Homemade Alcohol Inks

March 9, 2020Allison Murray
Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You’ll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

I’m super excited because today I’m updating a post from way back in 2015. Almost 5 years ago I decided to start making my own alcohol inks. But I’m always working to improve things. So over the past 5 years I’ve tried all sorts of markers and bottles and methods and I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. But I’ve also sort of streamlined the process. I’ve figured out how use less tools and make more vibrant and saturated colors. And I’m really happy to share with you a new and improved way to make alcohol inks at home… (original Alcohol Inks post can be found here)

Why DIY when you can buy alcohol inks?

Straight UP to save money. BIG money, in fact. I was needing a new set of alcohol inks and I wanted to have sort of a rainbow assortment. Because I was feeling supremely lazy I figured I’d just buy a set. On Amazon I found this Ranger Favorites Alcohol Ink Set and it had most but not all of the bright and cheerful colors I was hoping for. Plus each bottle was only half an ounce. At $60 for the set, that means each half an ounce costs $4 apiece. Now think about it this way… at $8 an ounce and with 128 ounces in a gallon, do you have any idea what the cost is per gallon?

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

First let’s think of a few gallons to compare this astronomical price I’m about to show you… In my part of Texas I can get a gallon of milk for around $2.50. I filled up my car yesterday and paid $2.29 a gallon for regular grade gasoline. But if I wanted to order enough of these little bottles of alcohol ink to equal one gallon it would cost me $1,024. Wowzers, right? Ooh, and I didn’t even add tax. Silly me! That would be another $84.15 for a total of roughly $1108 per gallon of store bought alcohol ink. That’s about my grocery budget for 2 weeks spent on nothing but TAX.

Now this was kind of silly, I grant you because who would ever BUY a gallon of alcohol inks? But I just wanted to bring home just how expensive this little craft medium is. And alcohol inks are a really FUN craft medium to work with. Unfortunately because of the cost a lot of crafters can’t afford them. That’s why I went DIY 7 years ago and never looked back.

But first…

Did you know I wrote a book about Alcohol Inks?

Crafting with Alcohol Inks by Allison MurrayI did, I totally wrote a book on Crafting with Alcohol Inks titled Crafting with Alcohol Inks which is soooo original, I know :) Quick plug, get your very own copy of Crafting with Alcohol Inks by Allison Murray (yours truly) online at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Back when I wrote this book in 2016, my publisher wanted me to use alcohol inks in the projects that others could purchase and so I did. Except for my very first use of alcohol inks when I purchased a little 3 pack that is the only other time I’ve ever spent money alcohol inks. Every single other use has been DIY.

And, as I said, through the years I’ve managed to come up with much more vibrant and saturated inks to use than I did way back in 2015. In a nutshell, these DIY alcohol inks are amazing and, in my honest opinion, rival store-bought alcohol inks at a fraction of the cost. And also in my honest opinion, blow my previous version of alcohol inks out of the water.

Supplies Needed for DIY Alcohol Inks

The supplies list to make DIY super strong alcohol inks is really small. Gather strong Isopropyl Alcohol (91 or 99%) and really good permanent markers.

The supplies list to make DIY super strong alcohol inks is really small. Gather strong Isopropyl Alcohol (91 or 99%) and really good permanent markers. As of today, Isopropyl Alcohol is a straight up nightmare to find because of the current global health situation. Right now I’m not going to link to the alcohol because online there’s rampant price gouging.

I’ll admit the timing of this post isn’t exactly perfect but I’ve been working on it since way before the shortages. Please PIN THIS POST for future reference. This will be the perfect project when things settle down and rubbing alcohol isn’t being sold at a crazy premium.

The Markers You Use Affect the Quality

For this batch of super strong DIY alcohol inks I used Sharpie brand chisel tip markers. I initially purchased this set from Amazon but then was disappointed when I received them and realized there was no pink marker. Because I wanted a pink alcohol ink, as well, I purchased 2 fine point Sharpies individually from the craft store Michael’s. Later I found that Target carries a 4-count chisel tip Sharpie set that includes pink, lime green, bright aqua ,and purple.

Flat out, there’s just A LOT more ink inside of the chisel tip Sharpies giving you a much stronger alcohol ink. I’d strongly suggest picking up your fat Sharpies from Target. They’re cheaper than online and you can get all of the basic alcohol ink colors you’d want. But if you cannot find a chisel tip in the color you want, you’ll need TWO fine point Sharpies instead of one chisel tip.

