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Art Supplies for alcohol ink painting

Tequila Sunset
Tequila Sunset

To work with alcohol inks all you need is some alcohol ink and any surface. Really! Thats it! You can create some great art by just applying the ink to the surface for example Yupo paper and moving them around by tipping the paper or allow the inks to simply flow together to create great effects.

Even if you want to be more adventurous or take more control of the inks you really don’t have to spend a lot on supplies. Here are some of the things I find useful when I’m creating art whether it’s allowing the inks to do the hard work for me or trying to gain a little more control and painting a little more realistically.

Photo by Lauren Tindall
  1. Alcohol inks (obviously ūüėú) I find Adirondack has a great range of colors but the different packs can vary in the amount of alcohol they contain and therefore the amount of movement you get with them. Pi√Īata seem to be thicker and can be controlled much better. The colors in this range are fantastic and not only are they available in the small bottles but you can get them in 4oz ¬†sized bottles which are far more cost effective if you are counting the pennies. Always work in a well ventilated area and remember they are highly flammable.
  2. 91% Rubbing alcohol: I use this to dilute the alcohol inks for paler colours, in the spray misters , on the cotton buds and on the stampers to create a multitude of effects. Alcohol wipes can also be used to clean surfaces and hands.
  3. Straws: to move the inks; I use this technique most often when creating abstract flowers and landscapes.
  4. Palette: when I’m painting with the inks I put small amounts of the ink into the palette and paint using those. If I want more control and the inks to move less I allow the alcohol to evaporate off for a while. If they dry out just add of drop of alcohol and you are ready to go again. You can use kitchen foil to wrap your pallet in then discard after painting and voila your palette is clean!
  5. Kitchen paper: useful for putting on your work surface to catch inks.
  6. Paint brushes: I use inexpensive fine brushes to paint with the alcohol ink. They can also be used for painting masking fluid on but remember to dip them in some dish soap first to avoid them being ruined.
  7. Small jar/dropper: I use these to clean brushes and also if I want to drop the alcohol onto my painting I can be a bit more accurate than with the spray.
  8. Gift cards: you can create straight lines and other effects by dragging the card across the inks. (Visit ‘Alcohol ink effects’ for more tips and techniques)
  9. Felt/stamper: I use this for creating additional effects on my paintings by stamping with just alcohol or adding the inks to the felt and creating different colors and textures. I also bought a regular square of felt and cut it into squares as a cheaper alternative for the replacement pads.
  10. Spray mister: available from craft stores you can add alcohol inks or just rubbing alcohol to spray or mist your paintings.
  11. Alcohol based pens e.g Copic, Sharpie: I use these mostly to add details and then the Copic blender pen is amazing for lifting inks or blending them.
  12. Oil based pens/gel pens e.g Sharpies for when I want to add details that I don’t want to reactivate the inks. You can use regular marker pens like the Alcohol based Sharpies but they can ¬†reactivate the inks so be aware of that if you are using them.
  13. Micron pens: I sometimes outline or draw over my paintings and these are my favourite go to pen for doing this.
  14. Gloves: to keep hands clean but I never use them. If you don’t your hands and nails will stain and the ink really does not come off easily
  15. Cotton buds: to clean up areas where you don’t want ink, or to lift ink to a paler color.
  16. Masking fluid: if you want parts of your painting to stay white then masking fluid is the best way to go. My favourite is the Fineline masking fluid which comes out superfine. I would always recommend the inks drying really well before you remove the masking fluid.

Click here to return to the Tip and Techniques page

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Jewellery making with Lynne Hubner

imageHannah and I went to our favourite place for being creative in Downtown Mckinney, the Mckinney Art House to make jewellery. We crocheted gold and silver wires and added beads to make some wonderful necklaces. Lynne Hubner our teacher has the most amazing studio at the top of the Art house which is well worth checking out.

Lynne teaches drawing, print making, jewellery and lots of other classes at the Mckinney Art House. Not only is she a very talented artist but a super nice person too.

Check out her website here.

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Drawing is the new meditation

imageI have only three products on my Etsy store at the moment. Two paintings and the thing that is most popular, self colouring cards. They allow the customer to colour and customise each card the way they want it and sell really well. With all the media hype about self colouring it makes me wonder if I should put them together into a book but there’s much more to the idea than jumping on the $$ bandwagon.

Certainly people love them considering the number of books currently in the stores and online and I always find it hugely relaxing to create the templates for each card let alone spending a little time colouring them in. I’m thinking of making individual sheets with inspirational sayings that can be coloured and framed as pieces of art but the idea of a book truly appeals to me. It is certainly a way to sit back and relax in an almost meditative way and generally I feel that it is far better to de-stress by doing something creative than staring at a TV screen. I’m reading more and more articles about the therapeutic benefits of adult colouring so 2015 may be the year I put those ideas into action. Now all I need is to find the time. Maybe that’s a New Year’s resolution I can stick to. Watch this space!!

