My Alcohol Ink Supply List
LAST UPDATED: APRIL 2023
After each of my workshops, I used to send out an email to the students with a list of the materials we used and links where to find the best prices online. I thought I'd put all that information into a blog post for anyone to reference - I hope you find this helpful. It is constantly updated to include new products.
Alcohol inks are very vibrant, yet transparent, dyes in an alcohol base. They are ideal for use on non-porous surfaces -- plastic, glass, metal, ceramic, acetate -- anything that allows them to float and spread on the surface until they dry. And since they are in an alcohol base, they dry very quickly.
You can get started with alcohol inks pretty easily for around $30 - for $50 (depending on how many colors of ink you buy.) Please keep in mind that the inks are in an alcohol base, which means they are flammable. They can stain fabrics, tables and flooring permanently. You should roll up your sleeves and always wear protective gloves. And always work in a well-ventilated area.
Follow the orange links to view the products online.
This is my new favorite alcohol ink for a number of reasons. 30ml (1 oz.) bottles are twice the volume of most other ink bottles, but not twice the price, so they are a better value.Click here to learn the other reasons and where to purchase.
Ranger/Adirondack brand by Tim Holtz
These are readily available at your local craft store or online. They offer a wide variety of colors, plus shimmering PEARL inks, metallics and more. ,You can also buy 3-packs and single 1/2 oz. bottles online at:
Ranger Snow Cap Mixative
This is an opaque mixative - perfect for making white flowers on a dark background.
Pinata brand by Jacquard
They are sold individually or in two nice 9-pack set for about $25 - $30. They offer colors that are slightly different than Ranger and are also offered in larger 4 oz bottles.
I love their blues (Baja Blue and Sapphire) and their Rich Gold and Brass metallics are magical!
MEDIUMS AND OTHER TOOLS/SUPPLIES
91% Isopropyl Alcohol
You can find this at any drug store or pharmacy dept of Walmart, Target, etc. They sell 70% and 91% - make sure to use 91%. The 70% has too much water in it to be effective.
This is used to clean brushes, palettes and tools.
Used to lighten inks, keep them flowing longer by delaying the dry time a bit, and helps colors to blend together rather than "push off" from one another. It can be used to add detail to dried inks with a paintbrush or Q-Tip.
Applicator Tool and Felt (Comes in rectangular or round shape)
You can get great texture and apply multiple colors at once with this tool which is simply a handle attached to a flat surface covered with the "hook" side of velcro and white felt.
Easy to find at craft store or craft section at department store. Plastic is fine.
Best Deal: My Dollar Tree has a 6-pack for $1.25 in the craft section!
I rarely use paintbrushes because my style is to guide the inks, not "paint" with them. But brushes do come in handy for small dots, designs and details - especially detail brushes with short, small tips. Michaels | Hobby Lobby
Alcohol inks stain. Everything. Including fingers. So it's a good idea to wear some type of protective gloves. I like nitrile, but any disposable gloves will work.
A must-have on hand for general clean-up of brushes, surfaces, etc.
Cotton Swabs / Q-Tips
The cheaper the better - the tips are great for adding detail with inks, blending solution or straight isopropyl alcohol.
MOVING THE INKS WITH AIR
Alcohol Ink Blower
A convenient hand-held tool for manipulating alcohol ink movement with air. The rubber squeeze bulb allows you to control the flow of air by adjusting the amount of pressure you use.
Used to clean computer keyboards and other electronics, you can find this in the office supply section of almost any store. It's fun to use air to push and guide the inks. Just make sure to protect your surroundings. And if the can starts to get cold, or the propellant starts to come out, just give it a rest for a couple of minutes.
Airbrush / $50 - $150
If you're ready to invest in an airbrush/air compressor, this is the one I bought on Amazon for around $69 and I really like it. You don't put the inks into the airbrush, you just use it to blow and push the inks with a steady stream of air.
ENHANCE YOUR ART
POSCA Paint Pens
This is my absolute favorite for doodling and outlining on top of dried alcohol inks. I like the EXTRA FINE (PC-1M) tip from Amazon that comes from Japan. Smooth, opaque and it doesn't "soak in" to the ink like some gel pens do.
White and Black 2-pk on Amazon
Colorless Blender Markers
These markers blend and/or lighten dried ink. You can use them to create details, lines, squiggles - they work really well to create thin flower stems on a painted background.
Deco Foil Transfer Sheets
A fun and creative way to add vibrant color, brilliant shine and a metallic or satin finish to any project. It is available in a wide selection of colors and patterns. It is applied with a special adhesive - I prefer the iCraft Deco Foil Liquid Adhesive. (see below).
REMEMBER, apply the sheets with the shiny/color side UP!
Deco Foil Liquid Adhesive
Deco Foil Liquid adhesive is a non-toxic, permanent liquid adhesive that is used to transfer/attach the Deco Foil Transfer Sheets to surfaces. After applying, you must let it dry completely (it turns from a milky color to crystal clear when dry) before applying the transfer sheets. REMEMBER, apply the sheets with the shiny/color side UP!
Amazon | Joann
Yupo is one of my favorite surfaces to work on. It's a synthetic paper made out of plastic, which makes it a perfect non-porous painting surface for alcohol inks. It's sold in pads, single sheets, and rolls. I find Cheap Joe's is the best value offering 20-sheet pads for about the same price as 10-sheet pads of similar dimensions at other retailers. It's also available in large sheets - up to 23" x 35" as well as rolls of 40" x 10 yards.