If you’re not down with Sharpie, you can most certainly try to use any markers you please. Just make sure they aren’t eraser board markers because those won’t work. Washable markers will not work, either. Be sure that any markers you use state PERMANENT somewhere on them. And just know, I’ve used very cheap and very expensive markers in my journey and I think Sharpies produce the best results hands down.

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

Want to Use Up Old, Spent Markers?

You can absolutely get ink out of markers that appear to be all used up. Because just because they won’t write on paper doesn’t mean there isn’t anything left inside the pen. It’s just like expensive beauty products. There’s always SOMETHING left behind (so frustrating, right? :)

Follow this tutorial and whether your markers are new or old you’ll be able to eke out all of the color. But you won’t get a full ounce of good, vibrant colors when using old markers. Instead you’ll need to save up a couple of old markers to add up to about the same amount of ink in an original. Or you’ll need to reduce the amount of alcohol ink you make. Maybe instead of a full ounce, you’ll get a quarter of an ounce. If you try to use a single old marker and get a full ounce out like the tutorial below shows, just know your inks are going to be super faint.

Choosing Bottles to Hold and Dispense Your Homemade Alcohol Inks

These 1 ounce precision applicator bottles are the perfect little vessel for your DIY alcohol inks.

These 1 ounce precision applicator bottles are the perfect little vessel for your DIY alcohol inks. After many years of making my own and using lots of bottles I will always, always use these precision tipped dispensers from now on. Though they come with a little funnel you don’t even need them with that needle tip (more on that in the tutorial below). Plus they’ve got a great screw on cap that you can really get nice and tight. And the silicone lid/drip stoppers work really, really well.

Making Alcohol Inks, Step by Step:

At 1 ounce they’re the perfect size for a super strong alcohol ink like we’re making today.

With the cap on your Sharpie Marker, twist back and forth the cap.

With the cap on your Sharpie Marker, twist back and forth the cap. Slowly but surely the tip of the marker will pull away from the rest of the marker’s cartridge.

Slice open the tube that contains the ink. Cut all of the way from one end to the other.

Slice open the tube that contains the ink. Cut all of the way from one end to the other.

Place the tube in a small glass jar and squeeze rubbing alcohol onto it.

Place the tube in a small glass jar and squeeze rubbing alcohol onto it. To begin with, start with just a very small amount of alcohol. The strength in our homemade alcohol inks comes from a high ratio of marker pigment to Isopropyl alcohol so go easy.

Place the lid on the jar and allow to sit or stir the tube around in the alcohol to help the ink seep out.

Once the top portion of your tube has turned mostly white squeeze downward onto the tube into the jar to release the ink still inside. Squeeze the tube like this a few times, adding a little squeeze of alcohol onto the tube to resaturate to help push the ink out.

This is a GREAT time to wear gloves, by the way.

Cruddy-dud. Wear gloves, this takes days to wash off.

Really great… Exhibit A in favor of wearing gloves… This strong alcohol ink literally took me 4 days to completely scrub/wear off. Cruddy-dud but lesson learned!

Getting your homemade alcohol ink into these precision applicators is a snap, no extra tools required!

Getting your homemade alcohol ink into these precision applicators is a snap, no extra tools required! Simply squeeze the applicator bottle to push out all of the air.

Flip the applicator over and try to place just the needle portion of the lid into the alcohol ink.

Flip the applicator over and try to place just the needle portion of the lid into the alcohol ink. Release the pressure and the liquid will begin sucking up into the bottle as the pressure normalizes or whatever. I’m not a scientist but it’s just like when you put your finger on the end of a straw to suck up the coke from your glass.

Despite best efforts I did get ink onto the white screw on cap of my applicator bottles. I did clean them up just a little bit with alcohol in a fingertip spray bottle and a paper towel. Know, however, that once used in earnest, the outside of these alcohol ink bottles are going to become just as colorful as the inside. Alcohol ink runs and drips and that’s what makes it so much fun to craft with!

There are lots of Sharpie colors so if you have several that are quite similar in shade, it would be a good idea to label each color.

There are lots of Sharpie colors so if you have several that are quite similar in shade, it would be a good idea to label each color. In all honesty, I had planned just to put a little paper circle onto each bottle and dab it with the color inside. But since this was for a post I decided to print up some Avery 5160 labels I already had on hand.

How much money can you save making homemade alcohol inks?

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

For this project I did use quite a few things in my stash which brings the price down even lower, but let’s cover how much it would cost to make exactly what I did. I made a total of 10 colors and a full ounce of each.