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Skin, fur and feathers

imageI’ve been looking for a way to relax and get the girls involved in something creative over the summer break and as usuall we have headed to The Mckinney Art house to learn something new and have some fun. We’ve been learning some new techniques in acrylics from KD Hafley who teaches at the Art House. The girls return to school and tennis schedules from the end of August so can’t continue but I’m going to be taking classes each week with KD in the hope she can teach me all she kniws about painting skin, fur and feathers!

KD has regular classes at the Art House.

To see her schedule click here and visit her website here to check out her truly awesome art work.

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Alcohol Ink Coasters Step by Step

When I started making decorative tile art I used to just seal them with a gloss spray but when I wanted them to be a little more functional I looked into resins. It’s definitely one of those projects where “you can buy these in the store for $35 or make them yourself with $100 of art supplies”. Now I have the supplies like the sander and the heat gun the cost is not quite so bad but if you want to make just a few then I recommend going shopping in Macys lol. Seriously though you can create some wonderfully unique art and gifts. And it’s fun‚̧ԳŹ

After mostly trial and error these are the steps I follow for creating alcohol ink coasters. ¬†Ensure you wear gloves and work in a well ventilated dust free area. ¬†I use ArtResin as the epoxy resin when I seal my tiles and it is pretty much odorless but you still don’t want to be breathing it in. There are plenty of other resins out there but I like ArtResin because it’s guaranteed not to yellow and I have found mixing it and using it extremely easy.

image1. Wipe the tiles clean. I use alcohol or glass cleaning wipes to ensure I get rid of any grease or fingerprints.

2. Time to be creative. Create your patterns on your tiles with alcohol inks. I’ve found that if I use 4oz of the resin with 4oz of the hardener I can easily cover 16 tiles so I make 16 at a time and that’s just about the right number that you can easily work with without going crazy. You get about 45 minutes to work with the resin. I usually allow the inks to dry for at least 24 hours. If I use red inks I leave for up to 72 hours as I’ve had problems with red inks still being tacky days after I thought they were dry.ūüėʬ†image

3. Seal your artwork. ¬†Once the inks are dry I seal my tiles with engine enamel or Krylon’s Crystal Clear to ensure that when I pour the resin over it doesn’t react with the inks. I leave the sealant to dry for 24 hours.

4. Tape off the underside. I’ve made tiles and then had to spend too much time sanding off the resin that drips and hardens on the underside of the tile. Tip: Use decorators tape to cover the underside edges of the tiles then when the resin has hardened you can just take that off and saves all that sanding!

image5. Make up enough resin. Once the sealant is dry I mix the resin. As I said I usually work with 16 tiles at a time but if I have a commission for a set of four then 1 oz of each of the resin and hardener is more than enough. ArtResin recommend you stir the mixture for three minutes. I usually stir very slowly to minimize introducing bubbles into the resin. I also allow it to stand a couple of minutes to allow bubbles to rise to the top.

6. Apply the resin. Once I’m ready to apply the resin I place the tiles onto something like a votive, small tin or even small flowerpots to keep the tiles off the surface they are standing on. I usually put them in a box which I can then close when I’ve finished working the resin to ensure a dust free environment while the resin cures. I pour the resin into the middle of the tile then spread to the edgess using a sponge making sure there are no parts that are not resined.¬†image

7. Burst those bubbles. I use a small heat gun to skim just above the surface of the resin which helps burst any tiny bubbles.

8. Cure cure cure.  I cover the box and leave the resin to cure for at least 24 hrs before I pull off the masking tape and then leave the tiles to cure for a further 48 hours.

image9. Add the cork. Once cured I spray the underside with spray adhesive and apply cork that I’ve cut into whichever shape tile I’m using. The cork sticks pretty well if you do it this way. If you don’t want to use Contact you can buy cork tiles to cut up or even 4 squares of cork cut perfectly to fit 4.25 inch tiles from places like Joann’s.

Update 2016. As of 2016 I use a new resin developed by artists for artists and have updated the post to show this. ¬†ArtResin is available in a starter kit which is quite expensive compared to buying in larger quantities but if you like it as much as I do and you are going to do lots of resin art then it’s worth the cost.

Here’s the link to the ArtResin website where they have lots of other projects you can try.


More coaster projects

Stencil and Scrap Book Coasters 2012

Photo Coasters with cork backing 2011