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Substrates for Alcohol Ink Painting

What can I paint on with alcohol inks?

Alcohol inks are meant to be used on non-porous surfaces, so regular old paper is out.  Not to worry; there are many other options available.

  1. Inkssentials™ Surfaces Artist Trading Cards (Glossy White)

    – pre-cut 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATCs (20 per package).  More info here. I have seen these at Michaels, but I bought a few packs from, where they were a little cheaper.

  2. Tim Holtz® Adirondack® Alcohol Ink Cardstock

    – this is what I started out with.  I found the paper (4.5″ x 5.5″, 20 sheets per package) at Michaels.  It was fairly inexpensive and seemed a good enough quality/size to experiment with.

  3. Shrink Film

    – I can’t remember where I bought these, but I have several varieties – white, clear, and black.  They are pretty much the same thing as Shrinky Dinks, which you can now find at most craft stores.  I have actually not tried alcohol inks with these yet, so it’s on the list to do ASAP.  I’ll update soon in a blog post.

  4. Inkssentials™ Gloss Paper

    – same type of paper as 1 and 2 above.  Mine is 12″ x 12″ and was purchased online at  More info here.

  5. Inkssentials™ Memory Glass™

    – another substrate I have yet to try, but I purchased 2″ x 2″ and microscope slide sized glass at Michaels.  More info here.  I did try alcohol inks on a piece of glass from a small picture frame.  I wouldn’t say it was a “failed attempt”, but I wasn’t thrilled with the result at the time.  This is also on the to-do list, so I’ll be sure to blog about it whenever I am able to try alcohol inks on glass again.

  6. Yupo® Synthetic Paper

    – Yupo is my holy grail for alcohol ink painting.  This synthetic paper is waterproof and tear-free.  It has a satiny sort of finish – not terribly glossy.  It is non-porous as all substrates for alcohol ink painting must be.  Yupo is used by watercolor artsists as well.  It can be purchased in 9″ x 12″ and 11″ x 14″ pads (10 sheets per pad) or in large, individual sheets that are 20″ x 26″.  You can read more about Yupo paper here.  I recommend that you purchase Yupo online, unless you get lucky and your local art supply or craft store has it for a decent price.  My local art supply store carries Yupo, but the price is astronomical.  Why pay $20-30 per pad when offers the same thing for between $10-14?  Individual large sheets are a couple of bucks there, as opposed to $5-6 per sheet at the art supply store.  So far, I have only used white Yupo, but I believe I saw it on Amazon in clear.  That could be interesting.  Amazon’s pricing is a little higher for the pads, but still fairly reasonable, compared to local retailers.  I have not seen Yupo in craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

  7. Acetate / Grafix® Clear-Lay™

    – I bought a package of Grafix Clear-Lay a few years ago when I was going to submit artwork to Art-o-mat® (which I still haven’t done – jeez!)  I have seen several articles and videos on using alcohol inks on acetate but have yet to try it.  On the list.

  8. Dominoes

    – if you are the crafty type, you may want to try your hand at making jewelry or assemblage pieces with alcohol inks.  It seems like that is the most popular use of the inks, in fact.  I have seen many instances where alcohol inks are used on dominoes, for one reason or another.  Here’s an example.

  9. Claybord™

    Ampersand Claybord is made if 1/8″ artist hardboard and coated with kaolin clay ground.  I have done two alcohol ink paintings on Claybord.  I wasn’t happy with the paintings, but it was not because of the substrate I used.  It was definitely different than working on non-porous papers, but it was still very smooth and interesting to try.  I just didn’t really like my actual paintings.  I have a couple more pieces of Claybord and will try it again soon.  This is a more expensive alternative to paper, especially if you use cradled Claybord, but it definitely makes for handsome presentation.  Did I just say “handsome presentation”? Wow.  Anyway, check out the work of Jeanne Rhea, who does some really amazing work with alcohol inks on this substrate!

