WHAT ARE ALCOHOL INKS?
Alcohol inks are richly pigmented, acid-free inks that can be applied to most clean surfaces - including polymer clay! Most alcohol inks are transparent and because of this, they can be blended and layered to achieve beautiful effects. Water resistant when dry, alcohol ink can be re-activated at anytime using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). This allows you to easily revive your dry palette back to liquid form.
DIY ALCOHOL INK EXTENDER
Commercial Alcohol Ink Extender Solution is readily available to purchase from art and craft suppliers. However, current postage delays and low stock levels are yet another impact of the Corona Virus. The following DIY option is budget friendly and very easy to make at a home. I used a half teaspoon measure to make a small batch, but feel free to multiply the quantities below to suit your needs.
INGREDIENTS + MATERIALS
- 100% Isopropyl
- Pure Glycerine / Glycerol
- Spoon Measures
- Small Jar or Spray Bottle
1. Add 9 x half teaspoons of 100% Isopropyl to a small jar or spray bottle.
2. Add half a teaspoon of water to dilute the Isopropyl to a 90% concentration. I recommend using distilled water rather than hard tap water that contains additives. If you are able to buy 90% then you can omit this step.
3. Add 5 drops of Pure Glycerine and shake gently to combine. Glycerine is available at most supermarkets and pharmacies (sometimes labelled as Glycerol).
4. Test your Alcohol Ink Extender Solution on a ceramic tile to see if it needs any adjustments. I found these quantities to perform well.
TESTING ON A TILE
On the left, is Jacquard Piñata Alcohol Ink in Lime Green with 100% isopropyl only. The colour is repelled more than carried, and it evaporates incredibly fast. This is useful if you're trying to achieve negative space and to push ink away from an area. 100% Isopropyl is great for removing alcohol ink from surfaces, and is handy stuff to keep in your studio.
On the right, is Jacquard Piñata Alcohol Ink in Lime Green with the DIY Alcohol Ink Extender Solution. The colour has been carried much further in soft blooms. The solution effectively slows evaporation, giving you an extended working time. Use the extender to increase transparency of colours, and mix to different shades together.
APPLICATION ON POLYMER CLAY
After successful testing, I used the DIY Alcohol Ink Extending Solution to tint and stain my polymer clay human teeth. It dried and baked without any issues and I'm really happy with the results! These polymer clay teeth will become components in some of my future sickly sweet creations.