Prepping the Perfect Alcohol Ink Art Station

When asked me if I would be interested in blogging about my alcohol ink process, I was immediately excited and honored. The idea of being able to express my artistic process through words sounded extremely appealing but then I thought, what would be the most valuable way to introduce alcohol inks to my readers? I decided that my first blog would focus on the preparation before the actual painting process. I would like to emphasize that each artist is different and each process is unique and special but through trial and error, this has become my most successful process.

Make sure that your area is covered with plastic or cardboard. It’s imperative that you provide adequate space for alcohol inks and blending solution to overflow without worry. Alcohol inks stain! Also, have paper towels or napkins readily available in case you need to soak up the ink.


Once your area is covered, you want to make sure that you have laid out everything you will need for the duration of your ink painting. Alcohol ink works really quickly so having all of your supplies ready and within arms reach is essential. I also really enjoy painting with an adult beverage. As you can see, I have it open and ready to sip. To each their own!


Music is extremely important for my overall process so making sure that my bluetooth speaker is charged, on, and ready is a top priority of mine. As mentioned before, alcohol inks dry quickly so creating a painting playlist might be something to consider. That way you don’t have to stop to change a song you are not vibing with. 


In working with alcohol inks, it is important to understand the job of the actual ink and the blending solution. This has been one of the biggest learning curves for me and I am still working towards understanding how the two work together. It is also important to realize that while there is a specific alcohol blending solution (which works best with white, pearls, and metallics), 91% isopropyl alcohol works just as good and is a quarter of the cost. In the picture, I use a distress sprayer which is great for lifting areas of alcohol ink that may be too heavy or adding extra texture and design to your piece. 91% isopropyl alcohol is poured into the two dropper bottles (it’s easier to work with than the large bottle the alcohol comes in). Finally, I have the actual alcohol blending solution which I use specifically for the colors mentioned above. 

Alcohol inks are the concentrated color and when dropped directly onto whatever surface you are using, dries immediately into a deep and vibrant color. The blending solution is what lifts the alcohol inks, lightening the colors, and adding layer after layer. I will sometimes mix the inks with the blending solution for a lighter, blended color. Sometimes I will pour the blending solution directly on to the surface depending on what I feel the piece needs. 


Pick out your colors before you begin your painting. Alcohol inks react differently every time you use them but having some sort of color scheme in place will help in the construction of your piece.


Always have a heating device present. For the longest time I used a blow dryer but I didn’t like how the force of the air moved the inks around. I tried the heating gun I use for my resin work but I found that my yupo paper would shrivel up. Recently, I was able to find a small, hand-held heating gun that I absolutely love


Make sure you have the tools necessary for completing your art piece available and easy to access.


Finally, once you have looked over your art space, checked to make sure all of your supplies are ready and you are in a mental space to begin your creation, go for it and enjoy watching the alcohol inks transform before your eyes. This medium really is amazing to paint with!



What to Read Next..

How to Create a Daily Art Habit

Alcohol Ink Beginners Complete Guide

Alcohol Ink Supplies – Essential Materials for Alcohol Ink Art

5 thoughts on “Prepping the Perfect Alcohol Ink Art Station”

  1. Mary Scott Blake

    I love working with inks as well!
    Very therapeutic!
    It’s loosened me up and I love the flow and colors!
    Nature is my favorite too-
    Mountains and trees are magical in inks!
    Thank you
    Article was great!
    I’m on Pinterest – mary Scott Blake

  2. SarahJayne Wakefield

    Thank you, this is helpful. Especially about when to use blending solution and when to use the alcohol. That is a great tip and will save money. I aggree with you regards the blowdryer and heating gun. Unfortunately i really have to stick with what i have bought already. I have spent a small fortune on finding the right one, maybe you could let us know what you’re heat gun is, a link perhaps great for a gift for Christmas or Birthday!

  3. Thank you for all of this valuable information. Working with these materials, are they highly toxic?

    1. Hi Petra! Alcohol ink is no more toxic than rubbing alcohol. You should not inhale it directly, and you should not use it on food surfaces that will come in direct contact with the food or your mouth.

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