  10. Metal Embossing/Tooling Sheets

    – unfortunately, when I took this photo for my substrates diagram, I could not find a blank/unused sheet of metal, although I am sure I have one around here somewhere.  🙁  So what you see (and not clearly either – sorry about that) for #10 is a piece that I created by embossing a dragon on a copper sheet and then applying alcohol inks on top of that.  MercArt makes various metal sheets (and embossing tools, etc.), which are available in most craft stores and readily available online at most of the places I have linked to already.  Here are some others I haven’t tried.  And more.

OTHER, not pictured:

  • Altoid (or other) metal tins
  • plastic
  • glass sheets or blocks
  • polymer clay
  • melamine
  • ceramic tiles
  • glass, porcelain or plastic ornaments
  • wax paper and aluminum foil

A note about painting and sealing ceramic tiles:

I am probably asked most often about this, and I just have to tell you – while I have painted a handful of tiles, I do not like working on them; therefore, I don’t do it. Therefore, I don’t know how to seal them. Do some Googling, and you will find some answers. There are Facebook groups for alcohol ink painters with a lot of information on what different people use to seal alcohol ink paintings on ceramic tiles.



  1. I’ve been painting on primed, cradled wooden boards lately and am very happy with the results. While non-porous surfaces like wood are generally a no-no for alcohol inks, these primed boards are smooth and accept the ink without absorbing it. Like gallery-wrapped canvas, I can paint the edges too, and with a little hardware, it’s ready to hang…sans the expense of framing. Yes, I believe I’ll be painting on many more of these boards! 😉

    Examples of paintings I’ve done so far on cradled wooden boards can be seen here, here and here.

  2. Did you prime the wooden boards with Gesso? I never thought of using it over primer. Great blog post.

  3. what type of Yupo Paper is best to use for a beginnner using alcohol ink?

    • Yupo comes in white and translucent, in a few different weights. I have only used white, and I tend to prefer 144lb. Yupo (though the pads come in 74lb. weight and are just fine – painting on either weight works just about the same – I just prefer the thicker paper for larger pieces.)

  4. I just saw this link on Facebook and was surprised to see my name here! Thank you for all of the info. I have found that almost all the substrates can give a completely different look if using the inks the way I use them. If I want a really softer look without the highly defined edges, then I use Formica or Wilsonart. Ampersand Claybord is my preferred substrate though and to have the painting ready to hang is worth a lot! All the galleries that I have worked with think that abstracts are especially nice on the cradled panels. Thanks for the mention and will check out more of your blog.

    • you mentioned formica, can you use it on a formica countertop?

  5. I would like to know if anyone has tried usindg the alcohol inks on canvas?

    • I have seen some images online of alcohol inks on canvas but haven’t asked the artist(s) how they went about doing it. I tested ink directly on a canvas once and didn’t like the look – the ink soaked into the canvas, and the color was dull and boring. A few months ago, I decided to try again. I first coated the canvas in Krylon UV Resistant Clear Gloss spray, then inked (then coated again when finished). It worked pretty well. I wasn’t super thrilled with the painting myself, but it sold within an hour of posting a photo on Facebook, so I am NOT complaining! 🙂

      • Awesome!
        Did you have to use the acetate to allow the colors to blend/move? I have heard of some people using 91% alcohol but it didn’t work out well for me.

      • I also have done some paintings on canvas and I first seal it with a light coat of gesso and lightly sand it then another light coat and another light sanding and it is ready to go. I need to seal mine also will spray the same as all the rest. Turns out well and keeps the color.

      • I used KILZ 2 to prepare a canvas for alcohol ink and loved the way it turned out. I’d love to give credit to the artist who suggested it but can’t remember where I saw it.

        • Thanks for posting; I’m going to try this. Is Kilz 2 more glossy? I have been prepping my canvases first with Gesso and then a gel gloss medium; It seems to work well but with all the gloss it has that sparkly, reflective quality when the light hits it. Other than that, I love alcohol inks on canvas. I ususally do a mixed media using AI and acrylics. In your opinion, what is the longevity of a canvas painted with Kilz? I put a lot of hours into my art work and am hoping that years down the road I won’t get cracking or flaking of the paints

    • I have used it on canvas board and it comes out great! Now I need to protect it.

