Fun with Alcohol & Inks

A few years ago I bought some tiles for our family room coasters but they seemed a little bland and boring. So plain in fact, that despite having a coaster-holder, they kept getting lost. We needed something more colorful. Then I stumbled upon alcohol inks online. I thought, hey, these tiles are non-porous… maybe we can use the inks to jazz them up.

I filed this idea away in my future creative explosions folder and forgot about it until eight months later when I was browsing the Jo-Ann Fabrics website and wound up in the Adirondack Ink page, quite by accident. “This must be a sign”, I thought, and promptly bought six bottles of ink and the alcohol blending solution, and waited rather impatiently for my inks to arrive in the mail.

When they arrived in the mail, I promptly hit the bottle and inked up. 🙂


Tiles, Adirondack Inks & Alcohol Solution BEFORE

Boring tiles, right?

Alcohol and inks are so easy, so fun, and the results are almost immediate. The alcohol ink dries quickly on non-porous surfaces.


1. Begin with a thin layer of the alcohol blending solution, spreading it evenly. This will diffuse the color, intensifies the saturation.

2. Then, squeeze one big drop of one color at a time on the tile and watch it spread over the non-porous surface.

3. Next, experiment with the color layering. Adding second or third color to a wet layer will blend the colors together (ie: red+ blue= purple), while adding color to a dry layer will create a distinct, bright color separation, like a spot/ dot.

4. Fun techniques to try: A, Draw directly with the tip of the bottle on the non-porous surface; B, move the ink around with q-tips; and C, blow the ink around with a straw. It is truly amazing all the interesting effects that can be created. Every single tile was a surprise.

5. And yes, once in a while a tile will resemble a big mud puddle that seems un-fixable. Do not despair. Simply coat the tile with the alcohol blending solution, wipe it off with a rag, allow to dry, and start over. This alcohol is very forgiving. When you’re happy with the outcome, ink the sides of the tile for a more finished look.

6. Lastly, varnish the tile when you’re finished with a water-based (not solvent-based) sealer and let each coat dry COMPLETELY in between. As anxious as you might be to begin using your new tiles, you must varnish that thing or the ink will scratch off (not cool). After four or five coats, your tile or other non-porous surfaced project, is ready for use.

Tiles Drying from a Fourth Coat of Varnish

Tiles Drying from a Fourth Coat of Varnish


Applied Two Layers of Ink


Swirls Created by Blowing Air Through a Straw


Lines Created by Tilting Tile From Side to Side in my Hand


My Fav!! A Few Drops of Ink into the Alcohol Blending Solution, and Viola!

If you have any questions, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer! Please let me know if you try this – I would love to see what you create! Thanks, Kristen


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