Alcohol ink backgrounds

 in the garden Heather Telford

Yesterday I shared some alcohol ink abstract panels; today I have more abstract panels but these ones have become backgrounds for dies or stamps. The one above looked so forest-like I had to pair it with trees. It is a fairly dark mix of colour so I think it must be dusk or dawn. The ‘in the garden’ die was perfect for turning the blue-green panel into a scene and the new ‘serenity’ tree die just added to the woodland feel.

in the garden close up Heather Telford


Dies:  Serenity, In the Garden (PB)
Ink: Alcohol inks (Ranger) 
Paper: glossy photo paper, Neenah Epic Black 100lb cardstock, blue cardstock

green and gold day Heather Telford

The colours in this panel again determined what I would add. Orange, yellow and green patterns seem an appropriate background for a daisy. I used archival ink which gave a crisp fast drying print. There was another card made from this background but I made the mistake of laying a stamp on top of the panel for positioning before inking the stamp. The natural stickiness of the stamp on the glossy paper lifted the surface off the paper removing the alcohol ink (not in a cool resist type way!). It didn’t happen on the daisy card because I just inked, stamped and hoped for the best.


Stamps:  Love Art, Special Thoughts (PB)
Ink: Alcohol inks,  Jet black archival ink (Ranger)
Paper: glossy photo paper, Neenah Epic Black 100lb cardstock, Neenah solar white cardstock


Abstract alcohol inks

cross section Heather Telford

During my recent adventures with alcohol inks I enjoyed creating abstract panels. Some of them I turned into backgrounds or scenes by adding stamps and die cuts but others I left alone because I liked the pattern and colours just as they were. The one above reminds me of a geological cross section. There is an example of some type of cross section down the road from us and a few times a year I see a class of students on a field trip climbing around taking photos. The blues in the design above are particularly pretty in real life and there are threads of copper here and there also.

iceberg Heather Telford

This abstract reminds me of a waterfall but several people saw icebergs and crevices in it. Both these designs were done on yupo paper. I started as I often do by just dropping three colours of ink on the yupo; the sharp edges and lines were achieved by dragging the inks across the paper with a coffee stirrer. I don’t remember the ink colours I used other than the copper in the top one.

Layouts and sketches

blue celebrate Heather Telford

Recently I noticed how often my card designs involve a simple square or rectangle. Sometimes the panel is matted in black or a co-ordinating colour; other times it is popped up on the card base which creates a type of shadow mat. A matted panel with little embellishment is my most used layout. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the matted panel approach; I often try to create a mini painting so framing it seems like an appropriate way to turn it into a card. However, there are many clever card makers who never default to the square or rectangular layout; each new card features angles, diagonal lines, curves, cutouts and all manner of creative designs.  I’ve decided I need to mix things up a little in the sketch and layout area. Take the card above for example, the alcohol ink design reminded me of the ocean from beneath the surface with light above and bubbles all around. I really didn’t want to loose much of the blue pattern so I cut the sentiment out of the blue panel and popped it up. I like how it turned out but it was very much my usual style.

blue pattern Heather Telford

When I put this next card together I was working with a similar panel; the alcohol inks had done cool things creating a pattern I wanted to save if possible but not in yet another rectangular layout. By cutting a curve across the patterned yupo panel I was able to add some interest and bend a transparent sentiment stamp to hug the curve.

warm tones well done Heather Telford

Once again I wanted to retain most of this warm toned alcohol ink design so I chose a cool new border die with curves that created a contrast with the angles of the stenciled pattern.

circle hooray Heather Telford

I have a board on pinterest where I am saving inspiration for new layouts.   The card above was inspired by Paula Dobson’s bright happy card, pinned recently. Sketch challenges are another source of inspiration I hope to make use of more often. You may have noticed all the cards in this post were made from patterned panels, which of course, are easier to adapt to interesting layouts than pictures of real things! I may get adventurous and creative with my scenic or floral panels too, who knows?