    • I believe my attempts on canvas have been fairly successful. I prep the canvas with 2 coats of white acrylic paint. I wish I knew how to post pictures because I have some good examples. Help?

      • I have also used this method and like the results. I also don’t know how to post pictures

  6. I’ve never tried acetate before. I generally use 91% alcohol and/or Ranger blending solution. On this particular piece on canvas, if I remember correctly, I dropped and moved ink around and then painted over some parts with 91% alcohol.

  7. A tried alcohol inks on canvas but put beeswax down first to make it smooth and give some texture as well, and I was very happy with the result. The colors were very vibrant and flowed well, and in places the wax gave some texture. Try it!

    • Thanks, Terri! Sounds like fun 🙂 Did you melt and then pour the beeswax onto the canvas? I’ve thought about trying that. I also have some little iron thingy that might work for melting wax in smaller quantities.

  8. Do alcohol paintings have to be framed under glass? I’m thinking that they could be sealed when finished with an Krylon clear spray. How would that hold up? Do these paintings fade in time?
    Thanks for any info that you can send my way as I am going to make an attempt to produce some art with this medium.

    • I seal all of my paintings with Krylon UV Resistant Clear Gloss spray. I have only been painting with alcohol inks for about two years now, but I do have some pieces that are two years old, sealed with Krylon UV (some framed, some not) and they have not faded or changed in color in any way. Some people do not seal their alcohol ink paintings but choose instead to frame with UV glass. I’m not an expert but do believe that with some form of UV protection, the inks should not fade.

      I’ve read that people have had paintings fade that were NOT framed with UV or finished with some kind of UV protection.

      The pieces I’ve done on wood are also sealed with Krylon UV, and the ones I’ve created on other substrates are also sealed the same way and have held up fine. I even have a few on Yupo, mounted to wood but not framed, that I sealed with extra thick coats of Krylon UV, so they’re not only protected from UV light but also very shiny and similar to a resin finish.

  9. I have used the alcohol ink on canvas. I sprayed the canvas with alcohol from a spray bottle. Then applied ink. Ii spread the ink some with a paint brush, them spray with alcohol again, then out a few drops on the canvas.

  10. I have played with gesso on canvas. Works pretty well. You can also try using it over mod podge for a really cheap fast drying time alternative. The spread/flow as not dramatic but inks are a nice addition to a mixed media piece. I am currently becoming obsessed with them so am so glad I found your site 🙂 Here is a piece on canvas!

  11. Found you website, I just took a workshop in Alcohol Inks and I am already addicted.

  12. Have you or anyone tried painting with alcohol inks on self adhesive vinyl film? If not do you think it would work?
    With the Krylon spray do you know if it dries rigid or flexible?

    Great articles by the way! I am just devouring them all!

    • I haven’t used alcohol inks on vinyl film, but that sounds like a good thing to try! Seems like something that would be slick and non-porous, and that’s the kind of surface where the inks are magic. 😉 When I spray finished pieces on Yupo with the Krylon UV Resistant, the paper is still flexible, so the spray doesn’t make it rigid. I am not doing a lot of bending of these pieces as they get framed after spraying (and drying), but the paper definitely will still bend. I haven’t noticed any cracking or other negative effects.

      If you experiment with the vinyl film, please do report your findings! Good luck.

  13. I use photo paper with alcohol inks and get fantastic results.

    • Nice! I know I wouldn’t have thought of that. Can’t wait to get home.

