Alcohol ink experiments

I’ve taken a bit of time in the last week to experiment with some neglected mediums in my workroom. It has been both enjoyable and challenging as I try to remember process and techniques I haven’t tried in a while. These three alcohol ink panels used different combinations of turquoise, eggplant, currant and gilded alloy inks. The panels are larger than my usual card size, more than double at 6″x 9″ and I’m wondering how to use them.

I could cut them up and put them on card bases but I thought I would ask you what you for ideas. They would probably make nice journal or notebook covers.

I used a different type of paper for these. It is made by Nara, I ordered from Amazon just to see what it was like. It was very similar to yupo or grafix white craft plastic which I have used in the past. To create the patterns I used copious amounts of isopropyl alcohol and a hand ink blower to move the ink forwards and backwards creating dried edges and soft diluted ‘clouds’.

If I don’t come up with any ideas right now I may end up cutting circles from the panels to make Christmas cards; the patterns make very pretty Christmas balls. Let me know what you think and if you would like to see a video of any of the above processes.

Before I go thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to the pencil coloured animals. It seems we have animal lovers as well as plant lovers around here which is wonderful. What about lovers of abstract colourful patterns?!

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Alcohol ink gel print

I tried a technique this week that I’ve seen demonstrated by gel printing wizards but never tried myself. In some ways it’s not that different from making abstract alcohol ink patterns on yupo or craft plastic but I found that I ended up with more of a distressed look which is rather nice.

I started with a not entirely clean gel plate and three or four alcohol inks, I’m not sure exactly which ones I used as I was very much in experimenting mode. Obviously there was a green and some blues in there and in real life you can see I also had a silver. I dropped dots of the different colours on the gel plate added rubbing alcohol and blew it all around with the air blower. It dried quite quickly so it took several additions of inks and rubbing alcohol before I was happy with the coverage. Once the AI had dried completely I brayered white acrylic paint over the painted area and took a print on some white cardstock. You can see the usual overlapping patterns of alcohol ink blobs but also some white patches and ‘grazes’ from the acrylic paint.

I trimmed the panel and added a three layer PB die cut sentiment along with an additional sentiment strip. I will definitely be trying this technique again.

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Alcohol Ink Flowers – Video

Last week I posted a video showing my method for abstract alcohol ink backgrounds. This week’s video is less abstract. In it I show you how I created the purple flower in the card above. I’ve been experimenting with creating flowers and sometimes have more success than other times. I’ve included four cards in this post but there are several panels that I will probably wipe clean.Did you know you can wipe your yupo or craft plastic clean with rubbing alcohol? I don’t always get the panels back to pristine white but so close it doesn’t matter.

To create this rose I used only two alcohol inks, eggplant and gilded alloy along with plenty of isopropyl alcohol. You can see my process in the video below.

The next flower is on black craft plastic, messier and more experimental but a similar process of moving the inks towards the centre leaving rims of gilded and indigo ink as I went.

On the panel below I used Ranger flamingo and gilded alloy inks. The pattern is a bit lopsided but it’s definitely floralish. I added a gold mat and gold die cut from the PB set ‘celebrations’.

Have you tried alcohol ink flowers? Do you think you might?

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Moving Alcohol Inks with Air – Video

I’ve had the alcohol inks out recently and spent some time trying to get soft wavy patterns on craft plastic. I have seen several artists who do this technique beautifully but I am very much still a beginner with it. I have a few cards to share today along with a video showing my process for two of the panels. I worked on white craft plastic from Grafix which is heavyweight and totally opaque. For most of the panels featured today I used only two alcohol inks plus plenty of 99% rubbing alcohol; each panel was created with a metallic and a non-metallic ink.

This first panel was made with turquoise AI and gilded alloy AI; I love the range of blues when diluted with rubbing alcohol. The ‘for you’ Penny Black die cut is two layers of turquoise cardstock topped with one layer of pale gold.

This warm toned card was made with honeycomb AI and mined alloy AI then die cut with a WaffleFlower square nesting die. I used the WaffleFlower additional square dies to cut a larger copper square then added the PB ‘light as a feather’ die cut and a PB birthday sentiment embossed in Brutus Monroe penny embossing powder.

