable price.

The chemical isopropyl allows you to work with the alcohol ink, apart from the substrate that forms part of the primary layer used for the painting. Too much water or oil can harm the picture.

  1. Paper

The alcohol ink art technique cannot be used on standard paper. The surface has to hold the ink-shapes clearly. The layers of paper need to soak the alcohol ink just right so that it doesn't get wet.

Standard paper is usually so porous that it draws in the alcohol ink. But that gives you little room to make the painting you wish to bring to life. One of the qualities of the paper that can be used for alcohol ink art is its smoothness. The surface of the substrate has to be as smooth as it is possible to achieve the best alcohol ink art out of all the materials you buy.

With a smooth surface, it is easy to mix and blend the colors in alcohol and apply the ink in various ways to the substrate. You could also try other surfaces such as glass, ceramic, or metal for alcohol ink art.

Moreover, special kinds of paper can be used for the alcohol ink art technique to make paintings. Yupo paper or Stone paper are two such varieties that can be looked up in order to buy for training sessions.

  1. Miscellaneous Supplies

There are some other supplies that can either be gathered from toolboxes at home or bought quickly and easily over the internet. You will most likely need the following:

  • Varnish
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Hairdryer
  • Drinking straws

To sum up, the varnish can be used at the end to give a secure coating to the painting. It also provides a finishing touch to the painstaking effort put in by you to learn the art form. Rubber gloves keep the Yupo paper safe from the grease that hands collect. They also keep your hands safe from the isopropyl alcohol in the blending solution.

The hair dryer needs to be used to blast cold air onto the surface of the painting during the technique. And straws, as discussed earlier, are used to create individual color gradients on the picture. Just be careful about the waste generated and its recyclability while using drinking straws.

Paper Brands

Yupo paper is a manufactured product that uses polypropylene to produce sheets of paper synthetically. The paper is resistant to tearing easily and is also waterproofed once it is processed completely.

It is recommended that you wear rubber gloves while using the paper, as it repulses oil. Also, Yupo paper is sensitive. It can even catch the grease off your skin if you touch the paper bare-handed. Wearing rubber gloves helps avoid both problems.

As can be seen, the Yupo paper is delicate and not as easy to work with as standard paper. But it is the best option available to begin experimenting with alcohol ink art. Buy Yupo paper from the brands Frisk or Lanavanguard from Hahnemuhle.

Frisk manufactures the paper in the range of 85 grams/ sq.m. or 110 grams/sq.m. Using paper to create paintings when you are a beginner helps to gain a deeper understanding and acquire proper skills to use the alcohol art ink technique.

What Is Alcohol Ink?

Colors based in alcohol are better known as alcohol ink. Alternatively, painting in alcohol ink is a popular fluid-based technique used to make art. Alcohol ink is sought after as a combination of various techniques, a term that is usually used for paint in liquid form.

 If you have ever painted before, familiarity with different paints, such as acrylic paint, must already be there. To give you a more concrete sense of alcohol ink, we briefly contrast it with acrylic paints. Hope it makes things clearer for you.

Alcohol ink paintings can be refreshed and revived quite easily. The ink evaporates quickly, and it can be expected that the artwork you have made dries up easily without any hassle. However, it is easier to apply fresh colors onto the surface of the alcohol ink painting and change it as per your wish.

That is not possible to do with acrylic paints, as you must be knowing already. Acrylic paints need to be applied together in one go. Alcohol ink can be used gradually, layer by layer, to make beautiful paintings. Embellishing the artwork in alcohol ink is even easier than adapting the picture!

The trend for painting with alcohol ink started in the United States of America. It is not well-known worldwide, but has gained hype in the United States recently.

Do's And Don'ts For Using Alcohol Ink

Do not keep hands bare while applying alcohol ink to surfaces. Always wear a pair of rubber gloves to handle the materials used in the alcohol art ink technique. As we discussed earlier, blending solutions and Yupo paper need to be tackled carefully. Get a reusable pair, or buy some that can be discarded after first use.

It is advisable to use alcohol ink in a room that is airy and, at the very least, has the possibility of good ventilation. If such a place is unavailable, it is necessary to use a breathing mask, preferably with a filter, while painting.

There are colors in the alcohol ink that evaporate when applied to the surface of a material. The inhalation of these colors is harmful to your body. Not just in this instance, but the breathing mask is also essential while using an atomizer.