  14. Can I use alcohol inks on canvas?

    • Alcohol inks work best on non-porous substrates. However, they can be used on canvas. If you ink straight to canvas, it will indeed “color”, but you will not have the vibrancy and punch that you’d get on something slick like Yupo paper. I know a lot of people treat the canvas with something first, in order to get the inks to sit on the surface and not be absorbed. I have done this myself on one piece, on which I coated the canvas first with Krylon UV Gloss spray (then inked, then sprayed again to seal.) It was smelly and kind of a mess. I can’t say I’d recommend it, but it did work!

      I’ve also read that some people use Golden digital ground on canvas before inking. I haven’t tried this.

      Personally, I don’t like working on canvas in general, so I haven’t played around with that much. I always recommend experimentation to find out what works best for you. Good luck!

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me:-) I’m sort of new at this type of media. Have a Great weekend!

  15. What kind of ink is used? Can you make your own?

    • I use alcohol-based inks (and occasionally, India ink). There are several brands of alcohol inks available, but my favorite is made by Ranger. I have seen some tutorials online for making your inks though, so it can be done. I do not make my own inks.

  16. Has anyone had difficulty with artist paint brushes being eaten away when using alcohol inks? Is there a special way to care for artist brushes when using alcohol inks? Thank you for any advice. This is a new medium for me and I am addicted as well.

    • I don’t use expensive paintbrushes with alcohol inks. I have a nice set that I use for watercolors exclusively (those are the somewhat pricey ones), and then a bunch of random paintbrushes that I use for acrylics, mixed media stuff, etc. For alcohol ink painting, I typically use teeny tiny brushes that I buy at Hobby Lobby, which I believe are their “Masters Touch” brand. I have some that I’ve painted with for 3 years that are still good. I clean the ink from the brushes with alcohol. Hope this helps!

  17. So happy I stumbled upon your site – – – have found it most informative. Thanks Monica

  18. I used the Krylon you mention to seal the piece I made (on yupo paper) and it ruined the alcohol inks. Left a grainy appearance and dulled the colors a bit. I sprayed from a distance (more than 24 inches) and it still damaged it. From what distance do you spray the Krylon and how much time do you wait between spraying each layer?

    • Was it the gloss finish Krylon UV? I asked because I once almost ruined a painting by accidentally using the Matte finish Krylon UV Resistant spray, and it may have been similar to how you described it as “grainy”. Luckily, I was able to wipe it off somehow, without completely ruining the painting. Major relief!

      I do not typically spray the Krylon UV between layers, if it WAS glossy and not matte, this could be the culprit. I don’t use anything between layers unless in addition to alcohol inks, I have drawn something with Pitt or Micron pens. In that case, I spray with Workable Fixatif before painting with alcohol inks. I ONLY use the Krylon UV Gloss spray when a piece is completely finished and dry.

      I probably spray 12″ or so away from the painting, maybe 18″ at most…giving it a LIGHT coat. And then do it again. I have only ever REALLY sprayed it on thickly on one or two pieces (on purpose), and in those cases, the paintings looked like they had a layer of resin on top. The paintings themselves were not disturbed in any way.

      I’m sorry this happened to you and hope that some of the above may be helpful in some way!

      • Thanks! I did use the gloss krylon. Perhaps I was heavy-handed with the spray. I will try again. Your blog is amazing… Have learned so much!

        • Thanks for the kind words! 🙂 I wish I was better at spraying myself. I have found that I do a pretty good job on smaller pieces but have trouble with consistency on larger work. It also doesn’t help that I have nowhere to do it except outside on my porch, which can be tricky thanks to bugs (I have had to pick one out with tweezers!), wind, heat and humidity. The humidity seems to be especially problematic. I try to spray on less humid days, but sometimes I don’t have a choice if there’s a deadline and it’s summer – which can be April through late September in Texas. 😉

  19. Can you use cold pressed watercolor paper for alcohol inks?

    • I haven’t tried this, but as a general rule, alcohol inks work best on non-porous surfaces. I know some people pre-treat canvas with something (with what, I’m not sure) in order to use alcohol inks on them. I personally hate canvas and love working on smooth surfaces. I DO use watercolor and mixed media paper for other work that doesn’t involve alcohol inks. I suspect, however, that the inks would just be absorbed into the paper and look rather flat or dull. Maybe there’s a way to pre-treat the paper? I’m really not sure. I would suggest testing. I should probably do a test of inks on various surfaces and post results here some day, when I have time. 🙂

