If you are on a budget or if you simply enjoy creating decorative pieces for your home, you will love working with Alcohol Inks on glass.
While visiting my sister, I noticed a beautiful multicolored bottle sitting on her patio table. When I asked her where she had gotten it, she told me she had made it herself.
It was absolutely beautiful!
She explained to me how she had made it using Alcohol Inks. This was something I had never heard of but I couldn't wait to get started on a piece of my own. Later that day, I purchased a can of spray air, and two sets of Alcohol Inks from a local craft store. (You can find these at Michael's, JoAnne's, Hobby Lobby, etc.)
There are several different ways to use the Alcohol Inks on glass, by dropping it on and spreading it with air, or by stamping it on with a felt stamp pad. Listed first are the steps when using air to ink the glass you are working on.
I purchased the Brights set and the Earthones set made by Adirondak. Each set comes with three different colors. I had an old vase at home in the garage and I decided that would be the perfect piece to try this on. It was simply a clear glass vase, nothing impressive. You can see my results of this first project below.
What You Will Need:
At least one set of Alcohol Inks.
One can of spray air (the kind you use to clean a computer keyboard)
Rubbing alcohol (80%)
Paper towels or clean rags.
A spray can of either Matte or Gloss clear coat. (each will give a different effect on the finished piece. I just purchased Clear Krylon)
Disposable gloves (I preferred to work without gloves and cleaned my hands with rubbing alcohol but the ink does stain)
A clear glass vase
A drinking straw (if you should run out of air in the can, you can actually use the straw and blow through it to spread the ink)
1.) Wash your plain glass vase with hot soap and water and make sure there is no residue from price stickers or anything. Your vase must be completely dry before starting.
2.) If you are not using gloves, make sure your hands are very clean as well. The natural oils in your skin can leave smudges on the glass and will cause the ink to not stick to the glass as it should.
3.) Set up your workspace in an area where you will have plenty of light and spread out some newspapers.
4.) Place your ink bottles where you can reach them easily and remove the caps. You will want to be able to grab the different colors quickly as you go along and these inks dry incredibly fast.
5.) Wear old clothing or a smock as there will be some splatter and these inks do not come out of fabric or off of leather.
Alcohol Inks are made for slick surfaces. They can be used on glass, metal, ceramic tile, etc. They can be cleaned up from most slick surfaces with rubbing alcohol. I use the 80% rubbing alcohol. This breaks down the ink and can be used to clean your hands along with soap and water afterwards.
If you begin a project and decide you absolutely don't like how it is turning out, you can remove the ink from the glass and start over. I put a cup with some rubbing alcohol in it beside the sink with an old toothbrush, put the vase under the running water which will remove some of the ink if it is fresh, and then dip the toothbrush in the alcohol and scrub the vase to remove what is left.
Now For The Fun Part!
Shake your can of air well.
Take the vase in one hand and your first color of ink, and place a drop on the outside of the glass. Immediately spray the drop with the can of air. The ink will begin to spread out on the glass. Turn the vase and repeat with another drop and spread with the air. I placed my drops in all different areas with no pattern and none of them overlapping as this will come later.
Now grab your second color and begin to fill in the blank spots. Some of the ink will begin to overlap the first color and this is ok. Repeat the same with the third color. Once you have the vase almost completely covered in the three colors of Alcohol Ink, start with the first color again, and begin a new layer.
On this second layer, you will want to go a little lighter on the air as it can tend to pick up and move the original ink layer if you spray too hard. Hold the vase up to the light and make sure there are no spots of clear glass that you missed. Once everything is covered and you are satisfied with the look of your vase, you can very lightly coat it with the clear coat. Let your vase dry and you can give it a second more thorough coat of clear. Once this is dry, you now have a beautiful art glass vase that is one of a kind!
Maintenance and Cleaning
To clean the vase, simply wipe it down gently with a damp cloth. I would not recommend scrubbing on the vase or placing in a dishwasher. Pieces created with Alcohol Inks should be for decorative purposes only and are not food safe.
See more of my finished projects below.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that there are two ways to put the Alcohol Ink on your glass. The second method is by using a felt stamper. You can purchase these at craft stores, many people use them for scrap booking. You will want a plain felt pad on the stamper. Simply place a drop of 2 or 3 of the colors on the felt pad and then stamp it all over the glass. You can play around with different colors and patterns. This method is much less messy but I have to say that I prefer the look of the sprayed air over the stamped ink.