"Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride together." Ron Wickersham

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alcohol Inks

Tuesday I taught a class on alcohol ink techniques. These are the samples I used to illustrate the techniques, but the students didn't actually make the cards. The idea was to learn "everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol inks and how to use them."

The large punched circle on this card above shows the typical alcohol ink application of pouncing the inks on glossy paper. The stamp is stamped with Staz On. The sample below was done by just dripping the inks directly from the bottle onto the glossy paper - not very pretty, but as I always say, don't trash any of these pieces as you never know when they might be useful. Something like this can always be punched and that's exactly where the butterflies on this card came from - much prettier don't you think? To get the inks to spread even more, you can also drip blending solution into the mix.

This next card shows the look that can be achieved by swiping the applicator horizontally across the glossy cardstock and slightly overlapping with each repeated swipe down the page. The inks can be applied in lines to the applicator felt and swiped in one direction for a striped look or in both directions to make a plaid. Even the rhinestones on this were inked to coordinate with the colors used.

The glossy cardstock layer for this card was first embossed with the Cuttlebug (love this autumn folder). I then sanded the raised portion very slightly and applied alcohol inks and gold mixative. My favorite attribute of the alcohol inks is their transparency. However, when you add any of the metallic mixatives, they become more opaque. Hopefully, you can distinguish this in this scan.

When I want to add metallic highlights to alcohol inks, I much prefer using the Krylon metallic pens. I think these have to be my absolutely favorite all-time stamping accessory. They are usually available in the big-box craft stores, but in the art department rather than the scrapbooking section. The next card below shows the alcohol inks with the Krylon gold pen. First add a few drops of the gold ink by pressing the pen tip to the applicator felt (before adding the alcohol inks so as not to contaminate the pen). Then add the alcohol ink drops and pounce on your glossy surface. I think this retains more of the transparency and is a prettier look. To increase veining, add a drop or two of the blending solution to the felt and watch the magic appear. These pens are also very useful for edging cards and adding that extra elegant touch.
Another technique on this card is using a rubon before adding the alcohol inks (the corner flourish below). The rubon resists most of the ink for a subtle resist effect. To remove a bit more of the ink, you can carefully add a tiny bit of blending solution or alcohol to a Q-tip and wipe the rubon. Be aware that all rubons are not equal in quality so sometimes this works; sometimes it doesn't! In class we actually had one rubon that started to bubble and lift off. Here again I've added some punched pieces.

This card illustrates another resist affect. This time I stamped a background stamp with Versamark and heat-embossed it with white embossing powder. Once it was cool, I inked over the entire background. The embossed image resists the ink for a more dramatic resist than the rubon resist technique. Depending on the stamp image used, the resist can be bright white (with a bolder stamp) or more subtle as below with a finer-lined stamp. The embellishment was originally a clear holeless button imprinted with the word. Since alcohol inks work on any non-porous surface, buttons can be inked to coordinate perfectly with the paper.

And last but not least is my favorite alcohol technique. I'm not sure if it even has a real name, but it is an Archival Ink resist. For whatever reason, this only works with Archival ink and on acetate, not glossy paper. I don't know if it works with every color of Archival ink, but I have personally tried it successfully with both black and coffee.
Ink your acetate with the colors of your choice. Then stamp on the inked side with Archival ink. Immediately wipe the ink off which will also remove any alcohol ink beneath the stamped image. This will leave a distinct clear image.
Whenever using alcohol ink on acetate, be sure to turn it over onto your cardstock layer with the ink next to the cardstock. This will protect it and also seems to make the design much more vibrant.
On the card below, I also inked a clear Tim Holtz fragment for a coordinating embellishment.
Though they are porous, paper flowers can also be colored with alcohol inks. I wouldn't do this often as they really soak up the ink, but it's a good way to get a perfectly color-matched flower. Again, I used the inks to color a button.
Of course, alcohol inks can also be used on art metal, glass, plastic, beads, pearls, brads and eyelets, bling, rhinestone or glittery alpha stickers, "thickers" alpha stickers - anything non-porous. Imagine only having to buy silver or white embellishments and being able to color them to match anything! Hope you found this useful and have a chance to play with alcohol inks!


Diann said...

Susan, the alcohol inks are so pretty....loved seeing your ART using them! Diann

Robin said...

Wow, thanks for all the techniques and info on AI! Your samples turned out just beautifully. There were a few here that I haven't tried and I really want to try that last one...absolutely gorgeous!