  20. Thanks for your quick response. I’ve learned so much from your blog. Think I’ll invest on what works best. Since cold pressed is so slick, I just thought maybe it would work. (And, also, I have tons of it!). Thanks again

    • Dee, a friend told me you might try coating the cold press paper with Gesso or gel medium and then inking on top of that. I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like it could be worth a shot!

      • I tried mat gel medium and the ink had very little spread. Just a splotch, no movement. I let the medium dry 24 hours so I’m not sure what I did wrong.

  21. Can youdothis on canvas

    • Hi there. I would recommend scanning the comments on this post. I know some people do paint with alcohol inks on canvas, but for the inks to retain their vivid color and do the magic things they do atop non-porous surfaces, the canvas must be treated with something first. I’m not what that “something” is. I’ve read at least once that someone used Golden Digital Ground on canvas and then painted with inks. A friend recommended trying gel medium on canvas before inking. I have tried neither but would love to hear from anyone who may have any tips for this.

  22. Hey, just wondering if you have used gloss photo paper/card?

    • I have used Ranger’s glossy card stock paper. Older pieces that I did on this paper don’t look as good as the ones done on Yupo.

  23. I have purchased some painting products and am greatful for your site and guidance.
    I am anxious to start painting now and appreciate your info. Thanks to everyone that chooses to help others.

  24. Can anyone tell me more about painting on wood and what products were used to pre treat wood.

  25. Hi, I noticed that some colours stain Yupo, especially blues, and I am having a hard time getting back to the white of the paper. Is there a method of bleaching the inks back to white that will not harm the Yupo?

    • If there are areas of the Yupo paper that you wish to keep white (or, ultimately – lighter), I recommend using masking fluid to do so. Many of the inks will absolutely stain the paper. You may be able to remove or lighten with 91% alcohol, or with alcohol blending solution, but as far as I know, there’s no way to get it back to white once the Yupo has been stained. Hope this helps.

  26. I see many comments about using inks on canvas. I wonder if varnishing the canvas first would work. Making it non porous.

  27. I did a batch of homemade alcohol inks, used them on those pre-gesso’d canvases and the visual effect is lovely. ..except that it won’t dry. it’s sticky after 2 days 9f drying. any advice? THANKS!

    • Sorry, I really have no clue, as I do not make my own inks. Good luck!

  28. I am new at alcohol inks but I have successfully tried melamine board especially with plastic wrap placed on top – very interesting effect – I would send you a couple of pics but don’t know where to send them on this comment page 💜

    • Inese, you would have to add a link to a photo (that’s online somewhere) in your comment. I have heard from a couple of other people that they like working on melamine board too. 🙂

  29. I have used alcohol inks on disposable pallette paper works very well does anyone know if it will survive framed under glass thanks

    • I just got home from a trip to Michael’s where I bought some pallete paper to try AI on! My question has been answered by you! Thanks! I used my one day only 60% off coupon. Love when they offer those! Hubby gets an item for me & I get one! Cheap!!!

  30. I’ve yet to try it myself… but on paper (smooth bristol) I’m going to use Golden’s GAC 700 Clear Sealing Polymer. According to their website, “GAC 700 Clear Sealing Polymer increases film clarity and transparency, while minimizing shrinkage. GAC 700 is useful for sealing porous materials. (Item# 3970)”

    • Thankyou will try this

  31. I just stumbled upon your site, and I’m so happy I did! Sorry in advance if someone already asked this, but I was wondering if you have any recommendations for prepping and wood for alcohol inks? I did a transfer onto a blank, untreated wood plaque using krylon matte medium, and wanted to accent the piece with some alcohol inks, then dome the whole thing in resin. Would a couple of coats of medium work as a sealant?Do you think that the brushstrokes would interfere with the flow of the inks, in which case, would a spray be preferable? Lastly, have you noticed any difference between using a matte finish vs gloss? I would think that the gloss would allow for better flow, but I’m still learning! Sorry for so many questions, and I appreciate the time you put into helping everyone discover their creativity!

