Alcohol inks and four ways to use them
Alcohol inks can easily stain most non-porous surfaces. You can use them to change the color of metals, foils, acetate, glossy cardstock, plastics and more! Once you have these inks, you may find surfaces to modify that you hadn’t considered modifying before.
But how are these inks used, I hear you ask? I have seen many people buy them and then not know what to do. If this sounds like you, it’s time to break out the inks and see what they can do. As with many papermaking techniques, it’s easy to use alcohol inks once you know how.
Because they’re so good at painting surfaces, there’s a bit of caution that goes with these inks: make sure you have a mat to work on to protect your furniture, and wear something old when using them in case that you accidentally stain your clothes. The new color can be permanent! Once you take these precautions, you can start having fun.
The basic tools for using these inks include a wooden block with a handle, some Velcro, and a few pieces of felt cut to fit the stamping surface of your block. Glue the Velcro to the wooden block and attach a piece of felt to it.
You will also need a mixing solution. Choose one or more colors of alcohol inks and you are ready for the next step.
Using your alcohol inks
When you’re ready to add some color to your cardboard or other surface, place the item you want to change onto your protective sheet. Turn the wooden block so that the felt pad is facing up towards you. Now squeeze some ink onto your felt. A few drops will go a long way! Add more colors if you like, and if you’re using metallic inks, just add a drop or two of this as it will go even further than other types of ink.
Now just start stamping the colors onto your project with the wooden block and handle, bumping, turning and twisting until you get the color laid out the way you like it. Once you’ve applied enough color, turn the wood block back over and add some mixing solution to the pad. Stamp again and watch the ink colors blend into amazing new patterns. Stop when you are happy with the result if you can!
This method creates some amazing backgrounds for your scrapbooking layouts and handmade greeting cards. Try stamping on the finished background with a permanent ink such as Stazon.
You can use alcohol inks with acetate. I often use an overhead projector sheet (OHP) to do this. Begin as before with your acetate on the protective mat. Ink your woodblock tool and apply the ink to the acetate, then add some blending solution to the felt and stamp onto the acetate to break up and blend the colors even more. You can build up layers of color with this method, and because the acetate is transparent, you’ll have a finished result that lets light through the layers. You can still print an image on top if you want using permanent ink.
As an example of how else to use your alcohol ink acetate, I cut out some butterflies and cut them out of the acetate. I folded them in half and glued them to my card so their wings look like they are fluttering.
Imagine making flowers from the colored acetate and cutting the petals to curve up from the center. Consider using the paper punches to make some flower shapes if you want to try this.
As you can probably imagine, alcohol inks also stain plastics very easily. If you’ve saved a plastic chocolate box, try painting the plastic inside or outside, or both, for a nice effect.
You can ink foil with spirit inks. First tape the foil to a harder surface (like cardboard) so it doesn’t tear when you work with it. Then go ahead and ink the foil as desired using the same method as for paper, plastic or acetate. You can get even more interesting effects if you crumple the foil first.
Did you know you can change the color of your crystals, beards and alphas with alcohol inks? Use your applicator to gently dab the color onto the glitter. Again, you can use more than one color. The sheen of glitter will stay there after you’ve painted it.
Change the color of plain metal desks with alcohol inks.
There are many more surfaces waiting for you to try changing with alcohol inks. I hope you give this medium a try and that you like the results!
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