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Alcohol inks can be quite expensive. You can save so much time and money by creating your own DIY alcohol inks. All you need is rubbing alcohol, sharpie markers and a smattering of other materials.
So you might wonder what the heck you might need alcohol inks for. The short answer is you can use them in so many and creative ways. Some of my favorite crafts to use them are in resin crafting to create beautiful swirls of color in resin as it dries. However, you can use them in pretty much any type of crafting medium that you might think of, just keep in mind that they work best on non-porous surfaces, so things like metal, glass, tile or Yupo paper. Check out one of my favorite posts from the Craft Warehouse, 25 Ways to use Alcohol Inks to get inspired.
If you’re just doing a one-off type of craft using alcohol inks, it might make sense to just buy the pre-made inks. However, if you’re a hobby crafter or a serious crafter, you may find it useful to create your own custom colors using sharpie markers. Plus, you can create more ink for less money.
Most store-bought ink will come in about a 10ml tube, whereas when you create your own, you literally can create at least double that amount from a single Sharpie marker.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
What You Will Need:
- A selection of sharpie markers (I like using the chisel style, but any colors that strike your fancy will do);
- Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol;
- Glass jars (mason jars work perfectly for this, but you can use old relish jars or anything with a lid);
- Needle tipped dispenser jars (I like these, available through Amazon);
- Rubber gloves; and,
Most tutorials recommend using at least 90% rubbing alcohol, but you can use a lower percentage. The lower the percentage, the longer your project will need to dry. I used a 70% solution for the inks I created for this post.
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Prep Your Work Area
Spend a little time prepping your work area, alcohol inks will stain. I used an old pair of ripped jeans, but a plastic drop cloth will also work just fine. Alternatively, if the weather’s nice, doing this outside can make clean-up a breeze too.
Just remember that the ink in your sharpie markers will stain pretty much anything it touches!
Breaking Open Your Sharpies
Once you’ve got your work area sorted, lay out your glass containers (Glass works best because it will be easier to clean out when finished). Now it’s time to crack open those sharpie markers.
Grab some gloves and then the best way to open your marker is to bend the marker along the seam. Sharpie markers, you’ll note, have two parts once you remove the lid. There will be a seam between the grey “stem” and the colored plastic below the tip. Grip the grey part and the colored part and gently bend them (similar to how you’d break a stick of wood, for example).
Eventually, you’ll hear a crack and you can continue to pry the two pieces apart.
Soak That Ink!
Now that you have stick of ink from the marker, you’ll want to stick that into the jar. If you’re experimenting with color, you can add another ink stick to the jar or stick with the one color.
You’ll want to pour a bit of rubbing alcohol in the jar now. I eyeballed how much I’d need based on the size of the needle tipped bottles I’d eventually be storing the ink in.
If after a few minutes you’re not seeing a lot of color bleed into the alcohol, you can gently take an Exacto-knife and cut open the tube a bit more to expose more of the ink.
I was using completely brand new sharpie markers, so I found I did not need to complete this step.
Time To Bottle Your Ink
Once your ink has soaked into the alcohol for at least 2 hours (the longer the better), you can use tweezers and your gloved hand to squeeze any excess fluid from the ink tube before discarding.
Be careful, the ink coming out will be concentrated, make sure you wear gloves and continue to work with a drop cloth. Unless you want brightly colored hands, in which case, have at it!
You can then use a funnel, if you prefer, or I just carefully poured the ink into my dispenser bottle over the dirty wash sink in the laundry room (what was a bit more staining, right?).
Once it’s bottled, it’s ready to use! I took an extra step and created labels for each color using my label maker.
Final Thoughts on DIY Alcohol Inks
This project was easy to do. I could complete everything in the space of a single sunny afternoon and with minimal mess. I definitely recommend using fresh sharpie markers if your budget can allow, as I think using older markers may require more soaking time, but other than that, super easy to make.
I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope this inspires you to make your own DIY alcohol inks. If you have questions or just want to say “hi”, drop me a comment down below or tag me on social media, I’d love to hear from you.
Also, be sure to pin this to Pinterest so you can quickly reference it when you need it.
That is all for now. Stay crafty, my friends!!