    • As I have not attempted to use alcohol inks on wood, I am sorry that I can’t offer much help in that area. I do suspect that it may work if the wood is sealed so that it can’t absorb the inks. Brushstrokes may indeed interfere with ink flow. I would recommend doing a test run on a scrap piece of wood, preferably the kind of wood you’ve begun your art piece on, to see if adding a medium would allow for the use of inks on wood. I also suspect that the medium would need to be glossy in order for it to work.

      I finish all of my ink paintings (mostly done on Yupo and some on Gessobord) with Krylon UV Resistant Glossy spray. I used the matte version of the spray once, and it made the painting very dull and seemed to produce a grainy “film” on the surface. LUCKILY, I was about to rub the matte finish off once it had dried, without ruining the painting. Then I sprayed again with my usual gloss Krylon, and it was fine.

      The only thing I use Matte finish spray on is pencil and/or ink drawings on paper.

      I know some people paint on canvas with alcohol inks. I personally dislike canvas and have only done one ink painting on it (I primed it with the Krylon glossy spray, and while it worked, it was really smelly and annoying, so I can’t say I would recommend that). I believe some people use Golden Digital Ground to prime canvas, so that might work on wood too, but it would be white instead of clear.

      I’m sorry that I don’t know more about this, but hopefully some of that rambling is helpful in some way!

  32. Thank you Monica for the information on your site. I’ve just started exploring alcohol inks and fell in love with the unpredictability and gorgeous colors. Thank goodness for Goggle when I asked about what to do about finishing a piece with alcohol ink and came up with your site.

  33. Can you use AI on vertical surface like the front side of a bathtub? Wondered about the dripping down?

    • I’m quite sure it would drip down. I drip ink vertically when painting. Also not sure how to prepare or ensure longevity for painting on something like a bathtub.

  34. Hi. I read an article about using acrylic gel medium as a coating to make paper water-resistant for alcohol inks and fluid watercolors and acrylics. This is a cheaper alternative to Yupo and avoids a couple of serious problems with Yupo: (1) it’s highly susceptible to UV degradation, being 100% polypropylene and (2) it can only be permanently bonded or mounted with an adhesive for polypropylene and other plastics. If you use anything else as an adhesive, it will not hold.

    • Since I mostly frame my paintings on Yupo, #2 doesn’t apply to me. I HAVE done a few pieces I mounted to wood and MDF, however, and it was easy (I can’t remember so don’t quote me, but I believe I used 3M Super 90. I know I used 3M…it was whichever adhesive said to use it with plastics. I sprayed it on, mounted the Yupo and got any air/bubbles out with a squeegee. Worked great.)

      I can’t speak to the other point #1. Why is it susceptible to UV degradation? Where did this information come from?

      I love Yupo and have used it for several years. I know some watercolorists who have used it twice as long as I have, without issue, provided it is sealed for protection from UV or framed in UV glass. I completely understand people looking to save money, but where paper is concerned, I am happy to pay for my favorite kind of paper and cut costs elsewhere. Usually groceries. 😉

  35. As an experiment, I used a gel medium on watercolour paper, and the result was basically OK though not optimal. It could work in a pinch, though (and possibly depends on the weight of the paper and the amount of medium used). However, it was simply an experiment. There are many fine alternatives to Yupo out there.

    The paper that gives me the most literally brilliant results is a brand called ‘Motif Professional Photo Paper (heavy gloss coated). Unfortunately, I’d received a sample package of 20 x A4 (200+ gsm) at a photography seminar several years ago, and now I can’t find the Motif distributors anywhere online. I have only a few sheets left. Amazon sells versions of Motif papers, but not the one I want.