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

For a grand total of $26.72 for 10 colors, a full ounce each of really vibrant or a total of $2.67 per ounce. And don’t forget, you’ll still have 14 applicator bottles and approximately 22 ounces of alcohol remaining for other uses. And since I did the whole dramatic thing with gallons that’s $341.76 per gallon of homemade alcohol ink vs. $1,108 per gall on of store bought. Proof is in the pudding, my friends.

Why BUY when you can DIY alcohol inks and save an amazing amount of $? :)

Alcohol inks are incredibly expensive. Save BIG BUCKS by making homemade alcohol inks. You'll get vibrant, gorgeous alcohol ink at a fraction of the cost!

Click here to see the original Homemade Alcohol Inks post from November 3, 2015.

Comments (112)

  • Katie Smith

    November 3, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial,Allison! I may have to try this! I had attempted making my own alcohol inks once, using koolaid, but it never dissolved well.

    I’d love to see your inks in action!

    1. Allison Murray

      November 3, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      I’ve never heard of using koolaid. I had considered using powdered dye from a tie dye kit but worried about having grit in it. I’ll definitely be using these soon :)

      1. jenn

        February 29, 2016 at 10:03 PM

        You can use the sugar free kool aid and the powdered dye and then just run them through a coffee filter then pour back into a bottle. but be careful those aren’t acid free so they can damage your papers

      2. Shauna Bonura

        January 8, 2017 at 5:59 PM

        I have been trying to get a formula right using alchohol as my liquid base and powdered pigment, and had some trouble at first with the pigment weight, and also sediment/clumping, and I am using this resin and didn’t want fleckles. So I measured 3 grams of pigment to 15 ML of alchohol, and then used a plastic cup with polyill and a syringe without a sharp on it to “mooch” and filter the liquid, from there I started collecting Vape Liquid bottles, in 15 and 30 ml size, so I boiled those out and let dry, then with another larger syringe, made matches to pull up and add into the bottles! The vape liquid bottles are perfect to use as the tip allows for individual drops, and they are upcycled and free is meee!!! While I noticed with the first batch that the weight of the pigment does settle, the alchohol allows for no clumping, so just give it a good shake and it blends all the way through for some vibrant lovely and sleek colors!!! And no bendy resin pieces or freckles to have to pick out either!

      3. Fran Baker

        December 14, 2017 at 4:30 AM

        I have done this. I used Procion powdered dyes from Jacquard. They need separate soda ash as a mordant so I thought it might work. It did. But I was using 99% isopropyl alcohol so to get the colour to be vivid I needed to add a bit of water to the mix too.
        It might also work with Wilton gel food colours, but I haven’t tried that yet.
        I’ve not tried this with sharpies as they are so very expensive here in the UK that you might just as well buy Adirondak inks after all. But I already had the Procion dyes for something else.

        1. Allison Murray

          December 14, 2017 at 1:36 PM

          Cool! That’s good to know. I’m going to give those a shot myself. Thanks!

      4. Deborah

        April 28, 2019 at 10:45 AM

        You could filter it through a fine sieve (not for food use). Worth try!

        1. Terri Fountain

          December 7, 2019 at 5:17 AM

          I’m new to all these particular crafts. Reading a lot of great ideas atm.
          This one is brilliant for me!! I have some knock off Pearl Ex type powder, a really tight budget, old kids markers by the dozen! So I just need alcohol and containers I think! (Sharpies aren’t that cheap here in Australia, either… Like I said, BUDGET!)
          *** Coffee filter paper can be invaluable in crafting… it’s great for straining pretty much anything. I hope that helps! Probably even got a couple in your cupboard! ***
          Also, there are literally thousands of straining devices and materials of various types available!
          We use a Nut Milk Bag to strain a lot of random things. Again, trial and error. We have several.
          Because of it’s make up, the way they draw fluid, (remember your basic school science??) coffee filters would be fantastic for testing your newly made alcohol ink colours, also experimenting, watching how colours pull together, which travel further, which colour draws fastest? They’ll blend naturally as they draw together, into, and across the paper! Make your own beautiful, bespoke “colour wheel”, simply letting the colours you’ve laid out near each other, draw and mix together.
          Done. Finished. Complete.
          You’ve just strained your new inks, tested them, mixed and combined them, as well as created a beautiful, one of a kind, piece of “Reference Art”!! 🎨 Happy crafting!

      5. Warren

        September 10, 2019 at 9:32 AM

        I use a Epson printer that has a ink tank system that I can refill the ink. They are archival inks with high intensity colors. It saves an enormous amount of money over cartridges. I will be trying this ink out over the used markers and think it will work really well. I’ll let you know how it works out. Just need to find something cheaper than the Yupo paper. Tuff doing things on a school budget.

