Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gale's Gallery XI: Experimenting With Alcohol Inks

Hello fellow "art enthusiasts" (a term I use for folks who are between a crafter and full-on artist),

This post has taken forever to get together on what should be a very simple technique.  I'm not exactly inexperienced either...  I learned that everything you read on the internet isn't correct.  Really?

Alcohol inks on glazed tile coasters-- the two on the right are mistakes because I accidentally splattered rubbing alcohol and not the alcohol blending solution.  However, it might be the look one is wanting.  Experiment!

The process should be quick, easy, cheap, fun and foolproof.  After all my attempts, it's none of the above until you get it right!  I have done "the dirty work" and the instant gratification I must have can now be yours...  I've pieced together several folks' techniques and will show you the boo-boos as well as the successes.

All you need are alcohol inks and alcohol blending solution (I used Adirondack brand), some white glazed tiles (Lowe's has them for 14 cents), a water-based polyurethane sealer (if you can find it in a can-go for it!), and some sticky felt pads (for feet to protect your furniture if you're using these as coasters.)

Note:  The inks dry fairly quickly.  You will have different effects blending dry and wet inks.  Wear junk clothes and cover your work surface.  Do the sealing in a well-ventilated area.


 Be careful about which and how many colors you use or you will wind up with something like the upper right.  The blending solution was splashed on the lower right.

I'm not going to show step-by-steps because there are other sites for that after you know my "corrections."

1.  Wipe off tile.
2.  Brush a thin coating (you may want more) of the blending solution thoroughly on the top of the tile.
3.  Randomly drop complimentary colors of 3 or less inks.  (Too many will make a muddy brown.  The bright side is any mistake is easily wiped off and you can start over et nauseam!  Great for those of us who hate to waste supplies!)
4.  Experiment with adding drops within drops or blending solution drops or even splatter them!
5.  Allow to dry completely--overnight is good.  Where the inks puddle, it takes some time to dry.
6.  Be sure to color the sides, either with the inks or I used copic markers which are alcohol-based.
7.  Gently, and with a soft brush well-dipped in the poly, coat the surface and either let dry and repeat at least a couple times or cheat like me and after the first coat, switch to spray poly (my spray isn't water-based,  so make sure that first coat is really covering the tile well.)  Usually, you are told to use thin coats of poly, but you really can't or accidents happen.
8.  Put the felt feet on and enjoy!

Sealing mistakes on bottom row:  Left:  On my second coat of polyurethane, I didn't have a liberal amount on my brush and it drug around the first coat causing the crazing.   Right:  Same issue with this tile, except that on the first coat I needed more poly on brush as well.  It streaked the ink.  I decided to live with that, then on the second coat I still didn't have enough poly.  This is why I decided to brush the first layer of poly (water-based) and spray the second even though my spray was apparently alcohol based.  

Closer view of sealing errors...



All in all a fun, serendipitous project.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Until next time,
Gale
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