    Likewise, I received a free sample pack of Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper (fantastic result), but can’t seem to track down that version. Perhaps it’s no longer produced. I’ll need to try contacting the kodak website.

    Another excellent paper is a type called ‘Kee-Jet A4 Premiumweight Lustre’ 280gsm, but this brand appears to have vanished.

    The Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper Supreme also gives gorgeous results. Sadly, it appears not to be available in packs, but only as large rolls for commercial photo printing. (I suspect it would be pretty expensive even if it were in packs.)

    I did a recent comparison test between Yupo and the above-mentioned Kodak paper. There was absolutely no difference in the colours and overall quality. I took the samples to a local art-supplies shop and asked the owner (she’s an artist herself) if she could see any difference. Other than the fact that the Yupo felt a fraction heavier, she could distinguish no difference at all in the brilliance of the colours. (In fact, now a few days later, it seems to me that the colours on the Kodak paper are brighter.)

    In a couple of her videos, Nina Ribena – who’s done a lot of experimenting – has recommended a brand of photo paper from Kirkland. However – apart from being sold in Costco supermarkets in the UK – it’s only available from Amazon, and the cost of shipping to the Netherlands (where I live) is prohibitive.

    Perhaps one or more of the previously mentioned types of paper are available in Canada or the US.

    • I too have been most happy with using photo paper ever since I started Alcohol Inks about a year ago. I did start out though with alcohol markers like Copic/Prismacolor, but after I started buying refills inks for my markers, I started experimenting with just using the ink on various surfaces.
      I’ve always used matte photo paper with my markers as I’ve found that to give me the most vibrant results for color.
      With ink, I switched to glossy photo.. but not all glossy photo is the same! On some, the ink sits more on the surface, whereas with others, it gets absorbed and is more permanent (I prefer this).
      Out of all the HP photo papers I tried (and I tried them all!) I like:
      HP Advanced Glossy
      HP Premium Plus – Soft Gloss
      For these 2, you won’t probably get the spreading effect as with Yupo. It seems like most people prefer a surface that will offer that, but would rather have the brighter, more vibrant colors!
      I had so much of the HP Advanced, so it made the most sense to use what I had on hand anyways 🙂
      I have not tried any other brands of photo paper, but hope to do so soon.. I love experimenting with alcohol inks!

  36. Hi, what a great site; so happy to have discovered it, thank you! I’m just starting to experiment with alcohol inks, (I love them)and have a sealing question. I’d like to do a painting on acetate and then glue on some paper with printing, (as in a quote) and then seal the whole thing so it blends together as a single piece of art that I may or may not frame under glass. Do you know if the Krylon spray you recommend here would work or would it soak in to the porous paper? I’m looking for a kind of decoupage effect, I don’t want the paper to lift at the edges but be sealed down onto the acetate. Don’t know if I’m describing this well…..any thoughts or advice? Thanks again for this site and all your info!!

  37. I’m a comic book artist and would like to use alcohol ink to color my pages. I use porous paper for the line art. Could I cover the paper in plastic (like say, a gift basket cover) and paint on that? Thank you!

    • Hmmm…I haven’t tried painting on that type of plastic. It would probably work, but you would likely have little control. Maybe a sheet of acetate over the paper w/the line art?

  38. Hi. I just started using alcohol inks myself, they are so much fun. Can u mix acrylic ink (ie. Liquitex Ink) with the alcohol ink? does it have the same effect on the yupo paper as the alcohol ink? Can you use any other mediums with the alcohol ink and still achieve the translucency that alcohol ink can do?


  39. Thank you for the breakdown of products for Alcohol Ink substrates, it was helpful. I really feel for your local art shop because you do your shopping online. I don’t know how they will continue to be there for you when you do need a product or support in promoting your artwork if you don’t help them keep their doors open. Retailers pay for shipping, possibly duties, staffing and a whole lot of overhead. They support local community fundraisers and contribute to your community every day. The online shops do not have these extra costs. That is why the price difference. So when you purchase at your local shop you are not only supporting a local family, you are supporting your community.

