Fun with Alcohol Inks

Teaching Fun with Alcohol Inks is one of my favorite classes to teach! It truly amps me up to introduce people to this medium of creativity. It is for all ages and is a fun way to explore color, patterns, composition, art science & more.

Alcohol inks are also for ALL ages, so gather your supplies and a group of family and friend and get creative. But hey, it is ok to create by yourself too!

I also love to see student work! If you like to share, please do! It inspires not only me, but others. Email me a picture at, or better yet, tag me on social media. Instagram: hibernate_and_create or Facebook hibernateandcreate

I’m often asked if I host private groups & parties. The answer is yes! Keep in mind that I have a full-time corporate job, but contact me via email to see if we can work something out!

Hibernate & Create


  • Alcohol Inks or Alcohol Ink markers such as Sharpie markers
    • Alcohol Inks: My favorite brand are the Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks by Ranger. There are many other brands to choose from such as Pinata, Jacquard, T-Rex & more. The key is finding what will work for your desired effect.
    • Markers: I generally utilize Sharpie markers, they are easy to find locally or online, but feel free to try other alcohol ink-based markers.
  • Non-porous surfaces to utilize as your background. And as a reminder, each surface acts differently depending on how smooth it is. For example, Yupo paper is a bit more “grippy” then a ceramic tile.
    • Ceramic tiles (shiny)
    • Yupo paper (a polypropylene paper that is tear & water resistant). I like the medium or heavy weight, but experiment!
    • Dominos
    • Glossy cardstock such a photo paper
    • Glass
    • Metal
    • Dry Erase board
    • Shrinky dinks & more!
  • Rubbing alcohol – 99% or 91%
  • Dropper bottles and spray bottles to distribute the rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Other tools:  paint brushes, felt applicator, rubber gloves, canned air, air blower, or drinking straws
  • Protective surface to work on:
    • I like to shop at Dollar Tree for clear shower curtains for table coverings and brownie pans or cookie sheets to hold my projects.
  • Sealant:
    • Krylon Kamar Varnish or Windsor & Newton Professional High Gloss Spray Varnish.  Allow your piece to fully dry for 24-48 hours before spraying. Then spray on with light coats in a well ventilated area.  You can also finish with a UV spray if your piece might get sun as alcohol inks are dye-based and can fade over time. I use the Krylon UV spray.
    • If wanting to finish so food safe (such as a coffee mug); Mod Podge makes a paintable product that can be utilized to seal your piece.  First spray with Krylon Kamar, then seal with the Mod Podge. 
    • Resin is also an option. First seal with Krylon Kamar Varnish, then utilize resin per instructions on your resin.
    • The key is to test product that works best for you and does not re-activate the ink.

Now it’s fun time!

  • Option 1:  Markers
    • Color your tile (or other item) with Sharpie markers, then apply rubbing alcohol. You can add additional color from the marker, but ONLY after the ink has evaporated.  Coloring on top of the wet alcohol can damage the marker as the tip will absorb the alcohol up into the marker.
    • Note:  markers do not “flow” as well on Yupo paper. The ink tends to grip onto the paper vs. flow. This can create cool effects in your art as well.
  • Option 2:  Alcohol Inks
    • Ink & then alcohol
    • Alcohol & then ink
    • Or, just ink!

Tips & Tricks:

  • Unlike acrylic paint, until it is sealed, alcohol ink can be “revived” by adding additional alcohol inks or rubbing alcohol to it which produces it’s own unique effect.
  • Use your paper towel to “stamp” on the wet colors to leave a pattern and to transfer color to other areas.
  • Remember negative space can be cool for your composition. And so can utilzing only one color.
  • Use your straw or hand blower to move the ink in different directions.
  • Use gravity by lifting up and moving your pieces around.
  • Ink can also be applied with paint brushes.  Some artists paint with alcohol inks similar to water colors.
    • If ink dries in your pallet it is still useable! Simply rehydrate with rubbing alcohol.
  • Once your piece if finished, you can draw on top of it with permanent markers, paint markers or try stamping or other printing methods.  You might even want to make a vinyl decal. However before applying, I would first seal the ink.
  • Explore the internet for other ideas and videos!
  • And don’t forget to share your creations with us! #hibernateandcreate

Student works!

These are some samples from students who have taken my Fun with Alcohol Inks.

Q: Can alcohol inks be utilize on fiber?

A: YES! They do not have the fluid movement as they would on a non porouse surface, but they can be utilize to dye or stain the fiber. I have used them with success on cottons and silks and after rinsing I have heat set them with an iron.

Q: Can I use alcohol inks on a large canvas?

A: Yes . . . but . . . you will first need to prep your canvas. Many utilize Kilz 2 to prime their canvas and sand between the layers for a smooth surface.

Looking to take Fun with Alcohol Inks again? Or maybe another class? Click the register button to see my current class line-up!