What are Alcohol Inks? Read our latest blog from THE SPACE gallery

Alcohol Ink is a very fascinating and flexible medium. In the following article, we explain the terms and basics, which materials you need for a successful painting and give you some inspirations.  

Alcohol inks are, as the name suggests, an alcohol-based, highly pigmented ink that can be diluted with isopropyl alcohol (IPA).  On the other hand, it is also a term for the fluid painting technique used. 


Alcohol has the property to evaporate very quickly, which has some advantages with this painting technique. However, even dried ink can be “revived”, if pure alcohol or fresh ink is added. In this way, the painting can be changed at a later date. This possibility is not available with acrylic paints, for example.


What materials do you need?

Obviously, you need the alcohol paint itself. Alcohol inks come in a wide range of colours and pigments.

 You might be happy to test the medium with just three or four colours, or you may want to see what a wider range of colours will create. Feel free to experiment!


Sweet Memories by artist Pascale R 

When working with Alcohol Ink it is always advisable to work with a so-called blending solution. It opens up many more technical possibilities. Blending Solution consists of isopropyl alcohol and glycerine which ensure that the colours are brightened and can be mixed.


You can use different applicators for alcohol ink, such as brushes, markers, spray bottles, and even cotton buds. 

When choosing the perfect substrate for the Alcohol Ink technique some basic things should be considered. Normal paper, as used for example for painting with acrylic, oil, or watercolours, is not suitable for working with Alcohol Ink.

The best type of paper to use is the Yupo paper.  It is a synthetic paper made of polypropylene and is non-absorbent. It feels like a flexible piece of plastic. It comes in white and transparent and in different weights. 

But you can use other substrates such as ceramic tiles, whiteboard, canvas prepared with varnish, butcher paper, and glossy photo paper.

Different techniques

There are many techniques to experiment with when using alcohol inks. Techniques range from directly applying the alcohol ink to your project to using a marker to get a more precise application. Many professionals will use an airbrush to blow out the ink, but it is possible to do this with compressed air or even by manually blowing into a straw.

Alpine II by artist Laura Bright

To protect against UV light (alcohol ink is extremely light sensitive) you should seal your Alcohol Ink paintings after completion. A so-called spray varnish is very easy to apply and protects your artwork not only from UV-rays but also from mechanical influences.

Book now your ticket for a workshop of introduction to alcohol ink, you will love it and have a lot of fun!

Reference: smart-art and art tutor

Pictures: Canva and Pinterest

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