Working with Alcohol Ink

Alcohol Ink

Working with Alcohol Ink: If you like to work with vibrant colours to create abstract work then Alcohol Inks are something you should look at. They come in a stunning array of colours and go a long way! Used with our own brand blending solution you can achieve remarkable results. We even have an excellent book to help you develop your practice.

Alcohol inks reactive once dry with alcohol which is great for lifting or removing areas of colours. It is important to note that the inks will expand once applied- so remember this when laying down colour to be careful not to reactivate an area of dried ink.

You can further embellish your work using alcohol based marker pens (such as Promarkers and Promarker Brush pens). If you like a bit of bling you can choose to use the mixatives available in metallic (mixative) shades. these don’t blend in the same way as other colours but can add depth and iridescence. For outlining we suggest the Posca acrylic markers – once your work is dry and before varnishing.

Alcohol Inks are suitable to work on non absorbent surfaces, such as Glass, Ceramic Tiles or Yupo (plastic) paper. We recommend the use of a water based varnish to protect your work.

Mixing and blending Alcohol Inks

Due to the fast-drying nature of the inks it can be difficult to create and mix the inks to create a precise colour that you can achieve with other inks or watercolour. However, part of the benefits of the ink are the impressive and unique marbling qualities you can achieve when the inks interact or reactivate with alcohol.


Another interesting technique to incorporate into working with alcohol inks is the use of spritzer bottles filled with alcohol blending solution. The mist of alcohol ink will reactive dried ink to create cell like circular shapes. This is especially effective to paint things such as the night sky or filtered light. A similar technique which can yield vastly different results would be flicking blending solution with a brush this will create a more irregular pattern.

Combining with other products

You can use alcohol inks in combination with other products- for instance using POSCA paint marker pens and Fine Liner pens are perfect for adding details or little creative flourishes. You can even combine the use of alcohol inks into acrylic paintings- however it is important to remember to always apply the alcohol ink on top of acrylic paints rather than underneath other the acrylic may remain tacky.


You can even use masking fluid or masking tape alongside alcohol ink to preserve areas that you want to keep white on the YUPO paper. Just mask out the areas using a rubber tipped colour shaper or even use a precision tip masking fluid with a nozzle to create precise areas that you wish to keep ink free. Always make sure you have allowed the masking fluid to dry fully before applying your colour and remove it as soon as the ink is dry!

Varnishing and sealing your Pieces

Once you’ve finished and are ready to seal in your design we recommend you use an acrylic spray varnish such as Montana Spray Varnish (Comes in matt, satin and gloss!).When varnishing it is better to use a spray to avoid accidentally reactivating the ink and smearing the colours.

Get experimenting!

The wonderful thing about alcohol inks is there are no rules. This product is so versatile, and it is really up to you to experiment and see what you can create! Try alcohol inks on wood, wax, paper, card, FIMO, YUPO paper, fabric and so much more and just see what beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces you can create!

Explore our full range of Alcohol Inks here. We stock both Pinata and Ranger Inks and mediums.

Don’t forget to tag us @northwichartshop if you share your work! We love to see what you are creating.

Alcohol Ink on Ceramic Time (Rebecca Yoxall)
800Alcohol Ink on Ceramic Tile (Credit to artist Rebecca Yoxall)