Alcohol inks | Five ways to get started

Painting with alcohol inks doesn’t have to be expensive. Learn how you can save money by using alcohol ink art for your next project!

Do you love art but don’t want to spend a ton of money on supplies? If so, then alcohol ink art is perfect for you! Alcohol inks are a versatile form of paint where you mix inks with isopropyl alcohol, and you can paint with them on any non-porous surface. They’re great because they come in various colors and are easy to use just about anywhere. In this blog post, I’ll go over five ways that you can get started with alcohol inks and explore some tips for using them.

What are alcohol inks, and why should I use them

Alcohol inks are fast-drying, highly pigmented, alcohol-based inks. They are great to use on any hard, non-porous surface, including glass, metal, plastic paper such as Yupo or Nara. 

Alcohol inks blend to form vibrant organic designs, and their fast-drying nature makes for almost instant satisfaction!

alcohol inks artwork

How to be safe while painting with alcohol inks

I started with just using my breath or straw to push the inks around, but when I started getting headaches and a sore throat after using the inks, I did some research and found out that when the inks and isopropyl alcohol are wet that they can be toxic. I started using a respirator, and the symptoms went away.  I’m a firm believer in using a respirator but do more research if you’re curious.

Here is an article about safety if you are interested in learning from the experts.

Painting tips for beginners

If you start with alcohol inks and want a low-cost entry fee, go to your local hardware store and buy white ceramic tiles. Yupo paper and Nara paper are great products to paint on, but there can be a learning curve at the beginning. Heavy Yupo paper is very thick and can withstand a lot of heat, but the downside is that the inks will stain the paper. Nara paper will wipe completely clean if you make a mistake with the inks but is more fragile and will warp if too much heat is applied. Tiles allow you can practice the techniques again and again and wipe the surface clean. They will enable you to gain confidence in your skills without worrying about the expense of the paper. You can also use little dishes as I have done below.

alcohol inks on trinket dish


I was hoping you could read my article Top  10 Alcohol Ink Art Supplies for more inspiration.

Different brands of alcohol inks. What you need to know

Copic marker refills: They are a Japan-based company that has been around since 1987. They have a wide range of colors, 358 to be exact. Copic has many recourses on their website, from their handy color matching cards to competitions you can enter on Instagram to show off your designs and be in a supportive community.

Ranger Inks has a large variety of creative mediums on their website ranging from resins, embossing inks, clay. But so far, all that I have used is their alcohol inks. I love that many of their colors have gorgeous undertones.  They have helpful tutorials and beginner videos that walk you through all of the things you need to create with inks and the techniques to acquire the look you want.

Trex inks: They are a reasonably new company, and I love their inks. They started with their Starter pack ink series and added a warm  EARTHtones and cool  EARTHtones ink collection.   They have a blog where they showcase alcohol inks artists, and they have a T-Rex University where different artists give you their tips and tricks for working with inks to create unique art.

Alcohol inks different brands

Resources for growing your skill level

Youtube is a great place to start because there are many free tutorials where the artists share their technics and the products they use. I would start there to learn the basics and then follow your own intuition to create your own unique style.

Follow other artists on Instagram that are ahead of you in skill level. Many of them have classes that you can take to learn a particular style or technique. At the beginning of my art journey, I took several courses from an artist that I wanted to learn from, and it was money well spent. You also have the satisfaction of supporting other artists along your journey.

Alcohol inks resources

I also joined the alcohol ink artist community, which has a wealth of expert information from all types of teachers that have classes on abstract techniques to realist art painting. Join the group if you want to find your niche.

In Conclusion

 I’ve covered 1) what alcohol inks are and why you should use them, 2) how to be safe while using them 3) tips for painting with alcohol inks that beginners may find helpful. 4) Different brands of alcohol inks 5) resources for beginner painters who want to learn more about using alcohol ink paints Now it’s time to get started! So grab some of the colors from any of the brands that I have listed, put on your favorite tunes, and start creating something amazing!

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Hi, friends!

First off, if we are going to be friends you should get to know me a little better. I’m Amelia Mabry, a mixed media artist from Northwest Arkansas where I live with my husband and two teenage sons.

I love the movement and flow of alcohol inks, their vibrant colors help me to capture the beauty of nature that is an endless inspiration to me. My hope for this space is that the words that I write and art that I create can be an inspiration for you too! 

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