Discover the joy in creating your own colorful alcohol ink coasters!
Alcohol ink coasters are a fun way to dive into the world of resin crafts. Easily customizable with your favorite color palette, these handcrafted pieces will add a touch of beauty to your home or make great gifts. For those who own resin craft business, adding alcohol ink coasters to your line up can significantly boost sales - their popularity and colorful appeal make them potential best-sellers.
Alcohol ink is popular amongst beginner and seasoned artists due to its rich color, affordability, versatility, and quick dry time. Artist Alia Khan from Artistically Crafted is known for her vibrant alcohol ink creations, including geodes, paintings, and coasters. Recently, she visited the ArtResin studio to share techniques and tips for crafting your own alcohol ink coasters, finished with a resin top coat to make them shine.
Let's get started!
What's the best surface for alcohol ink coasters?
Alcohol ink coasters are best made with a non-porous material that will allow the ink to sit on the surface rather than absorb. Ideal surfaces include ceramic tile, waterproof paper, synthetic paper such as Yupo, Clayboard, glass, metal, and polymer clay.
How do you use alcohol ink on ceramic coasters?
Alcohol ink is a versatile medium that offers various application options for ceramic coasters. Here are some of the most common techniques:
- Apply in dense layers for a deep, saturated look or in thin layers for a washy, watercolor effect.
- Drop alcohol ink straightout of the bottle, flick it on with a brush or spritz it on with a small spray bottle.
- Blend the ink with other colors to create new hues.
- Thin the ink out by blowing it along the surface with a straw or a hairdryer or dilute it with isopropyl alcohol to create a faded effect.
- Apply alcohol ink to a dry surface or achieve a more diluted effect by first wetting the surface with isopropyl alcohol so the inks can move and blend with ease.
- Slowly tilt the coaster back and forth to encourage the inks to blend.
Within 10 minutes, you can create a simple, stunning abstract alcohol ink design that will dry almost instantly. And if you don't like what you've created, simply wipe the coaster off with isopropyl alcohol and start again. The most important thing is to experiment and have fun!
What materials are needed to make alcohol ink and resin coasters?
You will need:
- 4" ceramic tiles in a circular, square, or hexagon shape
- 99% isopropyl alcohol in a small plastic cup
- A small syringe to apply the isopropyl alcohol
- Alcohol ink in 2-3 colors that blend well without becoming muddy. Alia used blue, pink and purple.
- A hair dryer
- Metallic mica powder - Alia used silver
- A small spoon or craft stick to apply the mica powder
- Metallic leaf - Alia used silver
- Metallic leaf adhesive and small fine tipped paintbrush
- Kamar Varnish to seal the alcohol ink
- ArtResin epoxy resin
- Disposable nitrile gloves
- A graduated plastic mixing cup
- A mixing stick such as a wood or plastic craft stick
- Artist's Torch to remove bubbles
- A dust cover such as a clean cardboard box, plastic tote or deli tray lid
- Cork backing cut to fit your coaster
Industrial strength adhesive such as E6000
First, drop the syringe into the cup to pick up a little bit of isopropyl alcohol. Using a syringe to apply the alcohol provides much more control and creates less mess.
Next, drop the alcohol ink onto the coaster. Alia alternated blue and purple in a horseshoe pattern around the outer edge.
Next, add several drops of pink.
Next, apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol from the syringe, squeezing it over the areas where the ink has been applied.
Blow with the hairdryer to blend the inks together until the ink has dried. Alternate the direction the hair dryer is blowing to create different layers and effects.
At this point, you’ll be able to see any saturated areas that need to be diluted with more isopropyl alcohol or light areas that may need a little more ink. You'll also be able to see how the colors have blended in ways that you like ... or don't like.
Drop a little more isopropyl alcohol onto the areas where you've added more ink. Then blowdry once more, alternating the direction of the hair dryer, until the ink has dried.
Repeat these steps, building layers by adding ink where more color is needed or isopropyl alcohol to areas that need diluting. Blow dry after each addition until the ink is no longer wet and you're happy with your design.
Step 2: Add sparkle with mica powder
Drop a little ink and isopropyl alcohol onto the coaster, then add a little mica powder on top. A little mica powder goes a long way so start with less than you think you’ll need.
Blow with the hairdryer until the alcohol has dried off and the mica has created a metallic lining.
Repeat the same technique on the remaining coasters to create a matching set. Don’t worry about trying to match the exact pattern on each coaster. They will be tied together with the color palette, but each will have its own unique design.
Step 3: Apply metallic leaf
Dip the paintbrush into the metal leaf adhesive and, starting on one corner, paint a thin line across the coaster. Place as much or as little adhesive as you wish, creating random, abstract lines throughout the coaster, or follow the pattern you created with your alcohol ink design. Allow the adhesive to dry until it’s tacky, but no longer wet.
Tear off small pieces of silver leaf and attach them to the areas where you can see the adhesive lines. Lightly pat the pieces down with your fingers to ensure they adhere.
Gently rub with your finger to remove the excess silver leaf - it should come off easily.
Step 4: Sealing the coasters
Spray the coasters lightly with Kamar Varnish to evenly coat the entire surface. Allow to dry according to the label directions.
What's the best sealant for alcohol ink?
Kamar Varnish is the specific spray sealant favored by alcohol ink artists. It can be applied over dried alcohol ink pieces without reactivating the ink and causing it to bleed or smudge. Spray Kamar varnish over the entire alcohol ink piece in a light sweeping motion. Allow to dry before applying resin.
Step 5: Measure and Mix the ArtResin
Wearing gloves, measure the ArtResin according to the label instructions. To cover her 4 coasters, Alia prepared 4 fl oz total (2 fl oz of resin + 2 fl oz of hardener).
💡TIP: Visit ArtResin's online resin calculator to determine the exact amount of resin and hardener required for your project.
Mix the resin and hardener together slowly for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing container to incorporate all of the resin and hardener. Mix slowly to avoid creating too many bubbles. If desired, use a heat gun on the resin periodically throughout the mixing process to eliminate bubbles.
For detailed instructions, please see our blog How To Measure and Mix Epoxy Resin and Hardener.
Step 6: Apply the ArtResin
Pour the resin into the middle of the coaster and, using the stir stick, gently nudge the resin to the edges of the piece. If you're worried about the resin spilling over the sides and creating drips, you can coat the bottom edges of the coaster with masking tape or liquid latex before you start.
Lightly run an Artist Torch over the surface 1-2 times to pop any surface air bubbles.
Cover and leave for 24 hours to cure
Step 7: Apply a backing to the coasters
To give the coasters a finished look, a cork back can be applied once the resin has cured. The resin will be dry to the touch at the 24 hour mark but can still be indented at this point. We advise waiting until the resin has finished its full 72 hour cure and the resin is rock hard.
Apply a little industrial strength adhesive to a piece of cork, cut to size to fit the coaster.
Gently place the coaster on top of the cork and press gently to ensure an even and tight bond. Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry.
Once the glue has dried, you've got yourself a beautiful set of handcrafted alcohol ink and resin coasters - perfect to sell, give away or keep for yourself.
We hope you've enjoyed Alia's tutorial. Please leave any questions in the comments below and if you'd like to learn more about working with alcohol ink, please see our blog How To Paint With Alcohol Ink On Yupo Paper.
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