Artwork based around alcohol ink seems to be making a resurgence with more and more people in the arts and crafts space adding a decent, cheap alcohol ink set to their arts and crafts kit. Although alcohol ink works well on a wide range of surfaces, more and more people have started to use it on metal for general art, jewellery, key rings, and many other things too.
Due to so many people using metal as their surface of choice when it comes to alcohol ink, we have seen a bunch of questions from the community with the most frequently asked on being how you can seal alcohol ink on metal. Due to a constant, steady stream of people reaching out for advice on sealing their alcohol ink artwork on a metal surface, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the subject to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Although most people tend to keep the metal that they used for their alcohol ink indoors, some of the sealants that we will cover later in the article can also work for metal that will be kept outdoors. This helps to cover both bases and ensure that no matter what you are using your alcohol ink artwork for, you will be able to seal it quickly, easily, and cheaply so it can last for a very long time.
Does Alcohol Ink Stay On Metal?
Alcohol ink can stay on metal and both be waterproof and permanent if sealed correctly. If you do not seal your artwork then it is susceptible to smearing when touched as well as running if water gets onto the metal and causes the alcohol pigments to run. With metal being a non-porous surface, over time this can end up in all of the alcohol ink pigments washing off the metal all together.
As we touched on above, the majority of people who do use metal as their surface for their alcohol ink art are usually using it on jewellery or key rings and things like that what are not exposed to the elements much. This is where the smudging risk comes into play as jewellery will usually be running against your skin if it is a bracelet or rubbing against other things in your pocket if it is a keyring so sealing your art work is important as it can help prevent this.
Be sure to clean your metal surface prior to even starting to apply your alcohol ink to it though. We see people make this mistake countless times and even if it is store bought metal that you have only handles with your own hands you should still clean it. The oil on our fingers can cause issues with both the alcohol ink and the sealant sticking to the metal correctly and end up having a negative effect on the quality of your art work when it can easily be avoided if you spend a minute cleaning the metal first.
How Long Does It Take For Alcohol Ink To Dry On Metal?
Alcohol ink can take up to 24 hours to dry on a porous surface but it can be as long as double that when used on metal due to its non-porous nature. Please keep this in mind when working with alcohol inks on metal as many people presume that their work will be dry much quicker than it actually is and your work has to be completely dry prior to your starting to seal your artwork.
Although it is not essential, we have seen some people have a spare piece of metal that they use as a gauge to check if the alcohol ink on their main piece of metal is actually dry or not without having to risk smearing their main work. For example, they will go through their regular artwork and then tip some spare metal, sometimes even as simple as something like an old spoon from the kitchen into the alcohol ink and leave it to dry.
After two days, they then check to see if the alcohol ink on the spoon is dry or not without having to actually touch the main metal that they are using for their artwork. Although this is only a small thing, it is quick, easy, and cheap and helps to protect your main art from any potential smudging so is well worth doing.
What Can I Use To Seal Alcohol Ink On Metal?
There are a number of different sealants that you are able to use to seal your alcohol ink on metal with some definitely performing better than as well as having a whole range of different price tags. Thankfully though, our recommended sealant of choice is very budget friendly and has an excellent reputation amongst the community due to its solid performance and low price tag.
Can You Seal Alcohol Ink With Krylon Varnish?
The most reliable way for you to seal your alcohol ink on metal is to use some Krylon Varnish. It is quick and easy to use due to its aerosol deployment system so you simply hold the canister around 30cm away from the metal that you are wanting to seal your alcohol ink onto and spray it. Once dry, the product will seal your alcohol ink to the metal to ensure that it will last for as long as possible while also being resistant to both the weather and UV light to help prevent it from fading soon.
Although some people do use two coats of Krylon Varnish on their metal to help add an additional layer of protection, this is usually not needed and a single coat will usually do the trick. That said though, if you are planning to use the metal that you have your alcohol ink on as a key ring or something like that and have lots of items in your pocket or bag where you keep your keys then a second coat may be a good idea.
If you do choose to add a second coat simply wait around two hours for the first coat to fully cure and then apply the second coat. The application process for the second coat is exactly the same as the process for the first one and you simply hold the canister 30cm away from your metal and spray until your art is covered.
Can You Seal Alcohol Ink With Mod Podge?
Although some people have used mod podge to seal their alcohol ink based artwork on a metal surface, the results tend to be mixed at best. Although you can try to seal your art with mod podge if you already have some in your home, we do usually recommend that our readers stick to using Krylon Varnish when looking to seal their artwork.
That brings our article going over how you can seal your alcohol ink artwork on metal to a close. Provided you follow the steps in our article, you will usually find that the process is much easier than many people usually think due to the bad reputation that non-porous materials get when it comes to sealing alcohol inks to them. Thankfully, Krylon Varnish is an excellent, cheap sealant that you are able to use to get the job done quickly without you having to spend a lot of money.