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Making your own alcohol inks

I've been playing around with alcohol inks lately.  I love the bright, over-the-top saturated colors, but I don't love the price.  Looking around online, I found several suggestions for making your own, but some of them neglected to take into account the differences in pigment vs dye in the markers, and the difference in the effectiveness of 91% rubbing alcohol vs regular 70%.

Sun Drenched Icicles
Cyndi Lavin, 2018

I have gotten much much better results with dye-based markers.  Most (not all) permanent markers are dye-based.  Here's an article you can read if you want to know about the chemical difference, and which markers are which.

So what do you do?  Just pull off the point of the pen and put it in a small glass jar.  I used those tiny little jars that you get jelly in at Christmas time!  Pry apart of cut off the end of the pen and slide out the plastic covered reservoir from the center.  I recommend gloves!  It doesn't matter if it's dried up or fresh.  Cut it up to fit in the bottle and cover the pieces with 91% rubbing alcohol.  Shake, and let it sit overnight.

You will have to experiment with amounts, but it's pretty much impossible to make them too concentrated. since you can always thin them down with more alcohol.  If they are too diluted, you can pour them out into a plastic palette and let them evaporate somewhat.  I transferred my inks into little squeeze bottles so that I could control the drips better, but this isn't necessary if you're going to do mostly brush work.

I use freezer paper instead of the pricier Yupo paper, because I'm cheap!  Well, that and because I'm just getting started and don't want to waste expensive paper :-)

I have some resources here, with links to my Pinterest board on alcohol inks and the best book I've found on the subject. 

Copyright 2018 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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