11 Alcohol Ink Techniques To Help Get Better Results!

For todays article, we are going to be going over a number of different alcohol ink techniques that you are able to use to get the very best performance possible from your alcohol ink artwork to help you take your work to the next level. Please keep in mind that we have a huge range of readers of all experience levels do our list will include beginner tips, intermediate tips, and professional levels tips, tricks and techniques that you can use.

In addition to this, for optimal performance, we are going to presume that you are using a cheap, decent quality alcohol ink for your artwork as these techniques definitely perform better with a better ink. Although many of our readers do use the higher-quality, higher-price point inks on the market, there is no need to break the bank to get a decent alcohol ink but please note that the entry-level alcohol ink market can be a minefield.

Due to covering so many alcohol ink techniques techniques in the article, we are adding a table of contents below too. This will let our readers quickly and easily navigate to any specific techniques that they want to read about without having to skim the whole article.

Take Advantage Of Creative Textures

Although this may sound like a basic technique but it is something that people overlook time and time again when it comes to working with alcohol inks. You are able to us this technique to get surprisingly different end results from your ink due to the way that alcohol ink dries via the dissipation of the alcohol in the ink to leave the thin film.

Although there are a number of different things that you can use to create these different textures, there are some that tend to perform better than others. Although you can pick and choose the specific techniques that you use, we would recommend that you play around with blowing through a straw or experimenting with air duster initially if you are a beginner. You can then progress to additional things such as air compressors and hair dryers that all have their own little unique quirks when used with alcohol inks.

From there you can also start to integrate additional things to change the way that your ink sites on your paper. For example, applying your ink and then going over it with bubble wrap, saran wrap, a sponge, dragging some No products found. through it or dapping it with sandpaper all gives unique effects.

Dilute Your Alcohol Ink

Another quick, easy, and commonly overlooked technique is based around diluting your alcohol ink to get slightly different end results. Again, this is very cheap and doesn’t have to break the bank with common items used including other brands of cheap, decent quality alcohol ink with different formulas, blending alcohol, and water.

Although we included water above and some people do use water to dilute their alcohol ink we don’t usually recommend the technique for most people. Due to alcohol ink being an alcohol-based ink type rather than a water-based ink type, diluting it with water can give you a unique effect but can also potentially cause issues with the consistency of the ink.

Experiment With Different Application Techniques

Although this is a pretty common alcohol ink technique that people take advantage of, they usually stick to a very small number of applicators with many people only dropping their alcohol ink straight out of the bottle. Other popular application techniques include brushes, sponges, droppers, spreay bottles, stamps, q tips, balls of cotton, folded napkins, and markers.

Realistically though, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination with some of the more outlandish application techniques often delivering the most unique looking results. For example, items such as hair combs, tiny spatulas, feathers, chopsticks, straws, and window squeegees have all proven to be excellent application techniques for your alcohol ink.

Mask Your Paper Up

This is one of our favorite techniques that offers you a lot more control over your alcohol ink that you would normally have and better yet, its quick, easy, and cheap to do but you will need some masking fluid for the best possible results. Prior to you even applying your alcohol ink to your paper, you will go over certain areas that you don’t want the alcohol ink to take hold on with your masking fluid.

Once your masking fluid is in place you can then apply your alcohol ink to your paper as you wish without it taking hold in the areas where you have applied your masking fluid. This technique can be ideal for more specific goals such as having a white drawing with your masking fluid while having the alcohol ink surround it. You can also use this for very simple tasks such as writing your name on the paper and then having the alcohol ink boarder it.

Intergrate The Collage

Although the popularity of alcohol ink collages has decreased in recent years, it is still a unique technique that offers some excellent results that is relatively easy to do. You are actually able to use multiple techniques from this very article togeather to create your collage to allowing you to compound the unique effects.

For example, do four individual alcohol ink paintings, two on paper and two on card so you get the unique looks of the paper and card. You then split this even further by applying your alcohol ink with the dropper technique to one paper and one card painting and then the brush technique for the other ones. Once everything is dry, you cut unique shapes out of all four paintings to create one single collage.

You can easily take this technique a step further if you have a custom stencil too allowing you to drastically improve the over all look of your work. Essentially, prior to taking the above steps, you apply masking fluid to all four surfaces via the stencil. You then match the artwork in your stencil up on the final collage bringing all of the different effects together while having the stencil graphic bringing everything together.

Try Different Art Surfaces

You are able to use your alcohol ink on a huge range of different surfaces with excellent results provided that they are non-porous. Although the majority of our readers seem to only use paper or card, you can start to apply your inks to resin, glass, plastic, and metal to have the ink dry in a slightly different way than it would on paper to provide you with a unique effect. We have another article online going over how to use alcohol ink on watercolor paper that offers unique effects too.

Start To Reactivate

This technique is something that beginners to using alcohol ink tend to overlook for any alcohol ink-based artwork that they don’t like. Often, people will just throw their artwork out and never think of it again but you are able to use some isopropyl alcohol to reactivate your ink and let it rearrange the colors on your canvas.

We are confident that you will be surprised with how often you are able to take some artwork that you dislike and turn it into something of beauty that you enjoy looking at. The best part is, if you still don’t like your artwork after reactivating it, you can use the same technique again to reactivate it again but after the second reactivation the ink does end to wear out.

Start To Make Use Of The Color Wheel

There are a whole bunch of different color wheel techniques that you are able to use to enhance your alcohol ink artwork with minimal effort. Although our experienced readers will probably already be aware of them, our readers who are new to art in general or using alcohol ink may be using their ink colors randomly.

Although you are able to implement the color wheel in a number of different ways, you are able to experiment with them to find the one that fits your taste and then implement it into your wider technique. This can be a quick and easy win to improve the general look and feel of your artwork and only takes minutes to research.

Start To Use Yupo Paper

Although there are a few different things that you are able to use with your alcohol inks to perfect your technique, Yupo paper is without a doubt one of the best ones on the market right now. Although we have recommended that you try your alcohol inks on a number of different things for different effects, when it comes to teaching yourself a brand new technique or to general alcohol ink based work Yupo paper tends to be the best.

Test Metallic Inks

Although some people really don’t like them, metallic alcohol inks can be a great technique to master and it can add that additional level to your work. You are able to integrate both metallic and non-metallic inks in the same artwork too helping to bring some contrast to your work but alcohol ink work consisting of nothing but metallic ink looks excellent in our opinion.

Thankfully, metallic alcohol inks are just as cheap as their non-metallic variants these days meaning that you can add them to your collection without breaking the bank. Using some of the techniques covered above with metallic inks can add the same unique effect to your work too but they can tend to look dull if used on any dark paper so keep that in mind.

Practise Your Blending

Although the vast majority of people who use alcohol inks for their artwork can blend, very few of them can blend well, even at the intermediate level. Even putting a few hours into practising this basic technique can yield great results and drastically improve your blending technique for your alcohol ink art.

There are an absolute ton of different blending techniques out there all with their own strengths and weaknesses too with some performing better than others for certain types of artwork. Our recommendation would be to try as many different blending techniques out as possible to play around and help you decide on the one that you prefer for your own work.


That brings our article going over eleven different alcohol ink techniques to improve your artwork to an end. Although there is no need to implement every single suggestion in our article, trying to add in as many as possible can easily help to improve the quality of your art work as well as add in different textures and effects with minimal effort. We see so many people going out and purchasing expensive accessories for their artwork but there really is no need as the cheaper, entry-level products work almost as well.

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