        1. Allison Murray

          September 11, 2019 at 11:11 AM

          That sounds like a genius idea! I’m always interested other inks or dyes that work so please do share your findings with us!

      6. Debbie

        May 18, 2020 at 8:17 AM

        Does it have to be 91% can it be 99%? Would you then need to add water?

        1. Allison Murray

          May 18, 2020 at 8:49 AM

          99% is even better than 91%! No need to add water, your inks will just dry a bit faster than if you had used 91%. Good luck!

    2. Shirley Hancock

      September 19, 2018 at 1:43 PM

      Will 50/ alcohol work, my husband got it?

      1. Allison Murray

        September 19, 2018 at 4:43 PM

        Not really. I’d suggest waiting until you can get a higher concentration of alcohol.

    3. Lea Smadello

      May 13, 2019 at 11:21 AM

      Wow thanks!! I was just about to go through 3 HUGE containers of old markers and chuch out a HUGE wack of them (cause they are a few years old, and school end i take all the kids school supplies and dump them into large ice cream buckets to do drawings/ colouring, and colouring for bordem busters when kids/ teens are bord or breaks from comp/ tab etc or rainy days etc) anyways, my plan was to sit down and dread the time going through these huge containers..now doong this gives a second life to them and extends the use !! And my teens/ myself can use this to make a whole new extention to bordom busters!! Thanks!! – now I am looking forward to my kids’s end of year supplies even more so lol ?

    4. Sally

      November 26, 2019 at 11:13 PM

      Great tip and thank you for doing the work to allow us to see how to do this. You sound the same as I am and do…enjoy your life always and have fun creating

  • Pat Ornsby

    January 29, 2016 at 12:15 AM

    Hi I am new to this and was wondering where I would buy this alcohol I have a lot of markers and thought this would be a great idea
    Thanks Pat

    1. Allison Murray

      January 29, 2016 at 7:55 AM

      I got mine at either CVS or Walmart!

  • Lisa Russell

    January 30, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Great Idea. I’m trying this as soon as I round up all the markers around here

  • Mary Fiedler

    February 14, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    Hi..great idea, but how do you apply them to your pallette or project? Brush or squirt it on?

    1. Allison Murray

      February 15, 2016 at 7:55 AM

      Yes you absolutely can use a brush or dribble them straight from the bottle. I’m sure you could find squirt bottles similar to the ones the store bought alcohol inks come in if you prefer.

      1. rose

        September 30, 2016 at 10:30 PM

        I set my work on a tile outside to dry and it rained and washed it all off!!

        1. Allison Murray

          October 3, 2016 at 10:16 AM

          Oh, that stinks! Luckily it’s easy and fun to do. I hate redoing anything but I’ve done so many of these coasters over again because I love it :)

    2. Becca

      April 17, 2017 at 11:15 AM

      What about using a saline bottle top… Ones used for contacts? That would limit the amount that dribbles out, and you could have more control. Just a thought.

  • Ann Lee

    February 21, 2016 at 5:18 PM

    Did you use water based markers like Crayola brand?

    1. Allison Murray

      February 21, 2016 at 6:15 PM

      As long as they aren’t ‘washable’ I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

  • Fern Marie

    February 22, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Thank you so much for this great idea! I have a professional 100 piece marker set, and half are almost completely dried out. I had been dropping alcohol on the points when I used them, but now I have a money-saving way to use the ink left in them. I have learned a lesson over the years: Artists should never throw any mediums away. Someone will eventually come up with a great idea for using them in a new way. ?

  • Cynthia Clayworth

    February 23, 2016 at 5:59 AM

    I was really happy when I ran across your tutorial! I work with polymer clay and loved the AI effect. I also belong to a group that works with AI on face book. Just wanted to tell you I ran across those little bottles at the Dollar Tree – there were 2 of those bottles and one pump bottle per package for a dollar. I bought 3 packages giving me 6 of the bottles I need for only $3! I wish I’d gotten my markers at Walmart. Instead I was at Michael’s and they only have a million different kinds of markers. I’ll just get some more. Got some that look like they might be pastel but that’s okay. I’ve opened 4 markers (have to get more alcohol – I was low anyway) by squeezing the markers just below the point until it’s almost flat (these are a very bendable plastic). Then I cut with wire snipers from my husband’s toolbox. I pulled the color thing out with tweezers, held it with the tweezers and made a slit with my Exact-o-blade. Since either my markers were smaller or the bottles bigger but I was able to put them all the way in the bottle, put the tops on and lay it on it’s side to get all the ink out. Anyway, just wanted to share. Thanks again for the tut!

