Alcohol inks - wet on dry
Alcohol inks – wet on dry

Recently I’ve been seeing lots of colour on social media and have been intrigued by the abstract shapes and blends. After taking a look at the methods they seem mostly to be either resin art, acrylic pours or alcohol inks. I was keen to have a go so decided to start with alcohol inks as these seemed to require the least amount of materials to try it out.

What are alcohol inks?

Alcohol inks are inks with an alcohol base which have an amazing vibrancy of colour which is due to their high pigment. They also dry very quickly. You can use these, along with alcohol blending solution to paint and create beautiful effects.

Materials used for alcohol inks

Materials

Yupo paper (Amazon UK / Amazon US)
Tim Holtz alcohol ink set (Amazon UK / Amazon US)
Tim Holtz alcohol blending solution (Amazon UK / Amazon US)

While you can use these inks on a variety of surfaces such as glass, metal, or ceramics, I used Yupo paper. This is thin but can hold the wetness of the ink without warping.

Once I had all my materials the only left to do was have a play! In the interests of health and safety I should mention that they smell, so please use in a ventilated area, and you may also like to wear some gloves. I decided to ‘be careful’ rather than use gloves and ended up with stained finger tips for a few days.

Make sure you’re working on a flat surface, and you also keep the paper flat while the inks are drying. I used newspaper on an old tray as my work surface to keep it self contained.

In my first session with them I wanted to see what they could do, so tried out wet on dry and wet on wet. I dropped the ink across the paper and watched it spread (wet on dry), then dropped on some alcohol blending solution which dilutes the inks and creates cool effects. This picture is at the top of the page.

Alcohol inks – wet on wet

For the next picture I wet the paper first and repeated the dropping on ink and blending solution (wet on wet). You can keep on dropping on ink and layering it all up until you get to a point where you’re happy with the effect.

Wet on dry using a hairdryer
Wet on dry using a hairdryer

Finally I dropped some ink on dry paper and then used a hairdryer to blow it around the paper, before using the blending solution.

I deemed my first session with alcohol inks a success. I think more time playing with then will help me to understand what the inks can do and slowly build up a knowledge base of what works and what doesn’t.

Uses

Dropping the ink and blending solution onto paper creates some lovely abstract effects and you can create further with these. Try cutting out different shapes and creating a collage to frame, or single shapes such as a heart or diamond would like nice on a card.

If you want more tips then click here for great advice from experienced alcohol inks artists and some lovely pictures for inspiration. You can achieve beautiful effects with these if you put in the time to learn the techniques.

Watch this speeded up video to see how the inks and blending solution spread together

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