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Alcohol Inks

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Why I Love Them

I am a mad scientist in a secret laboratory. I am a chemist finding a cure for boredom. I am these things and more, thanks to discovering alcohol inks: I am finding new ways to create.

I satisfy a lifelong “medical” fascination by mixing chemicals and fluids, using random tools like long cotton swabs, alcohol wipes, needles, toothpicks, eye droppers, etc.  I get my hands dirty.  I like the smell of alcohol.

It’s all one big experiment for me.  Sometimes the results are controlled, and sometimes they are unexpected.  The abstract often becomes more than what was intended; “happy accidents” abound.  Ultimately, the process by which I achieved the results is often my most treasured aspect of creating.

What They Are & Where to Buy

Alcohol inks are acid-free, fast-drying, highly-pigmented inks that can be used to paint on non-porous surfaces, such as Yupo® Synthetic Paper, glossy papers and card stocks, metal, glass, acetate, shrink plastic, and other shiny substrates (like dominoes, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Alcohol inks can be found online and at local retailers like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  Ranger Adirondack alcohol inks are often sold in 3-pack color kits, like the ones linked to below.  This is great to get your feet (or hands) wet if you’re interested in trying alcohol inks.

You may also want to try these Ranger products:

I have recently tried other brands of alcohol inks and am happy to report that I adore the WOW factor from the vibrant colors of Piñata Inks by Jacquard and superior color selection and versatility of Spectrum Noir inks.



Supplies: My Weapons of Choice

I’ve put together a crazy diagram and list of supplies for those who are interested in experimenting with alcohol ink painting.  As I continue to try new techniques, I will be sure to update the list.  Check out this blog post for all the deets.  Also, you’ll need to know what you can paint on.


Note: you do NOT need all the stuff I list on either of these blog posts.  To create an alcohol ink painting, all you really need is ink and something to put it on…the rest of the tools you use, if any, are completely up to you.