Monday, May 26, 2008

Painting with Alcohol Inks!

I promised to share the technique I used to create this ATC today but things got a little crazy here...we were working over at the building a bit longer than anticipated but fear's here at last :)

HG - April 017

A couple things before we will notice that I use a waterbrush filled with Ink Blending Solution to paint with. I suggest you keep two actually. I use a "good" waterbrush to paint with. By good I mean it's got a regulated flow of liquid to the brush. I like this type because you don't need much IBS on your brush to move the inks around. The second is a cheap waterbrush I bought in a multi pack at Hobby Lobby. It is not regulated and I keep it handy in case I make a mistake. If you do happen to get ink where you don't want it or apply too much, etc. simply swab it up with the 2nd brush. Works like a charm!

Painting w AI's001


Adirondack Alcohol Inks- Ranger

Ink Blending Solution - Ranger

Archival Ink - Jet Black - Ranger


Rubber Stamp - Just For Fun

Waterbrush (filled with Ink Blending Solution)

Discarded lid or paint palette (for your inks)

Dry Cloth (for wiping off excess Ink Blending Solution)


1. Stamp your image onto the transparency using Archival Ink. Let dry. (Note - this ink dries very quickly on non-porous surfaces.

Painting w AI's002

2. While your image is drying put a drop or two of the colors you will be using on your palette. I use an old butter lid. You will notice I don't clean it in between uses ~ the inks can be revitalized but just swirling a bit of Ink Blending Solution on them and I hate to waste good inks ;) If you're worried about the inks mixing you can use one of the sectioned paint tins.

Painting w AI's006

3. This is VERY important...once your image has tried flip it over!! If you don't the second your brush hits the Archival Ink your image will be destroyed!!!

4. You want to start painting with a virtually dry brush. This will give you better control over the inks as they have a tendency to spread if too much Ink Blending Solution is used.

Painting w AI's005

5. Start "painting" by simply picking up a bit of the Alcohol Ink on the tip of your brush and applying it to the desired section(s).

Painting w AI's003

There is no set law on how to apply the colors....I like to apply the darkest color first and work lighter. I usually use 2-3 colors of ink per section. Other people apply only one color to each section resulting in a stained glass look. It's totally up to you on how you want the finished image to look.

Painting w AI's007

Notice how several colors adds depth to the image. I used Pesto, Meadow & Lettuce on the leaves and Cranberry, Wild Plum & Currant on the flower.

6. Finish painting the image and let dry. I usually leave them sit for 5 minutes just to be sure but they are usually dry before then. Just depends on the room temp & humidity.

Painting w AI's008

Flip it over to see what you've got....

Painting w AI's009

You can use your image as is or mount it onto a piece of white cardstock which is what I did for this image. I like to attach it to the cardstock using a bit of Glossy Accents. It dries quickly and clear. It is now ready to use!

Painting w AI's010

And now you know how to paint with Alcohol Inks! Hope you all give it a try...specially those of you that haven't removed your Alcohol Inks from their packaging....I won't name names but you know who you are ;P LOL!!


  1. Hey! Are you talking about ME????!! LOL! Well, now you're giving me yet another reason to pull out my alcohol inks...! That flower is awesome, and I agree about using more than one color to give it dimension. I have a stamp image of a stained glass flower that would perfect for this technique!
    Now I just need to get some blending solution.

  2. I've used AIs a lot but never painted with them. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for another great technique!

  3. guess I will have to break down and buy another toy when i go on vacation and to the huge scrap store in Pigeon Forge! grrrr- thanks Roni---LOL
    maybe i will just have to break my spending freeze for this---- and i have done so well this entire year--sigh

  4. Working with the Blending Solution in a water brush just rocks. I love that little tool and I also fill it with Future Floor Wax, diluted ink and water mixes... pretty much anything in liquid form. It works like a charm.

    I love working with acetate and transparencies, too, and I always attach with Glossy Accents. It dries clear and you can't even see how or where it attaches to the ACT or card. Very, very cool!

  5. Wow, what a great idea! Thanks for sharing yet another AWESOME tutorial

  6. What a fabulous idea! I love alcohol inks, but would never have thought of this! Thank you!!

  7. ROFL ~ ummm I said no names Karen but YES ;) I was hoping you'd catch that - LOL!!

    I'm glad you all like it...I've done it for a while now. I never gave it much thought technique wise until Phinny asked about the original ATC I posted.

  8. Thanks for this tutorial -- now to just give it a try.

    Sheryl H

  9. I love the easy flowing coloring that can be done with alcohol inks!
    YOUR multi-colors are FABULOUS!!!LOVE your suggestion of a second brush! I am a sparkle kinda gal and enjoy adding stickles after the inks are dry so they can shine through the inks.

    Also I love making tags this way out of recycle packaging plastic.

  10. Hey Far North - way cool! I do that too. I cut pieces from the clear plastic on packages of art supplies all of the time. It's nice and heavy, and better quality than I can find (for an outrageous price, too).

    I just added a rectangle overlay from that packaging plastic to a piece last night. I stamped with solvent ink around the outside so it kind of framed the image. Then I lightly dabbed Butterscotch alcohol ink over the whole thing and it turned out looking like a soft wash of yellow. Then I glued (I use Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze to glue) over a decoupaged cut out of a woman to add that little extra pop and dimensional interest. It worked beautifully.

    The way I look at it, I am helping the environment AND saving money.


  11. OMG, this is super gorgeous. Love the beautiful colours and technique. Alcohol Inks are 1 of my fave products to use!!! Once again, thanks for sharing Roni.

  12. WOW!! I will have to try this. Thanks so much for sharing how to use this technique!!!

  13. I didnt see in your instructions where the blending solution comes in to play. I was also told that the only kind of paper the inks would adhere to is the glossy paper. So of course I bought some.
    Could you give me some feed back on this?

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  15. Monika~ I filled the waterbrush with the Ink Blending Solution. This is what allows the inks to be picked up (even when they dry on the lid) and blended with ease.

    You can use alcohol inks on virtually any surface. Most techniques require the glossy cardstock for flow & spreadability.

    Copic markers are basically alcohol inks in pen form and those work on mat paper but it produces a totally different look.

  16. this is brill, great informative blog hun xx

  17. Cquestion because I'm new to the inks, but if I wanted to do a large project could i free the drawing in on side of glass let dry flip it over and paint witn the ink on the otherside and get a simular effect? I' love to make a sofa sized piece.


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!