15 Surfaces To Use Your Alcohol Ink On!

Alcohol ink based artwork seems to be seeing a resurgence recently with the number of people actually getting involved in the various types of alcohol ink artwork going through the roof. With the increase in the number of people actually taking part in various alcohol ink based arts and crafts increasing, we have also noticed the number of questions relating to alcohol increasing too.

Although we have already published a few articles going over things like alcohol ink techniques to get better results, we wanted to publish this dedicated article going over surfaces that you are able to use for your alcohol ink artwork. We feel that the more surfaces our readers are using their alcohol ink on, the more creative they can be and you can get great results with a decent, cheap entry-level alcohol ink set with the majority of the featured surfaces.

Due to covering so many different surfaces in our article, we have added our table of contents below to allow our readers to navigate to specific sections out the article. This should help save you time and allow you to click any of the featured surfaces that you want to read about to be taken directly to them.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Metal?

Alcohol ink can work on metals and it will set correctly but due to the non-porous nature of metal, it is essential that you use a decent sealant on your artwork once it is dry to preserve it. Although there are some metal style canvases available for display purposes, the majority of people we see using alcohol ink on metal are using it for things such as key rings and other metal accessories so the protection of a sealant is important.

We have this dedicated article going over how to seal alcohol ink on metal if you do need help with the process but it is very simple. Different sealant types can use different delivery systems though so just be sure to go by the instructions on the side of the sealant tub and you should be good to go.

The actual process of using your alcohol ink on metal is essentially the same as using it on paper or any other surface. You simply prep your alcohol ink tray and then dip your metal into it for the ink to attach and then wait for the alcohol ink to dry. If you are using smaller pieces of metal such as a key ring or jewellery then you usually don’t have to use an actual tray and smaller containers will work well and save you some ink due to you only needing a small amount.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Canvas?

Alcohol ink can work surprisingly well on a canvas surface delivering some beautiful artwork for you. Due to the porous nature of canvas you do have to prime your canvas prior to applying your alcohol ink to it though else large amounts of your ink will simply be absorbed into the canvas.

Thankfully, there are a larger number of high-quality, cheap canvas primers on the market and many of our readers from the arts and crafts community may already have a primer in their collection. We also have a dedicated article going over how to use alcohol ink on canvas that may be helpful but priming your canvas is very simple.

Although there are a number of different types of primer on the marker that you are able to use with your canvas to form the base layer for your alcohol ink, the majority are based around gesso or use a very similar application process. That said though, there are different consistencies to the various primers so we usually recommend you read the instructions on the side of your primer prior to applying it to your canvas for the best possible results.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Watercolor Paper?

Alcohol ink can work on watercolor paper but there are a number of different variables that you have to factor in when using watercolor paper as your alcohol ink surface. Although the general process is relatively easy, it can go wrong if you don’t set everything up correctly prior to applying your alcohol ink. Due to so many people wanting to use alcohol ink on watercolor paper, we published a dedicated article going over exactly how you use alcohol ink on watercolor paper that goes into much more detail.

Does Alcohol Ink Work For Tattoos?

Although we have seen people report that they have used alcohol ink on human skin for both temporary and permanent tattoos, we would never recommend that our readers do this, especially for a permanent tattoo as the risks are simply too great. If you do want a temporary tattoo then something like the BIC Bodymark pen range will work perfectly well and be totally safe for use with human skin so we would recommend you take this route.

If you do want a permanent tattoo then we would always recommend that our readers seek the services of a professional tattoo studio that has properly sterilized equipment and inks designed for use with tattoosinks designed for use with tattoos. It does seem that some people have been using alcohol ink for stick and poke tattoos but again, we would recommend you use an actual stick and poke tattoo ink for any stick and poke work.

We have seen people asking about using India ink for their own stick and poke tattoos and this can also work much better than alcohol ink. We have an article going over if India ink is safe for tattoos as well as an article going over a direct India ink vs tattoo ink comparison that may be helpful to our readers.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Plastic?

Alcohol ink can work very well on plastic and produce some excellent looking artwork but you have to keep in mind that there are actually seven different types of plastic that are used for various things. Alcohol ink tends to work well on four of them and can struggle on three of them, especially if you don’t use a sealant on the plastic after use. Some types of plastic will also need you to use a primer on them prior to applying your alcohol ink too.

If you are wanting to use your alcohol ink on something like plastic craft sheets then you shouldn’t have any issues as they have been specifically designed for use in arts and crafts with a solid reputation for use with alcohol ink. If you are wanting to use your alcohol ink on something where you are not sure about the actual type of plastic that it is made from, we would always recommend that you apply a primer first to offer the best possible results.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Glass?

Alcohol ink works well on most types of glass due to the non-porous nature of the material making it an ideal surface for your artwork. Although you are able to use a sealant on the glass once your alcohol ink has dried, there is usually no need for it provided your artwork will be kept indoors and out of reach of people to prevent fingers smearing and smudging your artwork.

Depending on the type of glass that you are using for your alcohol ink, we would highly recommend that you spend a minute or two cleaning it correctly prior to applying your alcohol ink though. Even if you have taken the glass out of its packaging the oil from your fingers can transfer to it and potentially cause some minor issues that can be totally avoided by giving the glass a quick once over with a cloth prior to using your inks on it.

Some people do use alcohol ink on their windows for temporary decorations for events such as Halloween and Christmas with great effect too. Provided that you don’t actually seal the ink onto your windows, it also tends to be quick and easy to remove after the event. Most of our readers are probably looking to use their alcohol ink on glass ornaments or decorations though so for long term artwork, taking advantage of a sealing ages is recommended.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Acrylic?

