Updated: Jul 5
Do you love alcohol ink but struggle to make it obey you? The first time I tried alcohol ink, things went so badly that I did not pick it up again for eons!!!
I look back on that now and realize how silly I was then, I was impatient to get to a result, got a little lost and gave up reaching my destination. Do you like all the traveling metaphors? LOL
I"ll have details about the 2 colorful alcohol ink cards that I made for you today but I really wanted to share My 10 Favorite Tips for Creating with Alcohol Ink!
Let's be clear, I am no expert. I just want to record some of the things I've learned along the way from watching Tim Holtz at work, stalking alcohol ink artists and spending hours making while failing fabulously. This list is not exhaustive, just a few quick tips to get you started and keep you going.
I selected a few items from Simon Says Stamp's Rainbow release to pair with my colorful Alcohol Ink cards:
Okay, enough lecturing from me, here are your key supplies and let's get this part started!
Simon Says Stamp Pride Die
Simon Says Stamp Sea and Sky Background Stamp
Simon Says Stamp Pride Sassy Insides Stamp Set
Simon Says Stamp Pride Reverse Pride Sentiment Strips
Tim Holtz Distress Alcohol Ink
Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink Yupo
Tim Holtz Silver Sparkle Alcohol Ink Cardstock
Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink Air Blower
A full supply list is available at the bottom of this post.
Tip 1: Prepare Your Space
Ensure that the room in which you are working is well-ventilated. Cover your surface with plastic is you care about the ink staining your desktop. I use a one of my white kitchen garbage bags. :-) If I am going to be inking for an extended period, sometimes I will wear a mask as I am particularly talented at snorting up the fumes.
Just open up those windows!
Tip 2: Make Swatches
This is a good way to get to know your inks and gain confidence in understanding how to control them. I made a video to walk you through making swatches linked here or click the image directly below.
I may have accumulated a lot of inks over the last 7 years when the ink bug first bit me!
Yes, that is a the white garbage back in question covering my desktop. LOL
Tip 3: Put The Straw Down and Pick Up A Blower
There are all kinds of tools to help you play with Alcohol Ink, but my favorite way to move ink about my surface is the Blower. Pressing it sharply vs. slowly will have different effects and you can gain control over where you want the ink to go and make patterns on your surface.
Also if you are like me, you will suck in a lot of fumes using a straw, which is not recommended. :-)
Tip 4: 90% Rubbing Alcohol Is Your Friend
Want to dilute the intensity of a particular ink? Want your ink to have that wispy, airy effect on your surface? Want to correct a mistake on your background? Want to clean up that ink that somehow landed outside of your magical garbage protector? Need I say more? Go a get yourself a big bottle at your favorite pharmacy and get ready to melt your ink problems away.
Maximum wispy, airy effect shown below:
Tip 5: Start Small
Until you gain confidence with knowing how to control your ink on the page, I have found that not only does a little ink go a long way, it is easier for me to add additional ink/colors to the surface in the spots that I want them, than to worry about moving a lot of ink all over my surface at the same time
Tip 6: Experiment with Different Surfaces
I started with Alcohol Ink Cardstock way back when, now most regularly use Alcohol Ink Yupo, in all forms - Regular, Heavyweight and Translucent. Yupo is a plastic that you can pretty much wipe clean of an experiment gone awry if it is really bothering you. The Tim Holtz Glitter Alcohol Ink Cardstock is dazzling see (see Friend Card) and the Black Alcohol Ink Cardstock is mysterious and dramatic in the best way.
I have also recently tried painting and watercoloring on the Black Cardstock. It is a deep inky black that creates a striking backdrop for whatever you put on top of it.
Tip 7: Use White (Snow Cap) Mixative on Dark Surfaces
This one is likely obvious to all of you, but it was a revelation for me to see colors pop on Black Alcohol Ink Cardstock, once you layer them on top of the Snow Cap Mixative!
Tip 8: Don't Throw Away Your "Mistakes"!
Given the flexibility of alcohol ink, you may come up with ideas at a later date to improve them. They can be diecut or trimmed and find a whole new life on your cards. I used this tip to make the PRIDE Card featured in this post. That background did not meet my high standards (LOL) for a full card front, but is still eye-catching as a diecut.
Tip 9: Don't Get Precious About Your "Wins"!
Sometimes when you create an especially pretty background, resist the urge to hoard it, make something! It took me weeks to trim the background below and commit to a few die-cuts on top of it to make a small sign for my desk. But I did, and I have no regrets!
Tip 10: Keep Going
As I mentioned at the beginning, don't get discouraged if the effect that you are going for does not seem to work out at first, keep going, keep experimenting. Practicing not only helps you build skill, but will help you discover new things about how to use your inks and tools.
Thank you for putting up with the lecture. Here are some quick details about today's cards.
PRIDE CARD - Diecutting A Rejected Alcohol Ink Background
Size: 4 1/4" x 5 1/2"
Simon Says Stamp Pride Die