Working With Alcohol Inks
Alcohol inks are a wonderful medium to incorporate into your card making! They are manufactured by a few different companies such as Piņata inks by Jacquard® Products and Tim Holtz® Adirondack® Alcohol Inks by Ranger Industries Inc. Some of the markers such as Copic® also have alcohol ink refills that work for many of these techniques. For this newsletter issue, Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks by Ranger have been used.
To get started, there are some basic supplies that will help to ensure success. A nonstick craft mat is a great tool for this technique as well as many other techniques in the card-making realm. It will ensure protection of your work surface and can also serve as a palette for some of the techniques we will be exploring. You will want to have a variety of alcohol inks and Metallic Mixatives™ in your favorite colors.
Alcohol inks are available in a wide array of colors and the inks are transparent in nature, whereas Metallic Mixatives are opaque and need to be shaken well prior to use. An alcohol ink applicator tool is important; it can be purchased, or you can make your own using a wooden block, hook-and-loop tape and squares of felt. Blending solution is another product that you will want to have on hand. It has various applications and is a multipurpose medium that allows you to lighten, blend, rework and remove the alcohol inks. The final items are glossy cardstock and other items that you wish to color. When using alcohol ink, work in a well-ventilated area and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Typically, nonporous items and surfaces such as glass, metal, plastic, acrylic and glossy cardstock are colored using alcohol inks. However, that being said, I have seen it used on porous items such as printed tissue paper, fabric, satin ribbon and silk flowers with wonderful results. Often, we have a specific embellishment that we would like to use on a card, but unfortunately it isn't the right color. With the use of alcohol inks this is no longer a problem. Some items that you may like to try coloring are:
- Buttons -- plastic and metal
- Paper clips
- Dominoes and game pieces
- Plastic slide mounts
- Metal washers
- Fiberglass drywall tape and metal duct tape
- Glass and mirrors
- Acetate and acrylic sheets and die-cut shapes
Alcohol ink is a great medium to use to change the color of an embellishment but also to create wonderful backgrounds and focal points. As you can see, there are many possibilities, let's explore a few of the techniques.
One of the most common methods is the pounce method as seen in Card No. 1. To create this effect, simply apply a couple drops of denim, lettuce and meadow alcohol inks to the felt on the applicator tool and then pounce onto metal duct tape. Normally, this would then be followed by pouncing blending solution on top; however, this particular tape has a slight coating on it so it was not necessary to do that. If using a metal that is coated, depending on the effect desired, a light sanding of the item can be done prior to coloring. The tape shown here was applied to cardstock and then embossed using a Cuttlebug™ embossing folder. After the alcohol ink application, the surface was lightly sanded to reveal some of the metal.
The use of Metallic Mixative creates a beautiful metallic sheen within the colored area. It is quite concentrated and one drop is often sufficient. Card No. 2 makes use of the same pouncing technique completed on an acrylic die-cut flower shape. Terra-cotta and cranberry alcohol inks were applied to the felt applicator with the addition of gold metallic mixative. Once the color has been pounced onto the surface, apply some blending solution to the applicator and pounce again to blend and diffuse the colors.
The drywall tape layered under the flower and the embellishments seen in Card No. 2 have been colored with just the alcohol ink and no Metallic Mixative or blending solution. The drywall tape has been transformed from ivory to denim, the flower center brad from white to denim, the swirled rhinestones from clear to terra-cotta, and the tag brad from silver to terra-cotta. It's a wonderful way to create a totally coordinated card!
Another great technique is the swirl or marbling technique. To create this effect, apply a couple drops of your chosen colors to the craft mat -- the colors used in Card No. 3 are denim, hazelnut and mushroom. Next, apply a few drops of blending solution. Place white glossy cardstock glossy side down onto the alcohol ink and solution. Twist the cardstock and lift to reveal a random pattern. Continue until the desired effect is achieved or all of the alcohol ink on the mat has been used. Additional color may be added to the design by repeating the process. If some areas are darker than what is desired, lighten with blending solution. Use the blending solution to clean up any ink that remains on the craft mat.
When stamping an image onto an alcohol ink background as seen in Card No. 3, it is important to use an ink that will not react with the alcohol inks. One such ink is the Archival Ink™ by Ranger. To finish this card, color all of the clear rhinestones using the hazelnut alcohol ink; please add after alcohol ink, prior to assembly.
If you enjoy painting, you might like painting with alcohol inks. By filling an aqua or water brush with blending solution you can paint the ink onto an image. Simply use the craft mat as a palette, placing your alcohol ink colors on it, and then pick up the color on the end of the aqua brush. Even if the alcohol ink has dried on the craft mat, the blending solution will reactivate it.
The splat method is another fun technique. Drops of alcohol ink are placed onto glossy cardstock, and then a can of compressed air is used to move the color around the cardstock, creating another interesting visual effect.
By combining different techniques and color combinations, the possibilities are truly endless. I hope you have been inspired to give alcohol inks a try or possibly revisit them if it's a product that you have set aside for awhile.