Dies:  Celebrations, Border Edges (PB)
Stamps: Happy Snippets, Sweet Wishes
Ink: Alcohol inks (Ranger) Versafine inks (Tsukineko)
Paper: Yupo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, Neenah Natural white cardstock

You’re Sweet

you're sweet Heather Telford

Earlier today I was admiring yet another fabulous card by Ardyth Percy-Robb, who is not only clever and creative, but also a faithful challenge participant. The card that caught my eye was for the May Pinterest Inspired Challenge featuring the image below:


Even though I love watercolour and the image above is full of lovely soft blends and bleeds I chose to use my recent arty crush, alcohol inks. I dropped sunshine yellow, pool, raspberry and juniper one colour at a time so I could squirt air at each drop before it dried. You can see how some inks create a new colour when they intersect but others cover or push the other colour. I matted in black and attached my panel to the card base askew before adding a die cut sentiment.


Die:  You’re Sweet (PB)
Alcohol Ink: sunshine yellow, pool, raspberry, juniper (Ranger)
Paper: Kirkland photo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, Neenah epic black cardstock

Land and sea

wide ocean Heather Telford

One of the techniques we been trying in my current alcohol inks class is the ‘landscape’ technique. I don’t think I could give you clear instruction on how I did these two scenes because it is still a lot of trial and error for me. The scene above involved some swiping the inks once they were on the yupo paper to get the horizontal sweeps of colour.

Mountain view Heather Telford

This one above features more lines of ink. When you lay down some ink then add some more beside it the second lot of ink pushes away first often creating a dark thick edge. These can end up looking like hills. Adding blending fluid into the ink you already have on your yupo washes it out somewhat creating paler areas. I am addicted to creating with alcohol inks right now so I will analyse my techniques a little more so my instructions might be clearer (and yes, I will try and make a video).

Believe it or not there is a video coming next week. I also noted the requests for videos on the roses and terraced lane cards. I’ll keep those in mind because I do appreciate my readers and their endless patience in waiting for video tutorials!


Stamps: Twirls (PB)
Alcohol Ink: stream, pool, stonewashed, currant, alcohol blending solution (Ranger) Jet Black archival ink
Paper: yupo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, Neenah Epic black 100lb cardstock

Out to Sea

Out to sea Heather Telford

Is this not a stunning new die? I thought it was perfect to lay over my bright blue alcohol ink panel. Blue panels are the most challenging for me to photograph accurately. In real life there is more purple and the light blues are lighter. The speckled bits that conveniently look a bit like ocean spray or foam are silver accents.  I created the panel by dropping some blue alcohol inks on yupo paper and blending. I added some silver alcohol ink and moved it around with extra blue ink and blending solution; the metallic inks don’t move much until another ink is added to them.

boat closeup Heather Telford

This die is also going to be beautiful over a watercoloured panel. If I am feeling patient and steady I might do the inlaid die technique but it really doesn’t need it; the overlay approach works just fine.


Die:  Out to Sea(PB)
Alcohol Ink: denim, indigo, silver, alcohol blending solution (Ranger)
Paper: yupo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock

Irises and blue

blue panelled iris Heather Telford

I am enjoying teaching a batch of Alcohol Ink classes at present and we have been having so much fun. The depth and impact of alcohol ink colour is quite something. I chose to use these two similar colour panels as background for iris stamps from the Love Art transparent set.

 iris panel closeup Heather Telford

I blended a few blue alcohol inks on photo paper for these two panels. The circle pattern on the one below was achieved using a stencil. I dabbed through the stencil with blending solution to remove colour but also printed the stencil back onto the paper once it was covered in pale blue ink.

Stencilled iris Heather Telford


The sentiments and flowers are stamped in jet black archival ink.

stencilled iris close up

I am just going to squeak this stencilled card into the second challenge at CAS Mix Up; there are twelve whole hours left to participate. The challenge this month is below; I used alcohol inks as my choice.



Stamps:  Love ArtSpecial Thoughts, Snippets(PB)
Inks:   Jet Black Archival (Ranger)
Alcohol Ink: pool, denim, indigo, alcohol blending solution (Ranger)
Paper: Kirkland photo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, Blue cardstock