Making alcohol ink or dye from household items is super easy. I use the alcohol ink to dye crepe paper for a nice vintage look. Honestly this is so easy I almost think it is silly to have a how to article. But since I am whipping these up all the time I thought I’d give you a quick run down. You can also see my tutorial on how to make Walnut Alcohol Ink.
- Alcohol: I like the high proof stuff myself ;) Joking aside, I use the 91% isopropyl alcohol if I can find it because it dries faster and for dying crepe paper changes the texture the least.
- Glass jars: Plastic is fine but will tend to stain forever. FOREVER.
- Old/Cheap Markers OR Food Coloring: I have tried a number of different pigments from watercolor to paint but they tend to not dissolve in a way that I found to fit my needs (in other words they made a craptastic mess)
Pour some alcohol in jars. If using markers uncap and stick in alcohol let sit for about 30 minutes. You can speed the process by stirring the marker around in the alcohol. If using food coloring start with 1 to 2 drops of your color. If mixing colors you may need to add alcohol if you want a pastel color.
That’s it. Color in alcohol = done. Feel free to celebrate with a drink of ethyl alcohol (as known as spirituous liquor). Edit: apparently some people in the world don’t understand chemistry humor. So let’s clarify: isopropyl alcohol = baddy bad. Ethyl alcohol = tasty. Make sure to use common sense when having a whisky sour, glass of wine, or beer. Never drink & drive and always enjoy in moderation!
More markers per jar = a brighter dye. The nice thing about using markers is that if you happen to have the washable type then it will not stain your hands. However, you could just stop and put on some gloves like someone that has sense.
These alcohol based inks are perfect for dyeing paper products. You can see these dyes in action on how to dye crepe paper without loosing the crepe texture.
If you are looking for a way to make alcohol ink for use on plastic, metal, or glass SORRY! I have tried so many formulas and none of them work quite as well as the commercial variety you can see here (warning an affiliate link ahead). If I ever come up with it you will be the first to know!!!