More and more people have been realising just how cheap and easy it is to get involved in alchol ink based artwork recently as a way to be creative and express themselves. As with most things in the arts and crafts space, we have also noticed a number of people reaching out to ask about the various alchol ink ingredients to try and make sure they are not putting themselves at risk.
Due to the health of our readers being important to us as well as seeing so many people specifically reaching out to ask about the ingredients in their alcohol ink, we have decided to publish this dedicated article. We are going to be going over the most common ingredients used in modern alcohol ink formulas in the hope that we are able to help our readers understand what they are using during their art sessions.
As we always like to try and ensure that our readers are getting the very best out of their products we also wanted to mention our article going over the various alcohol ink techniques that you can use to help get better results from your alcohol inks. We also have a dedicated article going over the best surfaces to use alcohol ink on too that can really open up what you can get done with your alcohol ink too.
Alcohol Ink Ingredients
The vast majority of alcohol ink formulas are simple and are essentially made up of some form of alcohol, usually rubbing alcohol and dye. The alcohol is what makes the dye move around to create those swirls that alcohol ink artwork is well known for where as the various dyes used are available in a wide range of colors.
Once the alcohol evaporates off the surface that you are using with your alcohol ink, the dye is what is left behind with its pigment taking hold to deliver the color from the ink. There are a few popular dye options that have a few specific ingredients depending on the color you use but they are in such small quantities that there should be no issues with them.
As with the majority of ink, dye and paint options out there, the exact ratios of alcohol and dye will change depending on the specific brand that you are using. All brands are required to give you a full breakdown on their label in North America and Europe so the majority of our readers should be able to quickly workout the ratio of alcohol to dye in their product.
Some Form Of Alcohol
As the name suggests, all of the alcohol inks on the market will contain some form of alcohol. The vast majority use a rubbing alcohol (isopropanol alcohol) that is at least 91% strong as weaker alcohols usually fail when used with dye. If you are wanting to make your own alcohol ink at home, we would usually recommend that you use a 99.9% alcohol though as it tends to offer much better performance while being around the same price.
There is one exception at the time of writing and that is the Jacquard Piñata Alcohol Inks that have an excellent reputation amongst the community. Rather than being a traditional alcohol ink that uses a rubbing alcohol base, they use an ethanol base that offers slightly different performance.
If you are wanting to make your own homemade alcohol ink then we would not recommend that you opt to use an ethanol base as it is difficult to get the dye to perform well. Going with a rubbing alcohol base should be much easier for the vast majority of our readers and it would be our recommendation.
Some Form Of Dye
The amount of dye options are huge when it comes to use with alcohol ink with different brands using different dyes and different colors sometimes needing different types of dye too. Even the same color from different alcohol ink brands may use totally different dye types to deliver the same color.
If you are looking to make your own homemade alcohol ink then a large number of people tend to use Rit dye as their dye ingredient. Although Rit dye does perform well and offer a decent range of colors, you are able to open the color range up by using any of the following color options:-
Just keep in mind that using a pigment with your rubbing alcohol does slightly change how the alcohol ink will perform but it adds a huge range of different colors to what you are able to use. If you are a beginner then sticking with Rit dye is probably the best option as your dye ingredient for your first batch though.
How To Make Your Own Alcohol Ink
There are a number of different methods that you can use to make your own alcohol ink at home with your own ingredients. This can often help to save you a surprising amount of cash, especially if you are planning to make large amount of your own alcohol ink as the raw ingredients tend to be much cheaper than actually buying pre-made dyes.
The majority of people will add their rubbing alcohol ingredient (remember it has to be at least 91% alcohol) to their mixing container first and then add their dye after and then mix them together. There are a number of different ways that you can mix them but in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t that important.
If you are set on making your own alcohol ink at home using your own ingredients then our article on making your own alcohol ink with India ink or making your own white alcohol ink may be worth reading too. They are both common alcohol ink types that we see people interested in making with slightly different ingredients but the actual creation process is very easy.
That brings our article going over the various alcohol ink ingredients to an end. Alcohol ink is a very simple product that has essentially been designed to do one single job to the absolute best of its ability. This is why there are very few ingredients in it and although some specific formulas do add a few other things, the majority of the time, it is essentially some form of alcohol with some form of dye mixed in with it in a specific ratio.