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How to Use Alcohol Ink on Glass

I've worked with alcohol ink to create unique DIY projects, from metal necklaces to glass candleholders!

Alcohol Ink design on glass

Alcohol Ink design on glass

Decorating Glass With Alcohol Ink

Decorating glass with alcohol inks is easy and yields beautiful results. I've worked with alcohol ink to decorate cards and wanted to try using it on glass. After being inspired by Pinterest and realizing I had the materials on hand, I jumped right in. The process was pretty simple, and the results were stunning!

My mom, aunt, sister-in-law, and I get together for a girly day every other month. This was my project for April, and it was a big hit!

Basic alcohol ink materials

Basic alcohol ink materials

What Is Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol inks are solid-based dyes that can be used on any nonporous surface. They work well on glassware, ceramics, metal, tin, plastic, and glossy paper. Wood or regular card stock paper won't work well because their surfaces are porous. The product comes in a bottle with a dropper-type dispenser, which makes it easy to use. Do note that it dries very quickly, so you'll need to work quickly to create your design.


  • Before starting your project, clean the glass surface and remove any labels using a mild dishwashing detergent. Let it dry completely before beginning the DIY to get the cleanest look.
  • Alcohol ink stains! The good news is that it wears off pretty quickly. You can wear rubber gloves to prevent this, but I find it difficult to grip the glass when doing so.
  • Don't worry about mistakes. You can clean them up with regular rubbing alcohol from the drugstore.
  • Do not use this on glassware that will touch food or beverages. It should only be used for decorative purposes.
  • The combination of alcohol ink and compressed air creates a lot of fumes! Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when indoors or outside (when the weather is nice.
  • Smooth glass containers work best for the spatter technique. If you want to use cut or embossed glass, it'd be best to look into other methods.

The Spatter Technique

Alcohol ink can be used in a variety of ways to achieve unique effects. For the spatter technique, you will need the following supplies.


  • Glassware
  • Canned compressed air with a straw
  • Alcohol Ink
  • Rubbing alcohol

That's all you need! Now let's begin decorating.


  1. Squeeze out a few drops of the ink onto the glass. Three drops usually cover a good area.
  2. Quickly spray the ink with compressed air to create a spatter pattern. It is very important to use the straw so you can aim the air exactly where you want it. You can experiment with the angles to get different results, and the colors will blend and create new colors as they run together.
  3. The ink dries very quickly, so it's not a bad idea to work with a friend! In the photo below, my aunt and sister-in-law are working together because it was very windy outside. One held the vase and dropped the ink, and the other sprayed the compressed air.
  4. When you're finished with the design, seal the glass with at least two coats of clear acrylic sealer. Spray thin coats so it doesn't run or drip on the project. Make sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area. Depending on what finish you want, Rustoleum and Krylon offer sealants in matte, satin, and glossy finishes.
Work together to apply alcohol ink

Work together to apply alcohol ink

DIY Glass Project Ideas

Using alcohol ink on thrift store finds is a rewarding hobby, and this project is quick and inexpensive to make! I rescued these brandy snifters from a secondhand store for a whopping 10 cents each. Imagine all of the vases, pottery, and glassware you can buy at a great price to make these!

The dollar store also offers a great variety of glassware. When I checked, they had four votive styles, three vase designs, and clear dinner plates. Since alcohol ink should not be used on items you use to eat, you can decorate the back of the plate, seal it, and use it to display cakes or cookies.

Where Can You Buy Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol ink is readily available at most craft stores. If you don't feel like venturing outside, eBay and Amazon offer a wide variety of colors at good prices. After playing with them on glass for a few weeks, my daughter and I decided we needed more options and we ordered nine new colors from eBay to add to our collection. I prefer bright, cheerful colors, and my mom loves fall, earthy tones.

The colors used on these candleholders are Lettuce, Wild Plum, and Stream. They are wonderful summer colors, but I can't wait to try gold, orange, and dark green! The bottles aren't very big, but they go a long way.

The Enchanted Gallery has a useful color chart that shows all of the colors available, unique color combinations, and the results of using alcohol ink on different items.

Do You Like the Look of Alcohol Inks?

Daphane on July 25, 2020:

Love the idea and looks of alcohol ink. I am ready to get started

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 04, 2020:

This is a technique I've been wanting to try but needed your article to help me get started. So, a big thanks for sharing this!

Cindy Ceroky on October 29, 2019:

If applied on a window pane, can you remove it with alcohol and a rag?

Rasma on January 19, 2019:

I am just starting out using Alcohol Inks. Are there any particular colours, techniques or stamps I should start out with? Does the Archival Ink work on plain glass alone?

