Learn how to make these easy DIY alcohol ink coasters. These coasters are fun to make and also make a great gift.
You might also like this tutorial for making paint-pour coasters.
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Alcohol ink is so much fun to play with. It creates an interesting watercolor-like look that anyone can achieve.
How is Alcohol Ink Different that Regular Ink?
Alcohol ink contains alcohol and is usually waterproof (on paper) when dry. Regular ink is typically water-based and many inks are not waterproof.
If you’re into art, you can think of it as Copic markers versus Tombow brush markers. Copic markers are waterproof and a bit stinky. Tombow markers are water-based and have no odor.
How Do You Seal Alcohol Ink?
I like clear spray paint to seal my alcohol ink coasters to protect them.
I do not recommend using a brush because it will mess up the design. Here’s what happened when I tried to brush on some Mod Podge.
If you want them to last even longer, you can seal them with resin. With resin, you mix 2 parts together and pour it over the coasters. It’s a bit messy, but it provides a very durable finish.
If you’re making alcohol ink coasters to give as presents, use a resin top coat to ensure that they last longer.
How Do You Remove Alcohol Ink if You Mess Up?
If you hate how your design looks, it can be removed with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Then just start again.
Is Alcohol Ink Dangerous to Breathe?
It’s a bit stinky, but it’s not dangerous. However, I wouldn’t work in an unventilated space because the smell can get overwhelming.
Be really careful when using a straw to blow the ink around. Make sure that you’re in a large space and don’t accidentally inhale the fumes.
If you’re sensitive to smells, you might want to use a ventilation mask to be on the safe side.
How Long Does It Take for Alcohol Ink to Dry?
Alcohol ink can take about 10 minutes to dry. In warmer climates, it might dry faster.
Be aware that the ink can smudge on the coasters if you touch it after that time, so be sure to seal it.
What Kind of Tiles Should I Use?
For best results, use glazed ceramic tiles. You can also use coaster blanks.
DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters
- Glazed ceramic tiles or coaster blanks
- Alcohol ink*
- Rubbing alcohol
- Compressed air or straws (optional)
- Eye droppers
- Gold paint pen
- Clear spray paint or resin
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Something to protect your work surface
- Felt or cork for the bottom of the coaster
- Hot glue gun
About Alcohol Ink
A Few Notes About Color Theory
Alcohol ink is transparent, so when they mix or layer, they react the same way as when you mix paint.
Not all colors look good together. And if you mix too many colors together, they make brown.
Colors that are adjacent on the color wheel typically look the best.
One set is made with pink, yellow, and teal, with a bit of green ink added.
The other set is made with teal, rubbing alcohol diluted teal, and green inks.
Work in a well-ventilated space. Use a ventilation mask if you’re sensitive to smells.
You will also want to protect your work surface from drips since they will stain surfaces. I like to use freezer paper because the waxy side prevents the ink from soaking through to the other side.
You will also want gloves to protect your skin from staining.
- Clean the tiles with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
- Drop alcohol ink onto the coaster.
- Move the tile around to spread the ink.
- Drop other colors around and let them blend.
- Add drops of alcohol ink to dilute the color.
- Keep going until you’re happy with the design.
- Use a straw or compressed air to spread the ink.
- Let the ink dry thoroughly.
- Use the gold paint pen to color the edges. I prefer to make mine a bit messy to look organic. This also covers the weird tile texture on the side.
- Spray the surface with 2-3 coats of polycrylic spray paint to seal the surface. This will also make it shiny.
- Add a square of felt (or cork) to the back of the coaster with hot glue. This will protect your table from the rough tile backing.
Care for Alcohol Ink Coasters
Alcohol ink is NOT light-resistant, so do not keep your coasters in an area that gets a ton of light or they will fade. The design might disappear altogether (especially pinks and reds.)
Clean with water and a gentle cleaner if needed.
Do not put them in the dishwasher.
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