Alcohol Ink for backgrounds. 

Hello, Thank you for joining me on my blog. Today I wanted to share my process for working with Alcohol Inks. Let me begin by saying that I LOVE this medium, it’s so pretty and fun to play with, but I’m by no means any kind of expert, this post is just to show you what works for me. 

I’m still very new to the Alcohol Ink technique, but I’ve enjoyed playing, creating and learning. Below is a step by step in pictures (Im a visual person) of how I’m using the Inks. I encourage you to check out the amazing artists / card makers who use Alcohol Inks to create absolute masterpieces with. 

To begin with, I’ll point out that I use Copic Markers rather than the Copic Refills, this is for a simple reason, I already have Copic Markers on hand and I don’t want to purchase more products, with the exception of the Colourless Blender Refill.

The paper you use is very important, on the examples below I am using the X-Press It High Gloss Ink Jet paper.

The other two items I used are a Copic Colourless Blender Refill and a straw. Yep. A straw. 

There are other Alcohol solutions you can use, but more on that towards the end of the post. 

Above: on a panel of X – Press It Ink Jet high gloss paper, I have scribbled on my chosen colours. I use a plastic board to keep my paper on, so I can maneuver it around without touching the paper, a straw that’s cut in half and my chosen Alcohol solution, which is Copic Colourless Blender Refill.

I drip the Colourless Blender all over my piece, but not so much that every part is saturated, keeping in mind we are about to blow the Alcohol and Copic ink around with a straw. This is not a stage were you can take your time, the alcohol will start evaporating. Using the straw GENTLY blow the ink around, you aren’t so much as moving the ink as you are guiding it around the page. 

It will look wish washy at first, as you blow, the hard lines will start to become more defined and you can manipulate the rest of wet ink into other areas you might like. 

Above: After I had finished up blowing the ink around, I dropped a few drips of ink to pool some colour away. This is definitely a very pretty panel (in my opinion) and you could certainly stop here for an ethereal look. 

Building up your alcohol ink colours is similar to like we would do with a distress ink/watercolor galaxy. Its best to let it dry and then add another layer on top. 

To add another layer without Copic Refills was a bit of a pickle, but I have managed a solution that works for me. 

Above: I simply draw more lines and add a little more Alcohol Solution to those areas and blew it around again. 

Above: second layer.

Next I wanted more depth, and to fill in those white areas at the top. (Even though I only intend to use a small section of this panel, I like to have lots of parts to choose from).

Above: I spritz the panel with Alcohol solution and added in more Copic colour. 

Above: after blowing the ink around I was happy with the look and began to start creating my card. 

A LITTLE FYI: 

– Different Alcohol solutions (brands) produce different results. When I use the Copic Colourless Blender Refill, the results are super vibrant. I’ve tried two other Alcohol Solutions in the past, which have worked well to varying degrees. 

Above: using Isocol, which I know Ink artists use and have great success with. I think this option might be better suited to when you have Copic Refills, I struggled to blur the lines and it created a grainy texture. 

Above: the same colours, two different solutions and two vast results. 

SPONGES: another way to use Alcohol Inks is with sponges, Ive done this in the past, but was never happy with the final results, but I encourage you to check out videos showcasing this technique, it just might be what works for you. 

– PAPER: As cardmakers we know how much cardstock / watercolour paper choice can make or break the result you hope to achieve. There are several papers on the market designed for Alcohol Ink work, Ive tried a Yupo in the past, I even tried photograph printer paper (which barely moved the ink, leaving me with watery lines). Currently I’m loving and using the X – Press It High Gloss Ink Jet paper

– HEAT TOOL: You can certainly use your heat tool or hair drier to move the ink around. Ive found, for such a small panel and the look that I’m trying to achieve the heat tool spread my colours around and I couldn’t control the ink as much as I can with a straw. 

– MOPPING UP COLOUR: If your colour pools to much in areas and gets really dark, instead of  trying to blow it around you can always just mop it up with a very gentle jab with some paper towel. I always have a piece of paper towel torn and on the side of were I’m working, there’s no time to muck around with Alcohol Inks. 

So thank you if you’ve made it down this far, I hope this has helped or are least satisfied your curiousity regarding Alcohol Inks. As I mentioned earlier, I’m no expert, this is just what works for me, lots of trial and error and cost associated with lots of waste… err practice pieces 😉 

Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting! 

Niki. 

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13 thoughts on “Alcohol Ink for backgrounds. 

  1. Thank you Niki, this is a fantastic blog post. I love the visuals of the process but you have also really explained it well. Thank you for all the tips! As you know I am still working with my inks/markers to get the results I want. I think that I saturate my paper too much which stops the lovely crackly harsh lines appearing. Off to have another go!!! Xx

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    1. Thank you Lisa 😍😚 I did think the first layer was very pretty and didn’t have many harsh lines. But i guess it’s like watercolouring, we all like different styles ❤ enjoy your play time 😉😚

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  2. YES!!! I’m so excited that you used Copic markers for this technique. I just can’t afford to get another lot of mediums to try this with. The results are fabulous and the paper will certainly help. Brilliant. Definitely need to try this now! xx

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    1. Thanks Ruth, looking forward to seeing your creations. My wallet is also glad that I don’t need to buy any extra items (well, the paper) to start playing with this technique. #phew 😘 thanks for stopping by, i really appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks Michelle ❤ i really appreciate you stopping by. I did start out using TH but I just saw ppl using the Copic refills and thought… maybe I could give the markers ago, goodness knows it was easier oon the budget that way! Stamptember is coming after all 😉😉😉🙉🙈

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      1. I think it’s great you are using Copic Markers. You get some fantastic results. I have thought about using refills but I don’t have that many colours. I’m definitely going to try with Copics! Thanks so much 🙂

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  3. Beautiful card Niki! I have copics but, no refills. What if I took the nib out of the colorless blender and tapped out some product? What are your thoughts?

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    1. It could work if its quite new. But what would you think of saving the colorless blender and using a household (cleaning) alcohol instead/ in the mean time? Would you have any alcohol swaps for cleaning your acrylic blocks perhaps?

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  4. Thanks for the comprehensive post Niki. I especially appreciated all the alternatives you are using, I have been looking for larger paper to work on so your suggestion is really useful. So far I have only managed to create 1 flower by accident 😆 and I’m keen to try the straw method to create another one. Thanks again!

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