Kirkland Photo Paper
The BACK of photo paper (if it's a plastic backing with no writing or brand name printed) is a great alternative. Don't use the front, which instantly soaks up the ink and doesn't allow them to move very well).
Another option for photo paper is the Amazon Basics brand - even cheaper!
A plastic surface, just like Yupo, but unlike Yupo, this bright white paper does not stain - you can wipe it back to white with Alcohol or Blending Solution! This also comes in Black for use with Alcohol Ink Pearls and opaque mixatives like Snow Cap.
Grafix Dura-Lar Matte Film
A translucent plastic surface that allows you to trace designs and/or paint on both sides for extra dimension. I use it a lot for tracing doodle designs and then painting on the opposite side. Like the other Grafix papers, this can be wiped clean with alcohol or Blending Solution!
Yasutomo Mineral Paper is made from rocks, not paper! It's not as glossy and SLIGHTLY porous so the inks act a bit differently. Made from 80% calcium carbonate bonded with a small amount of plastic, this paper can be used with watercolors, acrylics, inks, pastels, pencils, markers, and inkjet printers. Water-resistant with a smooth finish, it still has enough tooth and absorption for all mediums. It will not buckle when used with the wettest medium
Ampersand Museum Series Claybord features a kaolin clay ground formula similar to the clay gesso grounds used during the Renaissance. The surface is sanded to an ultra-smooth, highly absorbent finish so your paint colors remain true and brilliant.
"Botanical" Collage Paper by Tim Holtz
Pliable, workable, translucent paper that can be used for collage. Black and white floral pattern overlaid on vintage documents. Comes in a roll 6" x 7 yards.
For my Easter Egg workshops, I usually buy the white plastic eggs from Hobby Lobby (12 for $1), however, there's a limited amount of time they are available in-store or online (around Easter). Hobby Lobby
Someone sent me a link to some they found on Amazon and they look good, but I haven't ordered any yet to try them out.
SPRAY SEALANTS FOR ALCOHOL INKS
Because the inks (dyes) are not lightfast, they can start to fade from exposure to direct sunlight. It would need direct sunlight for hours a day, for a long period of time, but it can happen. To protect them from fading it is a good idea to seal them with a clear UV-Resistant Spray. However, these sprays contain a lot of alcohol in them and can re-activate your inks, even causing them to move or drip. So it's best to first spray with a couple VERY LIGHT coats (at least 8 inches away) of Karmar Varnish first, which contains less alcohol. If you spray too close or get it too wet with the spray, it can also reactivate the inks, so be careful.
Kamar Varnish: 2 very light coats letting it dry in between, then
UV-Resistant Spray: 3 - 4 light coats, letting it dry in between (for most surfaces)
Glass Cabochon and Bezel Sets
You can buy these in sets at most craft stores. General Search
If you're going to make A LOT of necklaces, you can buy the cabochons and bezels in bulk packs on Amazon
1" Circle Punch (25mm)
If you paint your design on Yupo, then you can easily find and punch an exact 1" area to use in the 1" bezel.
FOR GLASS CABACHONS
Adhesive Seals - double-side adhesive
THESE are the adhesive seals that I use to affix the punched-out ink design to the back/flat side of the glass cabochons instead of glue, which can reactivate the inks if not sealed)
For the 1" pendants, order "Circle - 1"
ALTERNATIVE TO GLASS
Epoxy Resin Stickers
Don't want to mess with the glass/glue? These domed epoxy stickers are so easy to place on top of your alcohol ink designs. Handle from the side so that you don't get fingerprints on the adhesive.
Stainless Steel Ear Wire Hooks
I also buy these on Etsy.
I really like these 24" tarnish-free, stainless steel chains.
UV Resin Light
This is the perfect size to cure 2 - 3 jewelry pieces at a time. The main thing to look for in a lamp is how many watts it is. You want at least 36W. This brand also offers a larger model that is 48W. Do not buy cheaper lamps that are only 6W - it is not strong enough to cure the resin.
This UV Resin Crystal Clear Hard Type by Wayin is what I prefer to use and use in my workshops. Basic tips for UV Resin:
- Warm up the bottle slightly before using (in warm water) to make it flow better and reduce bubbles.
- If the bezel is thick, add and cure a couple of thin layers instead of one thick layer.
ORGANIZATION & DISPLAY OPTIONS
Made to hold up to 10 inks, glues or other craft bottles (.5 oz.) upside down. (I, however, NEVER put the inks in upside-down - not since a very messy accident!) The plastic cover doesn't fit on when the inks are upright, but I just hold the cover on with a rubber band.
Find it at: Scrapbook.com
9" Round Lazy Susan Turntable
Great to hold ink bottles that don't fit the Dazzle Caddy or other individual holders.
Find it at: Amazon
Beautiful decorative tiles (ceramic or claybord) created with alcohol inks are pieces of art and these economical, glue-on backs allow the tile to be hung on the wall or displayed on a flat surface with the easel. They are available for tile sizes from 4" x 4" to 12" x 12" and are easily glued on with an adhesive like E6000.
Shop online at Bison Coating & Supply or Etsy
Tiles are not just coasters!
There are so many display options:
Wood block stands
Trays to hold multiple tiles
coaster trays and holders
Shop for these online at LRi
I'm often asked where I purchase my mats. I've been really pleased with Matboard Plus online for all colors, sizes as well as backer boards and cellophane sleeves.
In my workshops, the white mats with the black line around the opening are color: "white with black core"