    • Unfortunately, there are no “mom ‘n pop” art supply stores in my area. 🙁 The closest art supply store (a chain) is 16 miles away. I shop at Michael’s, Aaron Brothers, and Hobby Lobby (also chain stores, of course.)

      The fact is there is no one store, local or otherwise, that carries all the supplies I use, so I get them from a variety of places, including online. I wish a local art shop was available to me, but there are none. So I support my local community in other ways.

      Edited to add: there WAS a local art supply store near me (chain store), but it moved to another location 30 miles away. That’s where I saw Yupo paper pads for $20-30 each.

  40. I’ve been using ceramic tiles, formy AI’s, just to see the different combinations, etc. then I saw someone on YouTube using a cradled wood panel,only briefly stating she had sealed it! I had no idea what she sealed it with, nor did our hobby Lobby have any idea, but I’m going to try the clear Gesso, and see how it goes.Your question and answer board is really terrific!Thanks for all the info and ideas!

  41. I use alcohol inks on vellum for my small soldered pendants. I love the outcome. I am not a big fan of ceramic tile coloring, but everyone else seems to be. To be honest, I cringe when I don’t know if the ink will rub right off, or not, after ‘sealing’ it with Kalmar Varnish, and following up with Matte UV resist coat, on the finished tiles. I think the humidity in the place where you spray has a lot to do with its “staying power.” Its been a learning process, for sure. Thanks for this blog. Keep going!~

  42. I am so glad I stumbled on this site. I just discovered alcohol inks and am already hooked to it. This site is very informative for newbie like me.

    Any idea what the life of an alcohol painting will be?

    Can we seal the painting with clear gesso (on canvas) and then use oil colors on it in few sections?

  43. I’ve been using alcohol inks w the metallic mixatives on leather collars as of late and am loving the results. Just make sure to seal it with something meant to seal leather and let the ink fully set into the leather for a day or two before sealing. I used a stamp to put a design on it, a wood burning tool to etch the design, dug out the lines to make them nice and clean using clay tools, painted the main surface of the leather then went back and did a contrasting color in the lines. For sealer I used Angelus high gloss acrylic finisher for acrylic leather paint.

  44. I see that no one ever mentions using a laminator. I can’t afford Upo paper so I laminate any old white card. This gives a really good result and costs next to nothing.

  45. I’ve been painting with alcohol inks on Yupo for about two years. However, since the packaging changed on the pads of paper, I swear there is a difference in how the inks move. Has anyone else noticed this? I thought I got a problematic pad from Amazon, so I bought one at my art supply and same thing. Help! I’m so disappointed.

  46. I just started working with Alcohol Inks and being an artist of multi media, am used to experimenting. I found a great surface, slick and the ink moves about so easily. It is, silly enough, white cheap contact paper that I get in the dollar store. I cut small pieces of foam core board, from the same dollar store and cut the paper one inch all around larger than the board . i.e. for a 5 x 7 , I cut a 7 by 9 )I carefully adhere this paper and over lap the corners and then lift and mitre the back for a clean look.

    I then put another piece of contact paper, on the back almost to the edges. I use this surface as a practice sheet. Its a really cheap way to work with these inks. try it.

  47. I am new to alcohol inks/hair dryers/heat guns and have not tried it yet. I just read somewhere that Dura Lar does not work with the alcohol inks as it does not move around easily. I just purchased some from Dick Blick on a roll .002. Do you think this will work or should I cancel my order? If memory serves, I believe you use the Dura Lar Matte…please correct me if I’m wrong. I would also like to know of a source of inks that are workable, but cheap. Thank you in advance

    • I have used alcohol inks on acetate, but I don’t remember if it was Dura Lar or what the thickness was. I am not using alcohol inks much these days, so hopefully someone else will be able to add some helpful info here.

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