  • Maria

    February 27, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    This is an interesting tutorial and please don’t think me stupid but what projects can you use alcohol inks for?

    1. Allison Murray

      February 28, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      No! You’re not stupid at all! I had a blog for YEARS and I crafted daily before I ever messed with them myself! Here are a few projects I have made: acrylic bangles, to dye resin (also to make bangles :)), to make a gorgeous tray and coasters! I hear paper crafters use them, too :)

  • marilyn needham

    February 29, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    What a good idea,( who would have thunk it—(thought it?) what sort of alcohol do you use, and would you be able to stamp with it if you put some of it on a sponge? Cheers and thankyou, Marilyn.xx.

    1. Allison Murray

      February 29, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Yes! You should be able to stamp with it. That could be quite lovely, I’m sure! I used 91% Isopropyl Alcohol I got from the first aid section of the grocery store!

  • Renee V.

    March 2, 2016 at 1:07 AM

    Love this idea, thanks for the great tutorial. Pinning now :)

  • Clemencia

    March 3, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    thank you so much for the tutorial, I love to re purpose things specially if it has to do with art, but now I am curious… what do you use alcohol inks for?

    1. Allison Murray

      March 4, 2016 at 7:43 AM

      Here are a few projects I have made: acrylic bangles, to dye resin (also to make bangles :)), to make a gorgeous tray and coasters! I hear paper crafters use them, too :)

  • Aiesha

    March 6, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    Hi, just wondering whether you can use food coloring instead of markers? Seems a bit easier, not sure if effective.

    1. Allison Murray

      March 7, 2016 at 7:49 AM

      I haven’t tried food coloring, if you do let me know how it goes? If I do I’ll post the results here!

    2. Lori

      February 23, 2017 at 8:42 PM

      Hi..Great tutorial…I tried it…But…The alcohol smell was so strong…Did I do something wrong??

      1. Allison Murray

        February 24, 2017 at 1:09 PM

        Unfortunately the alcohol ink is very strong.

  • Deb

    March 8, 2016 at 9:20 PM

    To make less mess when pulling out the ink from the bottles I use twizers.

  • Kat

    April 14, 2016 at 12:32 AM

    Thanks for the wonderful money saving ideas. Is it just rubbing alcohol that you use??

    1. Allison Murray

      April 14, 2016 at 7:39 AM

      Yes, grab some rubbing alcohol from the first aid kit and you’re set!

  • Anna

    April 15, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    Thanks for the great tip!
    For less mess I just thread the top of the ink barrel with thread and then I use the thread to pull the ink barrel out of the bottle.

  • Eunice

    April 17, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    Can this ink be use to write on paper? My daughter needs to make a pen for a project at school.

    1. Allison Murray

      April 17, 2016 at 3:19 PM

      If you make the ink highly concentrated I would think you could. As it stands what I have is very thin and I think that might be an issue for leaking. They do sell ink that she could put into a pen and India Ink might be the way to go with that if she wants a pretty color.

  • Loretta

    June 25, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Can you use the homemade ink on glass beads? I have seen it done with the commercial ink, but that is too expensive to use with kids at camp.

    1. Allison Murray

      June 25, 2016 at 2:11 PM

      My ink does well on paper but not as well on hard surfaces as a commercial ink.

  • Christy Leonard

    September 2, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    I have an issue with the ink not drying well. I am using them on ceramic tiles and after the alcohol evaporates the ink is still wet and doesn’t completely dry. Any advice?

    1. Allison Murray

      September 5, 2016 at 8:37 AM

      It sounds like it is an issue with the original ink source. What brand/kind did you use? Perhaps a change to a different brand would yield different results? So far I’ve only really used my homemade versions on paper as I can’t seem to get saturation I’m happy with for other mediums…


    October 6, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    Great tutorial!!! I have artist’s markers that have dried out and now I can use them BUT I would like to use the Al inks made here on wine glasses. …..I have a few questions….will this ink work on glass?
    How long does it take to dry?
    Will it be permanent enough not to smear off with hand-washing only of these wineglasses?
    Would vinegar help the inks to dry better??
    Should I use a fixative by Krylon to protect my work??
    Sorry for the numerous questions…..BUT I loved your commentary and the tutorial how-to!!!

