The other day, I played with alcohol inks. I’ve had several for a while, but other than this video tutorial, I hadn’t really played with them very much. It was time to see what these babies could do. Here are three things that I tried using all of the same supplies. My hope is to encourage you to get out a supply or tool you’ve been hoarding and actually try it out. It’s a really freeing feeling!
So here are the tree things I tried. I like all of the outcomes, and I’m so happy that they all look so different. Yay for variety!
The supplies I used for this set were Alcohol Inks in Pool, Clover, Stream and Denim, Mixatives in Snow Cap and Silver (make sure you shake and mix these up about 3 times longer than you think – the ball likes to get stuck in the bottom of the Snow Cap one!), Alcohol Blending Solution, Felt Blending Pads, a blending tool and Alcohol Ink Cardstock (this is handy because it’s already cut down to size, but sheets of 8.5″ by 11″ Glossy Cardstock work just as well and are more cost effective).
Technique One: Splatter
This one’s easy and creates a look I haven’t really seen before. It’s also very unique to alcohol inks because of the insanely fast drying times. Just uncap a color, hold it over your project and squeeze gently – one or two drops at a time – in a random fashion over your project. I went from lightest to darkest here. You can always layer the colors over one another, too. That’s the fun part! The colors mix and blend together depending on how wet they are. Just play around with it!
I also added the mixatives in the same fashion. They interact a lot like the regular inks in this fashion, so it’s a nice fun touch of metallic and bright white. Add more alcohol inks over the drops of the mixatives for really trippy effects. Silver + Clover on top turns in to this fabulous metallic teal.
Technique Two: Standard Blending (with a twist)
I started out with this creation by not wanting to waste any ink from my splattered look. The mixatives dry much slower, so I decided to kiss a new piece of Alcohol Ink Cardstock to my creation above. This transfered over just enough of the still-damp mixatives that I had some on my cardstock without adding any into my blending tool.
Then, I put the felt applicator on my blending tool, squeezed small amounts of all of my four colors into the felt and started to dab the inks onto my project. I did one coat with just the four blues, then I added some blending solution to my felt and did another coat. This makes the colors blend more easily and gives us this really nice turquoise look. I also love the small touch of mixatives – they’re definitely there, but they stand out and add areas of interest.
Tip: Alcohol Blending Solution removes the alcohol ink (it’s a solvent), so it’s great for cleaning off your craft sheet when you’re done playing. Just squeeze some onto a rag and wipe up. Super easy!
Technique Three: Striping
The awesome thing (and sometimes overwhelming thing) about working with Alcohol Inks is that you can almost always get two (or more) backgrounds out of one inking of the felt. This is the result of that. I wanted to use up the ink already on the tool, so I just striped it across another piece of cardstock. Work in confident strokes across the cardstock and hold it by the very edges to avoid big blobs where your fingers were.
Another little trick is to cut off the very edges – I wanted to mount all of these pieces on card bases, so I trimmed off 1/4″ off of each side. This makes the pieces look really finished, especially in the case of the striped look where the edges tend to be a little more blotchy and imperfect.
I hope you enjoyed this look into alcohol inks! I really enjoyed playing with them and would love to see any other techniques you’ve seen done with them. I know Tim Holtz has this really fabulous video creating a different kind of splatter look, and of course Jennifer McGuire’s Thinking Inking series is always full of fantastic ideas.
Oh! And on a shopping note: I prefer to buy the inks in open stock (by themselves) instead of in packs. This way, I can really get the colors I want. If you really like all of the colors in a pack, though, go for it! I find that analogous colors, like the blues that I used here, work the best when experimenting because they’ll always look good blended together. What do you get when you add light blue to dark blue? Medium blue. What do you get when you add green to orange? An icky brown. Trust me, when you play with like color families, you’re going to love the results a lot more often. That’s why I choose to buy the inks separately: more options for blending!
Thanks for stopping by today. See you again soon! <3
P.S. If you liked this post, you can click the “Pin It” button right below to pin it to pinterest. I think a lot of people out there have alcohol inks sitting in their drawer but don’t know where to start with them. Hopefully this will help!