Learn how to make alcohol ink ornaments. These quick and easy ornaments have a watercolor-like texture that glows in the light.
You might also like this post on paint swirl ornaments.
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Tips for Making DIY Alcohol Ink Ornaments
- Clear Ornaments
- Alcohol Ink
- Canned Air (optional)
- Rubbing alcohol (for clean up)
- Paper cups (for draining excess ink)
- Something to protect your work area
- Gloves if desired
Notes about Supplies
Glass vs plastic. I tried both plastic and glass clear ornaments to see how they would work. The alcohol ink had an easier time sticking to the plastic ornaments.
The glass ornaments were harder. For my first batch, the ink wouldn’t stick at all. I even cleaned the ornaments with rubbing alcohol.
I bought another batch of glass ornaments and I didn’t have any problems at all. My guess is that some glass ornaments are coated with something in production.
If you’re having trouble, either try plastic or try another brand of glass ornaments.
You can also try using less ink. You can also try spraying it with the canned air to make it dry faster.
Sizing. I bought ornaments online and was shocked when I opened the box to see the crazy sizes that I had accidentally ordered. Standard ornaments are about 100 mm or 3 inches.
The smaller glass ornaments worked better than the ornaments that I had bought in the store.
Ball Vs 2-Piece Ornaments. The other mistake I made when ordering clear ornaments was not paying attention and accidentally getting 2-piece ornaments. These are really easy to put fun stuff inside the ornaments, but they might not be what you’re looking for. (Plus the ones I bought are HUGE.)
I also had some of these tear-shaped ornaments on hand and they turned out lovely. They are also 2-piece ornaments and I had a lot more luck with how they turned out. I think it’s because so much air reaches the ink, so it’s able to dry faster.
Alcohol inks are not created equally. I had some that I bought from an art supply store and some that were more craft range. I liked the craft range way more! The colors were more vibrant, thicker, and they just worked better.
I bought this kit with magenta, yellow, and cyan, which was perfect for creating every color of the rainbow.
By the way, alcohol ink is different than standard calligraphy ink. Since it’s made with rubbing alcohol, it dries much faster. It’s also more translucent. Don’t try to use standard ink.
Colors still mix when they are dry. Even when the ink had dried, they would reactivate and mix with the fresh color, so be careful of that.
Adjacent colors look best in one ornament. Remember the color wheel when working with alcohol inks. When all 3 colors mix, they make brown or black. Not a great look for a Christmas ornament.
Alcohol ink clean-up. If you mess up, you can remove the ink with rubbing alcohol. You can also try rescuing an ornament with some gold leaf. It made this ugly ornament better looking.
The ink stains, so you might want to wear gloves. It’s a little smelly, but nothing toxic.
Sealing alcohol ink. If you use alcohol ink on the outside of the ornament, it’s a good idea to seal it with a few light coats of clear polycrylic. Let it dry between coats.
Alcohol ink may fade if exposed to light. In my spare time, I like to pretend that I’m an artist and I know that alcohol ink markers like Copic are NOT lightfast, which means they will fade over time, especially if exposed to sunlight. I would assume the same to be true of this ink.
Other Easy Ornament Tutorials
Learn how to make beautiful ornaments using alcohol inks. You will love how the alcohol ink dries to create interesting textures on the surface.
- clear ornaments
- alcohol inks
- rubbing alcohol
- canned air
- Protect your work surface because alcohol ink stains. I used a sheet of freezer paper with the shiny side down. The shiny side keeps the ink from leaking through the paper onto my desk. (You might want gloves as well.)
- Remove the metal ornament hanger.
- Add a few drops of alcohol ink to the inside of the ornament and let them swirl around.
- Use the canned air if desired to make the ink dry faster.
- Add a few drops of another color and swirl it around. The color will mix with the 1st color where it hits.
- Apply more canned air desired.
- If needed, you can let the excess ink drain into a paper cup.
- Let the ink dry thoroughly before replacing the ornament hanger.
Alcohol ink can be cleaned up with rubbing alcohol.
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