    1. Allison Murray

      October 9, 2016 at 10:50 AM

      Definitely use a fixative to protect your work. These tend to not be as saturated as store-bought inks. On something transparent, like glass, I think I’d go with store-bought for a more vibrant look. If sealed and hand washed with care your work should last a long time!

  • Joni

    November 2, 2016 at 7:36 AM

    I have been using AI for about a year I have made lots of coasters and then I started on YUPO paper, but it’s expensive. I now use the reverse side of glossy photo paper and it has worked great. You can use the glossy side, but it doesn’t give the same effect. I prep the reverse with 91% alcohol and then add the inks and more alcohol. Just a preference. I love AI and like you, I want to try a less expensive alternative. Thanks for the TUT.

  • Carlie Arntsen

    November 2, 2016 at 10:54 PM

    You’re my kind of creative artist plus you’re willing to share! If I had a nickel for every marker I’ve thrown away I could take a vacation. Thanks again for your blog.

  • Toni

    December 11, 2016 at 11:01 PM

    Do you have to remove the ink cartridges from the bottle or could you leave them in the bottle to continue to darken the color?

    1. Allison Murray

      December 12, 2016 at 8:30 AM

      You know I think you could probably leave them if you want to. The cartridge’s nature is to stay moist so it will suck up the liquid. When you get to the end you’ll still have some in that cartridge.

  • Nina

    February 22, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Question can these be used on metal?
    I know the ones bought in the stores can be. Thanks

    1. Allison Murray

      February 23, 2017 at 8:15 AM

      Hi, Nina! My homemade alcohol inks aren’t quite as potent as the ones bought in stores. I think that for the maximum vibrancy on metal crafts I’d probably stick with name brand.

  • Tanya

    February 28, 2017 at 10:29 PM

    Thank you for sharing ❤

  • Michael

    March 2, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    RIT, PAASCHE dyes? Very cheap just after Easter egg rush at Dollar General, Family Dollar, Walgreens, CVS…

  • Julia

    March 4, 2017 at 6:43 PM

    Can tube water colors be used to make the alcohol ink? Just curious, I have many tubes of watercolors and would like to try this. Thanks

    1. Allison Murray

      March 5, 2017 at 1:32 PM

      I think that the paint would leave behind a sediment in the inks but perhaps if you strained them it could work. If you have a tube that you don’t mind wasting, if it comes to it, you might give it a shot as an experiment. My gut instinct is that it wouldn’t work well but I have been very wrong before :)

      1. Julia

        March 5, 2017 at 10:42 PM

        I am just going to have to try this and see what happens. I love experimenting with paints. Thanks for the info.. I just have to try alcohol ink. It looks amazing.

  • Anna Nguyen

    April 14, 2017 at 12:48 AM

    Hi, I made the alcohol ink and some of my colors had little thingys (grains I guess, but really really really small) And I squirted the ink onto paper and it had blotches in it. Is there any way I can remedy that?

    1. Allison Murray

      April 14, 2017 at 10:07 AM

      You can always filter them with a coffee filter. Works great!

  • Jeanine

    June 20, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    Hey Allison!! As soon as I saw this post I ordered your book! AMAZING! Although I need more time to go through it! Also,Mthank you cuz I ordered the heat responsive pigment powders from. Solar thing lol too! So many thanks!

  • Lee-Ann Blake

    August 6, 2017 at 5:52 PM

    Hey Allison. Just wanted to say such a big thank you. My name is Lee-Ann I live in New Zealand. Trying to find alcohol inks here is just impossible. So being able to make my own is just great. So again thank you. My husband and my daughter are very happy to as they are so over hearing me moan and whinge about not being able to find it. Cheers all the way from New Zealand. ??????

  • Sherri

    December 3, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    Hi Allison. I love this idea. I want to try this on the bottom of wine glass and their stems. Will this ink work on that. Also can you dishwasher with this homemade alcohol inks or hand wash only.

    1. Allison Murray

      December 5, 2017 at 5:03 PM

      To be honest this works best on paper and is more faint than store-bought sets. I’d strongly suggest buying the colors you’d like for significantly more vibrancy. Also, you’ll need to seal them, dishwasher safe Mod Podge works well but, despite the name, does best with hand-washing for longevity :)

  • Traci

    January 18, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    Does the marker need to be dry before doing this process? Or can you use the marker as it comes right out of the box? Thanks.

    1. Allison Murray

      January 22, 2018 at 9:06 AM

      The colors will be a bit stronger straight out of the box!

  • Amy

    January 18, 2018 at 10:19 PM

    How about using sharpies or other permanent markers? Would they work?