Dxie on June 12, 2018:

Just starting, love the look.

astrit maria luz on April 03, 2018:

please how you protect the work ? because the water removes the color from glass

pam on July 22, 2017:

How do you seal the ink, I tried mod podge and it smears the ink

Bat on December 19, 2015:

I sprayed over an alcohol ink wine glass design with clear krypton satin spray. It totally melted the ink and ruined the design. What did I do wrong?

anonymous on June 06, 2013:

I painted with Tim Holtz adirondack alcohol inks on glass without a sealer, and now that they're drying, it has a somewhat sticky texture. Is this going to be how they permanently feel or will this go away after more drying time?

NibsyNell on March 07, 2013:

These certainly have the 'wow' factor!

BetsiGoutal1 on March 03, 2013:

Fantastic lens! Love all these great inspirational photos. Thanks for sharing. :)

Carpenter76 on February 22, 2013:

That caught my eye! Would be nice to try this in my class!

Thamisgith on January 12, 2013:

Love the glasses that you got at the thrift shop. A "before" and "after" photo would be great to see!

Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on January 11, 2013:

I love the look of the alcohol inks on glass! I'm looking forward to trying this one day. Thanks so much!

marsha32 on January 11, 2013:

It looks like lots of fun and it sure is pretty too.

Michey LM on December 23, 2012:

Very good info about alcohol inks. Great technique, well explain. Blessings!

irenemaria from Sweden on November 30, 2012:

this is a very good personal gift! And while you make it, you too have fun! Thanks a lot for this lens.

anonymous on November 29, 2012:

i didn't know you can make art with alcohol!!!

KimGiancaterino on November 20, 2012:

I sure do and this is my first exposure to alcohol inks. I'll have to try this technique on wine bottle votive covers.

Vikki from US on November 15, 2012:

Love the look! Very unique.

RGrieco on November 15, 2012:

What a lovely idea, must try it, did not even know or even heard of alcohol inks before,

pamlen on October 09, 2012:

These are such beautiful crafts, I'd probably try this one.t

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on September 04, 2012:

I do indeed. I did not know what alcohol inks were before reading your lens. Now I realize that I have probably seen examples of their effects hundreds if not thousands of times.


dahlia369 on August 16, 2012:

I am a big fan of anything made of glass - and this painting on glass with alcohol inks seems like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing your great idea!! :)

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on August 12, 2012:

Very nice...not heard of alcohol ink before!

pinkrenegade lm on August 12, 2012:

Very artistic ideas. It's colorful, too.

encouragingwords on August 10, 2012:

Great ideas; so many crafts, so little time!

anonymous on August 09, 2012:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love the video! :)

Doc_Holliday on August 07, 2012:

What a novel idea. Good to see alcohol being put to good use.

julieannbrady on July 21, 2012:

Love it! Better than I expected.

lclchors on July 20, 2012:

I may just have to try this for Christmas presents

anonymous on July 06, 2012:

This is amazing. i like it:D

sarasentor lm on July 05, 2012:

I am enjoyed to read your awesome lens, you made lens different from other lens masters. I appreciate you for making such a great lens.

PebblesBedrock on June 29, 2012:

Absolutely beautiful. Love the effect of alcohol ink on glass. Never heard of it before but after reading your lens, I think I will give it a go. Thank you so much for providing the information. Looks like the possibilities are endless.

Caromite on June 24, 2012:

I love your candle holder glass - it's so colorful and it makes me happy^^

mikes-cool-stuff on June 19, 2012:

These inks really make the glasses look great. Great info. Also thanks for liking one of my lenses.

Terrie_Schultz on June 08, 2012:

So beautiful!

psiloveyou1 (author) on June 06, 2012:

@anonymous: I haven't had them outside for a long period of time. I would make sure to get a sealer that is for use outside and waterproof. It may have to be sprayed every few months, but I think it would hold up. Thanks for stopping by :)

anonymous on June 06, 2012:

Beautiful! Any idea how the ink holds up on outdoor items? I'm thinking about using the technique on the clear panes of an old window to imitate "stained glass." And then hang the window in the garden where the sun can shine through. It would have to stand up to rain and heat. Thoughts?

Spiderlily321 on June 05, 2012:

These are really cool. I would love to try doing this some time. Thanks for sharing!

Spiderlily321 on June 05, 2012:

These are really cool. I would love to try doing this some time. Thanks for sharing!