You can see the process for both cards above in the video below.

As I am working on alcohol ink panels I am evaluating my process and working out what I want to try next. I just bought a cheap lazy susan to work on the blown flowers and I’m pretty sure I don’t need to use as much coloured ink when I make the initial drops. You can be sure I will let you know what I discover.

I have a couple more cards made off camera using the same technique shown in the video. The card above features juniper AI and statue alloy AI with the PB ‘many thanks’ die cut from antique gold cardstock and stacked twice.

When this panel was finished it reminded me of photos of the artic and far north where the icebergs and glaciers are made up of beautiful shades of blue. It’s kind of a cross section perspective where we can see below and above the ice the bears are walking on. I did use two blue inks plus a silver for this one, ranger turquoise and stream with pinata silver. The bear die is ‘polar bears’ from Penny Black.

We’ve been watching Cecilia Blomdahl’s youtube channel about her life on Svalbard, an island off the north coast of Norway. She lives in the world’s northern most town. Polar bears are definitely around so you don’t wander outside the village without your weapon!

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Marbled hearts

These hearts were cut from another alcohol inked panel, this one done with only pitch black ink from Ranger. The ink was diluted with rubbing alcohol and moved around on the panel with air and tilting. I also added some bubbles or circles by splattering some rubbing alcohol over the pattern.

I didn’t add foil straight away after completing the panel instead I came back to it days later and ran the panel through the minc with some red foil over the top. The red foil stuck to some nice fine lines as you can see as well as some chunkier sections. What you can’t see is an area where a large blob of foil attached itself. I avoided that area when cutting six hearts using a small heart die from the Penny Black set ‘all my hearts’. I cut six hearts from red foam to pop the hearts up on the card base.

I tried several times to take a photo which would show the dry embossed background behind the popped up hearts but I didn’t succeed. It seems you’re not going to see the shine of the foil and the dimension of the background in one photo. If you click on the photo above you might be able to see the texture a bit better. I used the embossing folder that came with the Gemini Junior, it’s called ‘Regency Swirls’ and it is one of those very detailed 3D folders. I am wanting to add to my embossing folder collection, I’d love to hear your suggestions for some subtle ones and some really fancy ones.

I completed the card with a sentiment from Penny Black’s ‘trust me’ set stamped in red ink and popped up on a narrow banner. Thanks for dropping in today; I will be back tomorrow with an alcohol ink tutorial video.

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Alcohol ink + foil

When I get the alcohol inks out I always have a stack of panels at the end of the session. Some sit around and never amount to much but others wait for inspiration to hit. This one was created on white craft plastic (Grafix dura-bright white) with ginger and burgandy Ranger alcohol inks and Pinata magenta. I added gold foil using the minc well after the inks had dried.

Sometimes it is possible to make the foil stick soon after finishing the inking. There is a sweet spot as far as letting the ink dry enough that it is not gooey but not so much that it is dry to touch. The sections that will hold the foil are the ‘seams’ between colours where the ink is thicker. If you press foil on these areas when they are a bit tacky you can get it to stick with just a bit of burnishing. If the panel has dried it sometimes possible to get foil to stick by running the panel through a minc or laminator using some heat. This can be risky as sometimes the foil sticks to more of the panel than you expected.

When I ran this panel through the minc I was happy with most of the foiling but there were a few sections that didn’t look great so I just used the part that looked good and covered the rest with this pretty poppy edger from Penny Black. I finished the card with a gold embossed sentiment from the PB ‘only you’ set.

This second panel amazes me because it was created with only black alcohol ink plus rubbing alcohol. The blue and burgandy tones appeared when the black ink was diluted. Cool huh? I pressed the blue foil onto this panel at just the right time to get it to stick when the seams were tacky. It is hard to get it to show in the photo but there are small sections of blue foil here and there across the sky.

The inking on both panels was pretty experimental, a drop here and there some rubbing alcohol and tilting and blowing the ink to make a random pattern. I cut the Penny Black metropolitan die from both black and blue cardstock then stacked blue on black without removing all the window cut outs. I ended up using spray adhesive on the back of the blue die cut because gluing is not my gifting.