    1. Allison Murray

      January 22, 2018 at 9:07 AM

      Permanent markers will actually work better than these. You’ll get better colors in the end.

    2. Donna Khoury

      March 4, 2018 at 3:26 PM

      Dollar Tree has permanent ink markers similar to Sharpies. They have several colors and they’re either 8 or 6 for a dollar

      1. Allison Murray

        March 7, 2018 at 2:52 PM

        Boom! Look at you. Thanks for the tip!

        1. Ruth

          May 31, 2018 at 11:43 AM

          I use bingo dobbers the same way, lots of ink, try it

          1. Allison Murray

            June 1, 2018 at 6:00 PM

            That’s genius. There is definitely a ton of in those things! Thanks :)

  • Kelly Gibbons

    January 22, 2018 at 10:07 PM

    Found this post earlier this evening. I needed colors fast but had no rubbing alcohol in the house so I used Tito’s Vodka! It worked great-my husband is appalled that I’d want to use it for such a thing instead of drinking it-but it did the crafting trick! Thank you so much for this post!

    1. Joann

      January 28, 2018 at 7:02 AM

      That what I call alchol abuse! But awesome make do idea.

  • Stephanie Lovallo

    February 4, 2018 at 5:57 AM

    Thank you I ran out of green and my local Michaels has no alcohol ink at all This is perfect I have lots of markers ??

  • Christine

    February 6, 2018 at 9:32 AM

    I’ve been doing my own as well. I found Amazon had the same droppers that Tim Holtz does, big bag of 50 to 100 for not much. I’m trying to get more saturated color, and noticed that Adirondack alcohol inks have propylene glycol, which can also be purchased through Amazon. I’m gonna doing some testing and see if color improves. I also tried Rit liquid dye and didn’t love the color, but hey, pastels do come in handy at times. Love your suggestions, and thanks!

    1. Rebecca

      February 12, 2018 at 3:51 AM

      Hey can you use the ink from printer ink cartridge? I have a bunch left over after buying a new printer. Going to try it

      1. Allison Murray

        March 7, 2018 at 3:01 PM

        Hmm. This is an interesting idea and if it’s a liquid like ink jet rather than powdered toner I’d think it would work just fine… Let us know if you try!

  • Sejal

    March 26, 2018 at 6:23 AM

    Hey just wondering that can we use vinegar instead of alcohol …plz reply

    1. Allison Murray

      March 26, 2018 at 11:58 AM

      I’m sorry but, no. Alcohol inks work because of how quickly the alcohol evaporates. Best of luck!

  • Sergey

    May 6, 2018 at 7:28 PM

    Do whiteboard/expo-markers work?

    1. Allison Murray

      May 8, 2018 at 10:59 AM

      I think probably not. You know when you wipe away dry erase marker from a board it leaves sort of “stuff” that’s like sort of gritty and kind of moist behind that balls up? I’m thinking whatever additive that does that so you can wipe the ink away would probably gum up the works. But if you have some on hand to try, let me know how the experiment turns out?

  • Pam

    May 9, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    Does the alcohol need to be a certain percentage or will and percent work?

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2018 at 9:53 AM

      The higher the alcohol content the better your results. I tend to go with 91% because I can pick that up at the grocery store, but they sell even stronger rubbing alcohols online.

  • Shirley McLaughlin

    May 9, 2018 at 7:04 PM

    Does it matter what percent alcohol is used?

    1. Allison Murray

      May 14, 2018 at 9:52 AM

      The higher the alcohol content the better your results. I tend to go with 91% because I can pick that up at the grocery store, but they sell even stronger rubbing alcohols online.

  • Kate Greenway

    May 13, 2018 at 1:12 PM

    GENIUS!!!! I am going to try this! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • Sharon

    August 13, 2018 at 3:03 PM

    I am loving this!I’m a 1st time user w/AI &so didn’t want to pay the price for them? I’m going to have all my family & friends save their markers *permanent 1s* for me I just wish I had some alcohol right now. Thank you for sharing this?

  • Loretta

    September 16, 2018 at 8:00 PM


  • Jude

    September 19, 2018 at 7:05 PM

    wow what a brilliant idea for using up the grandchildren’s sharpies I have a lot of grandchildren and a lot of sharpies that somehow the lids are not on, cause they must of fallen off nana, now I wont mind as much as I can make inks with them
    Thank you for the tutorial

  • Meredith Connor

    September 27, 2018 at 8:16 AM

    Could you use ink pads used from stamping?

