Thursday, July 25, 2019

Alcohol Ink Comparison - Marabu, Ranger, Brea Reese

Hello Friends -

I've been reading lots of comments on FB about the various Alcohol Inks that have hit the market recently. I thought I'd do a little side by side to show you what they look like on various materials.

The first thing I want to mention is that each bottle is different as far as the dispensing tip so this is going to make a huge difference on the control and how much ink actually comes out in a single drop.

The tip sizes from smallest to largest -

Marabu tips come sealed and they tell you in the instructions so pierce the tip with a push pin. That gives you some idea about how small it it.

Ranger's tip is about 3-4 times larger than a pin prick for the AI and much larger for the Metallic Mixatives.

Pinata's bottle for the AI is the same size as the Metallic Mixatives dispenser and is difficult to get just one drop.  This ink also has a tendency to shoot out when you're tipping the bottle.

 Brea Reese's tip is huge and VERY hard to control. Most of the time you get 2, 3 or more drops  unless you are extremely careful.

Here are the colors I used:



Pinata (didn't have their black)

Brea Reese

Glossy Cardstock 

Marabu - all single drops
Ranger - Blue 2 drops, rest single drops
Brea Reese - Blue 2 drops, Red 3 drops, Black 1 drop
Pinata - Blue 2 drops, Red 1 drop

Craft Plastic from Grafix

Marabu - All 1 drop
Ranger - Blue 3 drops, Red 2 drops (plus a drop that shot up by the Marabu Red), Black 1 drop
Brea Reese - Blue 2 drops, Red 3 drops, black 2 drops
Pinata - All 1 drop


Marabu - Single Drops
Ranger - Single Drops 
(plus 2 extra tiny drops that shot out as I was tipping the bottle)
Brea Reese - Blue - 2 drops, Black & Red Singles
Pinata - Singles

As you will notice the "spread" for the Marabu was consistent on all 3 materials - similar in size, shape and color. The black is more of a charcoal rather than pure black. 

Ranger's spread was all over the place from one material to the next. On one material it kept it's shape, on the other 2 is varied widely and feathered more than spread.

Brea Reese - I can't explain it but the spread varied the most of any...I have no idea why but it was just so random.

Pinata - Spread the least of any of the inks...they are fairly thick. Not sure if my inks are old stock or ???  It didn't fair very well in this test.


I wanted to compare Marabu's Metallic Alcohol Inks to Rangers Metallic Mixatives. I did this to show you why it's not a fair comparison (because so many people are comparing them).  You should also keep in mind dispenser tips....Marabu - Pin Prick; Ranger - Large Hole.

Marabu's Metallic Alcohol Inks are just that...alcohol ink. They are thinner therefore they don't have as much metallic colorant to them.  

Ranger's Metallic Mixatives have far less alcohol and larger and more metallic particles.

Metallics on Glossy Cardstock - You can see right off that Marabu's Silver looks more pearl. They spread like a typical alcohol ink would.  Ranger's Metallic Mixatives are a bit different - not nearly as much movement.

Craft Plastic - Again Marabu is typical AI movement - Ranger's thicker Metallic Mixatives not as much movement but further spread on this as opposed to the glossy cardstock.

Finally the Yupo - basically the same as Craft Plastic Results which makes sense since they are similar substrates.

You can make your own observations by the pictures.
Hope this is helpful for all you inky folks out there.


  1. Thank you so much, Roni, for sharing this chart! It is very helpful and I concur with the majority of your comments. My Ranger inks are fortunate they were the first on the market 'cause the mess they make dribbling and squirting all over the place would have shut the door on additional purchases. The Pinata inks, granted they are old stock, left ?pigment? granules in the bottles that no amount of shaking could meld. I tried Marabu's blues and greens and was very pleased with the results on photo paper, glossy cardstock, and Yupo. Now if only I could snag Graphix's Opaque White Plastic where the shipping is less than the product!

  2. I'm so glad that you had similar results. I agree about the Ranger AI's - they are messy but for so long they were all we had. I used to play with AI's quite often but they were just so messy I finally gave up trying to make nice with them. The newer inks are so much nicer to play with and far easier to control. I thought it was just my Pinata inks so maybe it is something with their line.

    I wish I would have known you were looking for that paper. Joggles just had a great sale on it. At the moment it's $14.39 which is still a great deal. Not sure where you're located so don't know what shipping would be - she doesn't over charge on shipping so that might be a good option. (and I'm not affiliated with them in any way...just love their prices/sales - LOL!!).

  3. I agree. Of all the online, individually owned suppliers, Barb and Simon own the field, hands down IMHO. The colors of the blue/green Marabu AI inks trumped White Plastic last week but it's turn will come soon enough! I had some transparent DuraLar hanging around and played with that and AI instead.
    Again, thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!