Monday, August 16, 2010

Blasted Alcohol Inks

Several people asked me to share how I created the background for this Just For Fun Color Challenge card...

JFF CC #24 - Ink Stained Roni

I actually learned this technique several years ago from a friend. The method I was taught involved a standard soda straw as the propellant! (Thanks Mindy!!) I have found that skinny straws work better than the larger diameter straws because the thin straws tend to focus the air better and are more precise for directing the air flow.

This technique has been popularized recently by Tim Holtz and his pairing this method with canned air (sorry I can't remember what he calls it).

His method using canned air is in turn what inspired my experimenting with the Blasted Stickles technique!

I will be sharing results using both methods.

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Glossy Cardstock

Alcohol Ink

Straw or Canned Air

NOTE: Due to the quick drying nature of Alcohol Inks some of the photos are "just for show". This technique really takes two hands and each step must be preformed immediately after each other. If these steps aren't carried out in quick succession it will not work.

Straw Method Instructions:

1. Add one drop of alcohol ink to your glossy cardstock.

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2. Hold the straw directly over the AI and blow as hard as you can. If your straw is angled even a small amount the resulting "splat" will also point in that direction.

(Just so you know, this is one of the staged photos as you can tell by the angle of the straw.)

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3. Repeat steps #1 & 2 using the same or additional colors of Alcohol Ink.

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And this is what your results may look like....

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Canned Air Instructions:

1. Apply one drop of alcohol ink to your glossy cardstock.

2. Immediately, give the alcohol ink a quick short blast** of canned air. This will result in a larger pattern than you might achieve with the straw method.

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3. Repeat steps #1 & 2 using the same or additional colors of alcohol ink until the desired effect has been achieved!

Below are several examples of this technique created with both the Straw Method (left) and the Canned Air Method (right).

You can see for yourself the difference between the two.

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CANNED AIR WARNING: Since the canned air is so powerful you may want to cover the surrounding area with newsprint or other scrap paper. I would also suggest wearing an apron. This is what my craft sheet looked like after I made the examples for this post.... It was also on my shirt, cell phone and several of the examples I made.

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Now I know most people tell you that you can't use alcohol inks on plain cardstock BUT I'm here to tell you that you CAN!!!

Below are examples of this technique (both methods) on plain old white cardstock. Granted the resulting splats don't cover as much area as those on glossy cardstock but it's something to keep in mind if you're looking for more muted results.

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**I wanted to point out that you will achieve different results using this method depending on several factors.

First it works best with short quick blasts of air as mentioned in the directions. Longer blasts of air release a bit of propellant creating an interesting pattern (notice the giant purple splat).

Also, I have found new cans of air are harder to control than partially used cans. These two examples were created using an almost full can of air....notice how thin the ink is and all of the extra little droplets of ink splattered along the way. This is what really makes a mess of your cloths, work surface and surrounding area. Nothing is safe ;) LOL!!!!

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So, there you go!

Another inexpensive and fun technique to try out!

Just think of all the color combinations you can experiment with.

I guarantee you'll have a stack of wonderful background papers in no time!


  1. Great little air gun you created there.

  2. SOOO COOL! Thanks for sharing your technique tutorial. Your card is gorgeous!

  3. Tee hee, too funny! I like your method best - the good old-fashioned straw. Thanks for sharing the process, your card is gorgeous!

  4. Thanks for another great tutorial!! i love AI and this technique is going to be my go-to for a lot of projects. As far as your craft mat goes...I just thought if was that way because you're so busy "making INKSTAINS".
    Thanks for everything make my day!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!