    1. Allison Murray

      September 29, 2018 at 5:55 PM

      I don’t see why not. Let us know how it works for you?

  • Andrea Martin

    February 17, 2019 at 6:48 PM

    Thank you for sharing this idea. I think I’m going to try it in some capacity; you know how creative minds work. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • Laryn A Tapp

    May 20, 2019 at 10:22 PM

    Now that the smelling salts have revived me after seeing the prices for alcohol ink….!! I do acrylic pouring and saw a video where the lady used alcohol inks dropped on her base coat of white acrylic paint….add a drop of alcohol and silicone and watch the fractals develop….so cool!! Have you any experience on doing this on canvas with a wet paint surface?

    1. Allison Murray

      May 24, 2019 at 7:49 PM

      I do not but that sounds AMAZING!

  • Tina

    May 22, 2019 at 4:30 AM

    I’ve been crafting about 2 years. And like you, I cant sit still.Ive got my hands in so many projects. Too many. How do you keep up with your mind? Lol.I want to try every diy there is,it seems.Thanks for the tips on how to make your own. Craft supplies can sometimes be overpriced so anytime I can make my own that’s another diy. Does it ever end? Lol.Again,thanks. And happy crafting

  • Donna

    February 10, 2020 at 4:51 PM

    so i watched what you did but if I want the ink darker or just more depth of color, do i keep the colored alcohol liquid and just put in another ink cartridge thingie? Seems like that would be the case, but i’m just finding out about this fun craft and want to try my hand at it. THANK YOU! :-)

    1. Allison Murray

      February 10, 2020 at 7:34 PM

      Yes! Adding more of the ink will make them darker/more saturated! You’re welcome :)

  • Gail

    February 18, 2020 at 10:40 AM

    What is the purpose of making it yourself. Is it better or cheaper?

    1. Allison Murray

      February 19, 2020 at 9:31 AM

      I would say store bought alcohol inks are better but making them yourself is insanely cheaper. If you’re crafting on a budget or if you’re wanting to play around with alcohol inks I’d say make them yourself.

  • Karen

    March 11, 2020 at 4:26 AM

    I made my inks with sharpies. I had also purchased sharpies matalics, don’t try to make alcohol ink with then, it turns into I gloppy mess. The ink does not dissolve in the alcohol. If you want matalics in your project you have to spring for the professional manufactured inks. Also to get more ink out of the ink tube, after soaking in alcohol I used tape to secure to a straw (boba size) and put about 1/2 tsp alcohol in the straw and blew it through the ink wadding.

    1. Allison Murray

      March 12, 2020 at 6:48 PM

      I have lots of boba straws, that’s brilliant! Yes, I also thought I could get some amazing metallic inks using gold Sharpies but mine was a weird blackish with like a gold oil floating on top. Very odd!

  • Stacy

    March 15, 2020 at 1:48 PM

    Thank you so much for these instructions.
    I have an Epson laser jet printer and although the printer said I was out of ink, being the skeptic I had to check and I wasn’t. I had approximately 3/4 of an ounce of ink left so I diluted it in a 2 ounce bottle with 91% to get the color I wanted. With it being so saturated the 2 ounce was a definite necessity.
    Thanks to you I can now create colors With my sharpies that I can’t seem to find or they come in a three pack with one color I want and two colors I don’t at the craft stores.

    Keep up the wonderful ideas. Thank you very much

  • Gregory

    March 17, 2020 at 1:33 PM

    Great ideas. I love this diy. Saves me a hell of a lot of money.and. I can make custom colors by blending the inks thank you very much

  • Rev W

    March 23, 2020 at 2:58 AM

    When something affects the supply of rubbing alcohol the liquor store has Everclear or a similar brand of grain alcohol that is 95% . I prefer it to rubbing alcohol & denatured alcohol which are toxic ; grain alcohol isn’t other, than it’s *alcohol*.

  • Maribel Ayala

    April 4, 2020 at 9:10 AM

    What about white alcohol ink? Its hard to find white markers, what would you use?

    1. Allison Murray

      April 6, 2020 at 9:09 AM

      I’ve not had any luck with making white alcohol ink. I have no idea what the secret it is but I’ve had to purchase white and metallic inks because I just can’t figure them out!

  • Shannon Finn

    April 6, 2020 at 12:20 AM

    Fabulous tutorial. I subscribed to your newsletter as well. I am so looking forward to making these. All the Ranger products are crazy expensive. This will be a great project to do while sequestered at home. Check out Lindsay the Frugal Crafter for more ideas.
    You are very kind to share this! Stay safe.

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