The sentiment is from the Concord & 9 ‘all the birthdays set stamped in black and embossed in clear then stacked up on two layers of black cardstock. More alcohol inks next week; I’m having fun.

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Snowflake Skies – Video

I teamed up with Grafix to create a couple of snowy projects on their Duralar plastic films. The card you see on the left and below was inked on white craft plastic, also know as DuraBright white. It is totally opaque and has a bit of weight to it. For the votive wrap I used Dura-Lar matte film which is lighter weight and has a frosted transparent appearance which was what I wanted so the light from a votive would shine through.

I used stream and denim alcohol inks and felt to apply the inks to the plastic films. To create the snowflake patterns I die-cut a Penny Black snowflake from felt and stuck it to the wooden back from a old stamp. You can see the whole process in the video below.

I cut the Penny Black neighborhood border from Dura-Bright white for both the votive and the card.

You can see in the video and the photo above how the colours in the votive surround look different with a light inside; I guess it would depend too whether your battery votive candle was a white one or more of a yellow glow.

I’m really enjoying working with the Dura-bright white for alcohol ink projects and will be trying more techniques on the Dura-Lar matte in the future. If you are looking for the bright white remember it also goes by the name white craft plastic. Crop A While might have some and Deserres does carry it.

I’ve been working on a few different alcohol ink techniques so there will be more cards to share and another video next week.

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I’ve been playing with the alcohol inks again!

Last weekend I spent Saturday creating with alcohol inks while learning from Kathryn Kanadian who was in Ottawa teaching a couple of classes. Kathryn is a wonderful teacher and I now have a few new tricks to try and techniques to practice. This lavender panel was created with dots of ink on an applicator; I used passion purple, rich gold (Pinata) and  juniper (Ranger) along with some blending solution or isopropyl alcohol. I dabbed the applicator all over the craft plastic for quite a while and added blending solution and more ink when needed. The gold ink didn’t move much but the other two colours created a lot of pattern. These delicate flowers which look a little like lavender are cut with PB ‘tall flowers’ dies. The sentiment from the PB ‘special sentiments’ set I stamped with dusty concord archival ink. I had a section of the patterned panel left over so I was able to die cut some more flowers to pop inside the card. You can be sure I put stick-it adhesive on those panels before I cut such skinny flowers out.

The panel of browns and gold below came together as Kathryn was encouraging us to experiment with blending solution to move the ink. I used more than I usually would and was delighted with all the variation of colour I achieved, the dotted patterns and the splotches of gold here and there. I used ginger, espresso (Ranger) and rich gold (Pinata). Kathryn had samples of her wonderful work including a coffee themed card that inspired this one.

I used the Concord & 9 ‘simple serif’ alphabet dies to cut the letters from antique gold cardstock and framed the panel in antique gold also.

The daisy panel was a bit of a breakthrough for me as I had only made landscapes with alcohol inks by accident or trial and error in the past. With the introduction of a stylus and alcohol ink brushes I was able to paint some daisies and splatter a rain shower over the top of them.

I began by creating a green background with the help of some isopropyl alcohol and green ink (not sure if it was meadow or pesto??)  I used a stylus to dot the centres of the flowers in copper and pitch alcohol inks (Ranger) then I used a brush to paint petals around the centres and stems and grass at the base. The splatters of isopropyl alcohol pulled the composition together.

Although it looks black the cardstock framing the panel is actually dark green. I embossed a little sentiment from the PB ‘family sentiments’ set in white powder.

I created a few more panels during the class which hopefully I will turn into cards soon. Thanks Kathryn for a wonderful class.

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Alcohol ink trio

I created these alcohol ink panels months ago! They were the result of a primary colours experiment with pool (blue), raspberry (red) and honeycomb (yellow) alcohol inks and both heavy and light weight yupo paper. I restricted myself to the three colours to see what I could come up with and how they reacted with each other.

I was able to get very soft blends by adding rubbing alcohol and tilting the yupo around. This panel was done on light weight yupo which is translucent. When I held it up to the light the colours softened and looked like stained glass. I decided I had to cut the cardstock out behind the dragonfly ‘window’ so a light could be placed under the card to show off its soft blended colour. Not a real tealight mind you, remember this is paper crafting! I took a photo to give you an idea of the pretty stained glass effect you see with a soft light underneath.

