How to Make Alcohol Inks

Updated on November 6, 2017
NicholeRLovi profile image

I am a mother and wife, I have an amazing husband and 5 beautiful kids. I am here to share m knowledge and experience on my large family.

What Are Alcohol Inks?

Alcohol inks are an acid-free, highly-pigmented, and fast-drying medium that can be used on non-porous surfaces. Mixing colors can create a vibrant marbled effect and the possibilities are only be limited by what you are willing to try.

How to Make Your Own Alcohol Ink

Supplies Needed

  1. 91% Alcohol
  2. Sharpie permanent markers (all different colors)
  3. Small clear disposable plastic cups
  4. Needle nose pliers
  5. Scissors
  6. Rubber gloves (lots)
  7. Plastic spray bottles (I get mine at Walmart for 97 cents)
  8. A small funnel
  9. Parchment paper
  10. X-acto knife
  11. Paper towels

X-ACTO Craft Tools #1 Knife With Safety Cap, Pink
X-ACTO Craft Tools #1 Knife With Safety Cap, Pink

This is the x-acto knife I have and it works great. and very comfortable to hold.



  1. Lay down parchment paper to protect any surfaces. Then, pour 2 oz. of alcohol into each plastic disposable cup.
  2. In one empty spray bottle, put only alcohol for cleaning up your supplies.
  3. Next, you're going to take apart one sharpie with your needle nose pliers. Inside will be a spongy tube that holds all the ink. Make sure you have gloves on — this gets messy!
  4. Using your scissors, cut the sharpie guts in half. Then, using your x-acto knife, cut the plastic over the sponge and open it up. Also, don't forget to pull out the tip of the sharpie (also called the nib).
  5. Once you have all the guts out of the sharpie and cut open, drop the sharpie guts into the plastic cup with the 91% alcohol. Let them sit in the alcohol for at least 2-3 hrs. I left mine overnight.
  6. Once the sharpie guts have sat for a few hours, you will put gloves on and remove the sharpie guts from the plastic cup. Make sure you squeeze out any liquid left in the sponge into the cup.
  7. The last step is to pour your ink into the spray bottles you got from Walmart using your small funnel. Mark your bottles with the color and you are all set.
  8. Then repeat steps 3-7 for each sharpie you have or each different color you want to make. Also, make sure you clean your funnel, x-acto knife, scissors and needle nose pliers between each sharpie. You don't want to mix the colors. To clean the tools you use just spray the alcohol on them and wipe with a paper towel. Also, remember to change your gloves with each color.
she has a great step by step video on how to make alcohol inks.
she has a great step by step video on how to make alcohol inks. | Source

Uses for Alcohol Inks

There are tons of uses for alcohol inks. I personally use mine for stainless steel tumblers, glass cups, and mason jars. I have seen them used for paintings, glass, jewelry, and coffee mugs. Basically, the sky is the limit. Give them a try and let me know how you like them.

How to Make Alcohol inks

Questions & Answers

  • How do you seal the tumblers that you’ve used the alcohol ink on?

    I use Alumilite Amazing clear cast (epoxy) once the alcohol has dried at least overnight.

  • I have made these and used them on ceramic tiles but they never dry. Even days later I still can wipe the ink off, any suggestions?

    Maybe rough up the surface somehow? I am not sure. When I do my tumblers, I spray paint them with a matte spray paint. It dries pretty fast that way. Then I put epoxy over that.

  • Can you use Coptic markers,or any other brand, or do they have to be Sharpies? Also, my alcohol is 99%; is that okay to use, or does it have to be 91% exactly?

    I am not sure about the markers, as I have only tried sharpies. I don’t see why they wouldn’t work. As for the alcohol, the 99% should work just the same. I used a 71% one time, and that worked too, it just took a lot longer to get the ink out and make the colors.

  • Can I use alcohol ink on a yardstick?

    I can't see why not. I have seen so many different uses for alcohol inks. I am curious to see if that works, so please keep me posted.


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    • profile image

      Carole Dastugue 

      3 months ago

      I bought some Indian inks which I just found out did not have alcohol, water based. Can I add alcohol to it. Wanted to use it on tumblers.

    • NicholeRLovi profile imageAUTHOR

      Nichole Thomas 

      3 months ago from Illinois

      I am pretty sure you can. My mother in law makes cards and uses them. Please try it out and let me know. I am sorry I can't tell you from personal experience.

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      Can you use alcohol inks on scrapbook paper ?

      Does it soak through paper?

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      Coptic markers already are alcohol markers...

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      Do you know how to make alcohol ink markers?

    • profile image

      Jan de Jong (from Holland !) 

      6 months ago

      Hello !

      I assume that the colours will disappear when you fire it in a kiln ?

      Thank you ! Jan

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Thank you for your simple explanation for making this ink....

      It was very easy to follow...

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      just curious if you couldn't just put the sharpie guts in the spray bottle with the alcohol and forego the plastic cup step? Might have to cut it in half to fit in the spray bottle but that step is in there anyway.

    • profile image

      Ginger Whalen 

      7 months ago

      Thank you for super easy tutorial! I can't wait to use this instead of my expensive inks for thread pulling cards. I was just at Michaels today looking for an inexpensive alternative and I have ALL this stuff, so yay me and again, Thank You!

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I can't wait to try this as an alternative to expensive inks, thank you.

    • profile image

      Trudii Janzen 

      8 months ago

      I have many colours of alcohol inks. I’ve also used eye shadow to make shimmer inks. Just having a problem with clogging the sprayer even though l try not to shake it but rather swirl it to get the sunken eye shadow to mix. I’ve also used pens in all kinds of colours. They are much stronger and more permanent. Also lve done acrylic paint with just water and works great! Way cheaper than buying them

    • NicholeRLovi profile imageAUTHOR

      Nichole Thomas 

      9 months ago from Illinois

      Frank, thank you so much for that advice! I will for sure be trying that!!

    • profile image

      Frank Novak 

      9 months ago

      To make the mix dry on ceramic tile, simply apply heat. Alcohol vaporizes in the presence of heat. "CAUTION, NO OPEN FLAMES!"

    • NicholeRLovi profile imageAUTHOR

      Nichole Thomas 

      10 months ago from Illinois

      Possibly? But I have never tried it. Plus you get a large amount of colors for a lot better price using sharpies. And you can make any color you could possibly want.

    • profile image

      Shelley Bain 

      10 months ago

      This is great - but wouldn't it be easier just to buy colored in and mix with the Alcohol?

    • NicholeRLovi profile imageAUTHOR

      Nichole Thomas 

      11 months ago from Illinois

      Sharon you are welcome! I made them and love them I have even used them my tumbler cups and then put epoxy over them.

    • profile image

      Sharon McSweeney 

      11 months ago

      Thank you so much for this fantastic idea!


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