Alcohol inks can work very well when used with both acrylic inks or acrylic paints in the same piece of artwork. Depending on exactly what you are wanting to do, you will have to let your acrylic medium dry prior to adding the alcohol ink on top of it but if you are just wanting the two side by side with no overlay, they can usually be applied at the same time without issue.

Please keep in mind the actual surface that you are using under your acrylic paint too, for example, if you are using a canvas then you will have to use a high-quality, cheap canvas primer prior to applying your alcohol ink as there will be parts of the canvas where the alcohol ink will have exposure. Once your artwork is dry, we would also highly recommend that you apply a decent sealant to the piece to help preserve the alcohol ink elements of the art too.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Ceramic?

Alcohol ink works very well with the various types of ceramics used in arts and crafts due to ceramic being non-porous leaving the alcohol ink free to flow as it wishes to create those beautiful swirls that alcohol ink is well known for. If you are using ceramic tiles with your alcohol ink then both dipping and direct application of the ink can work well but ceramic bowls can be a pain to dip depending on the dip tray that you use.

Please keep in mind that alcohol ink is not marked as food safe so if you do use a ceramic that has been designed for use with food or drink then it will no longer be classed as food safe after the process unless you find a food safe sealant but these can be expensive. No matter the intended use of your ceramics, we would always recommend that our readers do use some form of sealant on their ceramics to preserve the alcohol ink when dry but please note, our recommended sealant is not marked as food safe but it cheap and perfect for general arts and crafts.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Wood?

Although wood is a porous material, alcohol inks can still work surprisingly well on most types of wood helping you create some unique looking artwork. There are two main ways that you are able to apply your alcohol ink to wood successfully with both being easy and both usually costing the same once all costs are considered.

The first method is to use much more alcohol ink on the wood than you normally would for alcohol ink artwork on a non-porous material as the wood will absorb a large amount of your ink. A cheap alcohol ink set tends to be best for use with wood as it helps to keep your overall costs as low as possible while still offering very similar results. Don’t be surprised if your first two or three applications of your alcohol ink to your wood fade or are totally absorbed, keep applying the ink and eventually, it will start to rest on the surface of the wood.

The second method is to use a surface primer on the wood prior to applying the alcohol ink. Although this will make the process much easier, it is not suitable for all types of wood based alcohol ink art as some people do like the raw wood to show behind the alcohol inks. Although you can sometimes get away with using a clear gesso as your primer so you can still see the wood, results can vary wildly.

Either option can allow you to apply your alcohol ink to a wood surface and with the additional alcohol ink being required for the first method and a primer being needed for the second, the over all costs do tend to workout to be the same. You will have to consider your goals for your artwork and then choose the best methods for your goals before applying your ink though.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Photo Paper?

Although you are able to use photo paper for alcohol ink artwork, it tends to be a waste of time as you are usually only able to get the back, non-glossy side of the paper to work well with your alcohol ink. Due to this, the majority of our readers will usually be better able to use regular paper and get very similar results while also having the advantage of regular paper being much cheaper than photo paper the majority of the time.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Yupo Paper?

Yupo paper can work very well with alcohol ink and the majority of the more recent releases of yupo paper work in a very similar way to regular paper when used with alcohol ink. You can apply your inks directly to the paper or use a dip tray but keep in mind, some of the older, first edition formula yupo paper can take a little longer to dry than the newer formulas.

Another advantage of the newer formulas for yupo paper is that they have brought the costs down to around two thirds of what yupo paper first retailed for. Due to this, our readers are able to pick up some high-quality, cheap yupo paper for their general arts and crafts and alcohol ink based artwork without having to pay over the odds.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Jewelry?

Although alcohol ink can work very well with most types of jewellery, you have to keep in mind that there is an absolutely huge range of jewellery available made from various materials so it is hard to give a one size fits all answer. If the jewellery is made from metal than you can follow our advice earlier in the article for using alcohol ink on metal and if it is made of glass then follow our recommendation for glass.

You will often find that it is the synthetic jewels in jewellery that tends to cause issues with alcohol inks so please keep this in mind when customising your products. Another thing to think of is sealing your jewellery after applying your alcohol ink too as it will be in direct contact with your skin on a regular basis while also being exposed to friction too causing the ink to come off if a sealant is not used.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Fabric?

Alcohol ink can work particularly well on fabrics of all types and if commonly used to customize clothing to your own unique style. Other popular uses for alcohol ink on fabric include to customize bedding, table cloths, sewing fabric, and wall hangs. Alcohol ink is also one of our primary recommendations in our article going over the best tie dye alternatives too due to its great performance with fabrics and low price tag.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Leather?

Alcohol ink can work on leather but it can be end up providing you with mixed results so we usually recommend that our readers just use a specialist leather dye if possible as the results will almost always be better. Leather dyes should also be a similar price to alcohol inks too meaning that your costs shouldn’t be any higher when going with a specialist leather dye that tends to offer a much better result than if you had used alcohol ink.

Does Alcohol Ink Work On Vellum?

Alcohol ink can work well on most types of vellum due to it essentially just being a paper made from cotton and wood pulp. The application process is very similar to regular paper with both direct application and dip trays working well for your vellum. Although using a sealant is not essential when using your alcohol ink on a vellum surface, it can help to protect it against smudging and smearing so can be a good idea if you want to preserve your artwork for a long time.


That brings our article going over fifteen different surfaces that you can use your alcohol ink on to an end and we hope that you have found it helpful. It usually surprises people when the realize just how versatile alcohol ink actually is and the sheer number of surfaces that it can work with. This expands your arts and crafts opportunities up and helps you get your creative juices flowing to come up with some pretty unique ideas for your artwork.

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