The same colours appeared but with more lines by working the inks for longer. By that I mean that I kept adding and tilting and blending so there are more secondary and tertiary colours in the mix.

When it came to making the panels into cards I decided die cuts over the  top was all I wanted to add. I used three Penny Black dies, dragonfly frame, serenity and heartfelt thanks. For all the cards I put double sided adhesive on the back of the green cardstock before die cutting the images and words.

In the final sample I was able to keep some of each ink colour distinct as well as each secondary colour (blue+yellow=green) (yellow+red=orange) (red+blue=purple). There is also a bit of brown which is is a tertiary colour made when a primary and a secondary mix.

I created this panel by dropping the inks onto the yupo panel and letting them move and fill the space. When there was a good mix of colour patterning the whole area I switched to placing tiny drops of ink or rubbing alcohol onto the panel to create the bubble patterns. Each tiny drop expanded into a little circle or blob shape. The pattern looked very busy all on its own so I just added a small die cut word.

Supplies

Dies: serenity, dragonfly frame, heartfelt thanks (Penny Black)
Inks: pool, raspberry, honeycomb Ranger alcohol inks

Paper: yupo both light and heavy weight, neenah cream cardstock, green textured cardstock

Also: double sided adhesive, rubbing alcohol


Alcohol lift ink and a collage stamp

I have done some experimenting with alcohol lift ink in the past month and learnt a few things along the way. There are a couple of variables that can affect the process and results. The main thing I learnt is that it does not hurt to let things dry longer than you think might be necessary. Let me give you some examples. So far I have done all my experimentation on yupo paper with one or two colours of ink and some rubbing alcohol to help move the ink around and create colour variation. When you create an abstract background on yupo paper let it dry for at least 10 minutes but preferably longer; if it is humid weather it will need to be longer. Sometimes I have so much fun creating pretty background panels with alcohol ink I end up with a lot of ink on the yupo; the process will work best if I give all that ink plenty of time to dry.

Once the coloured panel is dry it is time to use the alcohol lift ink. The ink takes out some colour but not all the colour. You can see in the two panels below it went from dark to light. Even with a light panel the lift ink will still remove some colour but the contrast will be less and the effect more subtle. This Darkroom Door collage stamp was perfect for the technique and shows you that solid stamping and fine detail stamping both work with the alcohol lift technique. I positioned the stamp  in my stamp positioner, inked it with alcohol lift ink and pressed it down onto the coloured panel. After a few seconds I lifted the stamp, removed the panel and set it aside for more waiting. While I was waiting I pressed an envelope down onto the stamp which was now covered with the ‘lifted ink’. I pressed the edge of the envelope onto one side of the stamp because I did not want the whole stamp image. You could put a piece of cardstock into the stamp positioner and stamp the whole lifted image.

After at least ten minutes of drying time I returned to my alcohol ink panel and started dabbing the lift ink off with a paper towel. Each dab picks up some colour so I kept rearranging my paper towel so I would not be dabbing colour back onto my panel. When there was no more evidence of ‘shiny’ lift ink on the panel I gently buffed the panel with a clean area of paper towel. If all the ink is dry at this point the stamped image will get clearer as you polish. If there is any wet alcohol ink or lift ink the image will blur or spread. This is why it is worth giving the panel plenty of drying time and dabbing time.

The card on the left was made with just ranger pitch black alcohol ink and rubbing alcohol; I ended up with black, pale blue and burgandy areas on the panel. The card on the right was made with ranger indigo alcohol ink and I think some cloudy blue as well but I didn’t write them down so I’m not sure. The stamp has its own frame so I just trimmed my panel close to that and attached it to a white card base.

It is worth watching a couple of alcohol lift ink videos before you try the technique. After completing a few panels I found myself wondering which stamps I would try next.

Supplies

Stamps: butterfly garden, happy birthday sentiment stamp (DD)
 
Inks: pitch black , indigo ranger alcohol inks, ranger alcohol lift ink, distress chipped sapphire, versafine clair nocturne
 
Paper: yupo heavy white, neenah solar white

Tools: stamp positioner