Alcohol Ink Art Products: Felt-Stamps

The manufacturer Tim Holtz also produces felt stamps to contribute to the growing trend of alcohol art ink. Felt is put on a surface that can be covered with alcohol ink in various kinds of colors. The felt stamp could also be used with a blending solution while using the alcohol art ink technique.

Later, you can decorate cards and other paper art with the felt stamp. Simply stamp it onto stationery or miscellaneous paper art that you would be using in your daily mail and correspondence .

Alcohol Ink On Other Materials

The alcohol art ink technique can easily be used on other materials, such as porcelain, Zentangle, epoxy resin, fabric, metal, and glass. Let us briefly see how alcohol ink can be used on these materials.

  1. Alcohol Ink On Porcelain

Have you ever glanced at a beautiful ceramic vase or the tiles of the portico floor and wanted to paint them? Well, alcohol ink is perfect for painting the surfaces of objects made of porcelain and ceramic too!

These porcelain objects can be used as gifts for friends and loved ones. The tiles can adorn the floor of the house or be used as an art display. Smaller tiles can even be used as coasters during tea-time, or simply be treasured for life.

Also, cutlery can be painted with the alcohol art technique so that you can have a ball splashing color onto the plates, cups, and other dishes at home! Just be careful about the color dripping while painting.

Almost all of applying alcohol ink on porcelain is similar to painting on Yupo paper, except that it might seem easier to use with paper. That is because the paper has a flat surface and other objects tend to be of different shapes. Round shapes, in particular, are challenging to paint on with alcohol ink. The ink can be runny as it is thin.

  1. Zentangle

The Zentangle technique can give you a beautiful image when combined with the alcohol ink art technique. It is entirely possible to apply the Zentangle technique to an existing alcohol ink artwork.

When this dries up, the Zentangle patterns can be colored further with waterproof markers. Use simple designs or more complex ones; both can look equally good in this combination.

  1. Painting Epoxy Resin

The colors of alcohol ink can further be used to paint epoxy resin. Just make molds of silicon and fill them with resin. Then drip alcohol ink onto the fresh resin directly. This technique results in 'petri dishes,' better known as petrified rainbows.

Go ahead, color resin artworks with these 'petrifying effects'!

  1. Fabric

Cloth is a popular choice amongst artists, hobbyists, and art enthusiasts to express themselves through painting. Be it a novice or an expert, coloring on the fabric would enthuse a person to take a palette and start experimenting away.

A brilliant way of using the alcohol art ink technique is by combining it with tie-and-dye, which is also extremely popular amongst hobbyists. Create beautiful and unique patterns on other kinds of fabric through several cloth-dyeing techniques and using alcohol ink simultaneously.

With more experience, you can dye silk fabric with alcohol ink to make elegant silk scarves. Be innovative; use spray bottles and stencils to fine-tune the alcohol ink art technique on fabric.

  1. Metal

To make metal artwork with alcohol ink, get an aluminum sheet from the market to begin your work. Lots of metal art enthusiasts also use brass, copper, and stainless steel for their artwork.

Then there is crafting, where it is possible to make beautiful jewelry pieces from earrings, bracelets, pendants, etc. The best part is, there are low-cost options in the crafting world, too, if you are just beginning to explore metal artwork in alcohol ink.

Simple metal objects can be converted into fashionable jewelry pieces with alcohol ink. Some other metal objects to consider are containers, tumblers, and kettles to pursue metal artwork projects.

  1. Glass

Getting light and soft colors on glass with the alcohol art ink technique is easy. The ink flows on glass and takes shape quite beautifully on the surface of the object you are painting. Place the finished artwork under light and see the artwork. 

It will almost resemble stained glass. Not only that, but the glass will also look as bright and radiant as the paintings on it. Seal the alcohol ink once the painting is done on the surface of the glass.

Vibrant neon colorful liquid background

Conclusion - Final Precautionary Tips To Remember

As you can see, the beautiful alcohol ink artwork that is seen around these days is that easy to master! Just maintain some safety and precaution while handling the alcohol ink. As discussed before, the ink essentially contains highly flammable alcohol.

Also, the colors tend to evaporate quickly and leave a scent. It might be necessary to cover your mouth and nose with a mask if the place of your work is poorly ventilated. We suggest that you begin on paper, and then try other surfaces once the skill has matured to a certain degree.

Remember to seal the artwork once finished, especially for those surfaces that may not be able to soak the ink well enough to keep it in place. Even better, apply a coat of varnish over the painting to seal it and give a sheen to the artwork.

That brings us to the end of this tutorial - all that’s left for you to do is create your first alcohol ink artwork! 

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