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Alcohol Inks and the Fade Effect

A common question I am asked by other alcohol ink artists is “How do I get some of that softer edging with alcohol inks?” People really love the fading technique and the lighter, more gentle-looking effect it can provide to your creations! In this blog post and video, I will show you exactly how to create those soft and wispy faded edges that are unique to Alcohol Ink Art. 

Supplies I Used: 


First, as with all alcohol ink creations, ensure you that you are working in a well ventilated area and that you are utilizing the protective equipment that you deem necessary, such as a face mask and/or gloves. Also insure that your canvas is clean and dust free and that your that you have all the supplies you need ready to go in your work area.

Fill your dropper bottle with isopropyl alcohol, or fill your cup if you are using a pipette and cup combination. As you will see in the video, I am using an ultra thin nosed squeeze bottle to apply my isopropyl alcohol, which gives me maximum control. 

Whilst alcohol inks tend to have a mind of their own (fun!) particularly when creating abstract works, in order to create the desired effect, we are going to have to  up the control a little bit, so get ready for a challenge! 

Step One:

Place a drop of alcohol ink on to your surface and then apply some isopropyl to surround the alcohol ink you just applied. Gently blow the isopropyl into the ink (or bend your paper) and then go the opposite way of blowing the ink back into the isopropyl pool. You want to do this ever so gently so that the ink is light in to the isopropyl, which will provide that transparency and softness.

Step Two:

Continue with this back and forth until you reach your desired affect and add some more ink and alcohol wherever you so choose. 

Fade effectStep three:

Now you can change and mix-up your colors if you wish and blend the inks and isopropyl into each other. It can be a little nerve racking to mix alternative colors, however the results can also be glorious! If choosing colors from opposing color families, it can be a good idea to test these mixes prior to beginning your project, so as you don’t end up with a completely brown piece – unless of course that is what you’re aiming for!

I generally like the difference in texture, of having more opaque ink areas that give way to softer areas throughout the work… these are not entirely ‘fades’, yet give more of those wispy vibes. You could create a whole faded piece by manipulating and diluting the ink continuously with the isopropyl until it is completely blended; or have a piece that is totally dense in one section to then dwindle into fades. Or you can incorporate your wisps/fades indiscriminately throughout.

Most of all, experiment, have fun and possibly a little patience if it is your first try!

Thanks to the crew at AcrylicPouring for featuring my work. If you want to keep up to date on my work, you can find me at @omni.creative on Instagram and @omnicreative1 on Facebook.

Alcohol Inks and the Fade Effect

13 thoughts on “Alcohol Inks and the Fade Effect”

  1. That creates a beautiful effect and I’d like to try it, I have some isopropyl alcohol but no alchohol inks. Would I be able to achieve the same effect with acrylic inks?

    1. Unfortunately, no it will not work. The alcohol ink and the alcohol react with each other. I don’t know of a way to do anything like this with acrylic inks. Sorry.

    2. Hi Viv,
      Isopropyl to alcohol inks is what water is to acrylics or watercolours. You wouldn’t be able to achieve this effect with iso/acrylics, however you can obtain some interesting textures with the two, as well as water and some manipulation and experimenting.

  2. You can make your own alcohol inks with sharper and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Lots of videos on you tube.

  3. Really loved this effect of beautiful colors. Can you please tell us how do you seal your work? Do we need some spray or can we just seal it with resin… Thanks!

    1. The backside of photo paper works very well and is reasonable to buy. Yupo paper is great but pricy. I also use Ranger alcohol ink paper.

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