Alcohol Ink

by Cindy Lyles

Take non-porous surfaces from "blah" to "wow".


  • Alcohol inks in assorted colors (Adirondack® colors used here: Butterscotch, Lettuce, Raisin, Eggplant, Stonewashed).

  • Alcohol Blending Solution*

  • Applicator and white felt rectangle (applicator is a hand stamp with hook side of Velcro® attached)

  • Mixative (Adirondack silver used)*

  • Craft mat

  • Non-porous surface to alter, such as this white CD tin (Try glossy cardstock, dominos or CDs; anything non-porous)

  • *Adirondack Mixatives are formulated exclusively for use with alcohol inks. Rubbing alcohol / Krylon or other metallic inks can be substituted; however, results can vary.


  1. Step 1

    Begin by placing white felt rectangle onto applicator, place nib of alcohol ink into felt and squeeze bottle. Apply each color once and avoid overlapping colors on the felt. They can touch, just not overlap.

  2. Step 2

    Randomly stamp onto piece to avoid the appearance of a pattern. Alcohol inks dry instantly, so virtually zero dry time is required between steps.

  3. Step 3

    Continue to stamp randomly. Do not cover entire piece; make sure a small amount of white shows.

  4. Step 4

    Without changing the felt applicator, squeeze a small drop of mixative onto the felt rectangle. Mixatives are highly concentrated and a tiny drop goes a long way.

  5. Step 5

    Stamp randomly to apply the mixative.

  6. Step 6

    Squeeze a very small amount of Alcohol Blending Solution onto the same applicator. Too much solution will significantly lighten or even remove the color from the piece. One can always add more if needed. Experiment to find a look that's pleasing.

    Tip: The blending solution is indeed "magic in a bottle" according to Tim Holtz. Use this product to clean work surfaces, remove adhesive from scissors, and remove any ink from hands or work surfaces. Try it on the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig™ clear placement piece after using waterproof or solvent ink.

  7. Step 7

    Stamp randomly to blend the mixative with the alcohol inks. The Alcohol Blending Solution mixes with the alcohol inks to creating a veined effect and blend colors. Stamp randomly until the look desired is achieved.

    Apply rub-ons or other embellishments to finish.

    Tip: If stamping on completed project, a good quality, waterproof ink works well. Ranger's Archival Ink is recommended. Solvent inks can react with the alcohol inks.

  8. Step 8

    Completed piece.


  1. Dominos are non-porous too! The application for this techique is endless. Glossy paper, buttons, CDs, and so forth.

    If finished product is to be worn or handled roughly, consider sealing it. DecoArt DuraClear Varnish™ is recommended, available in gloss or matte. It is a premium polyurethane finish that dries quickly (few hours) and with scant fumes. Envirotex™ is another excellent product; however one must work in a highly ventilated area and extensive dry time is required (up to 3 or 4 days, depending on weather conditions).

    All products used in this tutorial are from Ranger Ink ( available at your local craft/hobby store or through various e-tailers). For more in-depth information Tim Holtz's DVD The Journey Continues is top-notch and an excellent resource.

    Questions? Please start a thread in the proper forum and PM a link to me. I am happy to share what I know about this fun technique.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Alcohol Ink. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

It's beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing!
Rosy Newlun  |  Fri Dec 7, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Thanks so much for sending this valuable information. I know I'll have a lot of fun with it!
bettyg  |  Sat Dec 8, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Thank so much, I have been trying to figure out how to use this forever!!!
LisaLouRedo  |  Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM
This is also called, alcohol ink monoprinting. I've made two cards which are on my gallery using this technique and I absolutely loved the outcome!

SCS: paperpunchscissors
Susie Lessard  |  Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 6:12 AM

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