If you work with mixed media, then you’ll know that alcohol inks are perfect for staining and adding transparent color. I generally use them with stencils and also for adding aged effects and subtle shading effects to both paper and fabric.
Alcohol inks can get quite expensive though, so I’ve been making my own for years after watching a video I found on Youtube (scroll down to the bottom of this article to view the video) which shows you just how easy it is to make your own inks using cheap felt tipped markers and rubbing alcohol.
During this last month I’ve been working on a new project for my Fragments workshop and I needed some new ink colors, so the timing is perfect to once again share this tutorial with you. I’ve used the inks on these fabric sheets to add some dark stains.
How to Make Your Own Alcohol Inks
I visited the dollar store and found some felt tipped markers and some small spray bottles. I don’t generally use alcohol inks as a spray however I found some small spray bottles of hand sanitizer which were the perfect size to use for the inks so I removed the hand sanitizer and cleaned the bottles. Using these type bottles gives me the option of using the inks as a spray, with a dropper, or to pour onto a piece of sponge to use as a stain. And of course you need some rubbing alcohol.
I pulled the markers apart and removed the inked section, then soaked the pieces in the rubbing alcohol …
… and ended up with a nice selection of colors which were really quite vivid.
I tested one of the colors on a piece of fabric paper using a stencil.
It added a lovely subtle design to the surface.
If you’re going to try this, the only thing I would add – and I don’t recall hearing it on the video – is that rubbing alcohol is highly flammable so keep it away from flames. And if spraying alchol ink I would also suggest using it in a well-ventilated area or even wearing a mask because inhaling the overspray is not good for your health.
Otherwise it works a treat!
Go try it!