Alcohol Ink Tools

Be Safe - Wear PPE Gear

If this is the only thing you take away ever from me is that you need to be safe with alcohol inks, sealing these inks, and if you use resin. Please remember to wear a mask, be in an extremely well ventelated area with opened windows, or outside. The alcohol inks evaporate leaving the alcohol vapors in the air that you are breathing in, so to ensure that you are protecting yourself from harm you have to buy the necessary gear or like I mentioned go outside/near windows. They will protect you from breathing in these microscopic, airborne, toxic particles.

Now that I've scared you and educated you a bit here is the gear that I use:

1. 3M Half mask

2. Mask cartridges

3 Gloves

For the gloves it's personal preference. A lot of alcohol ink artists do not use them, however I cannot stay clean for the life of me and don't like washing my hands a million times trying to get the inks off. Also helps with the OCD to just throw them out after and know I didn't get ink on anything I touched.

Paper, Tiles, Clocks Oh My!

You can use alcohol inks on any non porous surface. Well what does non porous actually mean though? Definition: not permeable to water, air, or other fluids meaning that when you put the ink on top of the surface it doesn't sink down.

I tried Yupo when I first started out because it was the cheaper option, but the price gap has shrunk between Yupo and Nara. The things I absolutely LOVE about Nara is you can order them from Amazon, or Nara's website directly. Because I paint so much I order the rolls of paper directly from Nara and it's a great option. But the best thing about Nara? It doesn't stain. You can wipe away work and try again. I've never tested how many times you can wipe away the inks, but that's definitely something I'd like to test out in the future.

But like a lot of supplies, it's all down to personal preference. Besides Yupo and Nara there are a plethera of options. If you Google non porous paper there are a million and one things to paint on, but for right now I'll keep it to a minimum:

1. Nara paper

2. Yupo paper

3. Kirkland photo paper

4. Mugs

6. Coasters

7. Planters

Ensure that the mugs, coasters and planters all are glazed, and that they specify that on the brand. There a few sneaky ones that don't and then you end up with unglazed products that you cannot use because the inks sink into the surface.

Alcohol Inks

Just remember start at your own pace. If you want to try a few of the Rangers go ahead, if you want to get the Pinata pack, do it. It's all up to how you want to do things. For organizational purposes, whenever you do have a lot of inks (see picture to the right) I use these cute little nail polish organizers.

1. Ranger Light Inks

2, Ranger Farmers Market Inks Colors Include Cranberry/Lettuce/Eggplant

3. Pinata Pack Includes 9 colors and is the one I first started with before I purchased any of the Ranger Inks

Sealing Your Art

There are two sprays that you will need: Krylon Kamar and Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Gloss.

For the first spray this is an absolute must because the Kamar keeps the alcohol inks from moving around. No other sprays seem to keep the inks from moving when you then put the UV or resins over the ink.

As for the UV-Resistant, unfortunately inks do fade with time and this spray is a wonderful deterrent.

Each of these sprays you will need 3 coats each, and follow the instructions on the actual spray cans themselves for wait times in between coats.

It's Time to Move It Move It

This is the super fun part! What to use to get these alcohol inks to move around. There are many things you can use but here is a top tip - go cheap first before you invest.

I suggest start with straws, a cleaning brush, or what I started with was a hair dryer I had lying around.

1. Straws

2. Air blower

3. Hair dryer

4. Canned air

5. Airbrush (I've never used one but the group I'm in recommends this one)

5. Heat gun

Alcohol & Droppers

The best isopropyl alcohol is 99%. Anything lower takes longer to dry, so if you move at a slower pace you can look into 95% or I've also seen 91%.

Now on to dropper. You can use so many techniques for this. Pour directly onto the piece, use a precision tip applicator bottle, a pipette, a straw (hold the top and let go) etc. Personally I use the precision tip as well as the pipettes for my paintings.

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