CameronPoe on June 03, 2012:

I think that using alcohol ink is a great technic for decorating glass.

anonymous on June 03, 2012:

Very pretty! I would love to do a project with alcohol ink! :)

CyberTech LM on June 02, 2012:

I think I just found a NEW Hobby!!!! This looks like fun, what is the biggest sheet of paper can one get? I would Love to make one 3 foot square for my wall!!

AgingIntoDisabi on June 02, 2012:

Yes, looks lovely. Had no idea alcohol could do this.

seemarahate on June 01, 2012:

I agree with both points.thanks for sharing

prairierprincess on June 01, 2012:

These are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing such a great idea.

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on June 01, 2012:

It's new to me but it looks like loads of fun Nice lens :>)

belle88 on June 01, 2012:

i have newer seen it, so good information :D

peggygallyot on June 01, 2012:

I did not know there was such a thing as alcohol ink. Thank you for this information.

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 31, 2012:

@Lindasc333 LM: They're beautiful outside when the sun is shining on them during the day and with candles at night.

KarenCookieJar on May 31, 2012:

I didn't know this existed, very cool!

ryokomayuka from USA on May 31, 2012:

Pretty glasses. I love to do arts and crafts. Great ideas.

kmyangel on May 31, 2012:

yes the idea is great and seams easy too ! Thanks for sharing :)

Lindasc333 LM on May 31, 2012:

Great Lens. I have some old jars that used to hold candles. This would be a great way to update them, add a new candle and stick them on the patio.

katieross on May 30, 2012:

These look awesome!

anonymous on May 30, 2012:

Very pretty, thnks for making this informational lens!

Nimsrules LM on May 30, 2012:

Amazing creativity. I'm definitely gonna try this art. Thanks for sharing.

Lucky621 LM on May 30, 2012:

Those glasses are gorgeous!! I'm going to have to try this. Thanks!

UKGhostwriter on May 29, 2012:

Excellent lens - pinned too!

UKGhostwriter on May 29, 2012:

Excellent lens - pinned too!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 29, 2012:

Interesting. First time I have seen this.

Stephen Bush from Ohio on May 29, 2012:

SquidAngel Blessings for a fun and interesting lens.

anonymous on May 29, 2012:

Very nice medium for a craft project.

Dan from CNY on May 29, 2012:

Congrats on the feature.

Close2Art LM on May 29, 2012:

Very cool designs! Blessed

Sniff It Out on May 29, 2012:

They look really good, so colourful, and it's great that you managed to get the brandy snifters cheaply.

SquidooPower on May 28, 2012:

This is very interesting, thanks. Been looking for a way to decorate old bottles I fond floating in the ocean and this gives me some ideas.

gatornic15 on May 28, 2012:

I really like the designs. What a great idea!

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on May 28, 2012:

Congrats on making it to the homepage... Your glasses look so pretty! Very nice alcohol ink crafts!

SoniaCarew on May 28, 2012:

It is beautiful!

Congrats on your homepage feature!

intermarks on May 28, 2012:

This is something new to me, it can really gives a beautiful color especially on glass. Thanks!

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on May 27, 2012:

These are so pretty! Going to bookmark this as I love Adirondack Inks. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Lynda Makara from California on May 27, 2012:

These are so pretty. I love the colors!

CherylsArt on May 27, 2012:

Wow, your designs are lovely, I love the bright colors.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on May 27, 2012:

These are beautiful colors. I need to find something I can use alcohol inks on --this looks interesting. Thanks.

randomthings lm on May 27, 2012:

This is so cool. I have never heard of alcohol inks before, and the inks on glass is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 27, 2012:

@anonymous: Thanks Tipi, things on Squidoo are starting to come together :)

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 27, 2012:

@purpleslug: Thanks for stopping by!

anonymous on May 27, 2012:

I've never used alcohol ink but sure want to give it a try now, what a low cost and wonderful way to create beauty, congratulations on front page honors...and epic day for you!

purpleslug on May 27, 2012:

I do like the look! They are very pretty.

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 25, 2012:

@sharonbellis: With the exception of the mess, it's pretty easy :)

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 25, 2012:

@WriterJanis2: Thank You!

WriterJanis2 on May 24, 2012:

These are really beautiful.

Sharon Bellissimo from Toronto, Canada on May 24, 2012:

Wow, beautiful designs and a nice lens with easy to follow instructions.

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 22, 2012:

@VeseliDan: Thanks for the blessing :) It made my morning.

VeseliDan on May 21, 2012:

I really like these designs! Thank you for sharing them with us! *blessed*

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 21, 2012:

@kristalulabelle: Fun and messy! Thanks for visiting :)

Kristen from Wisconsin on May 21, 2012:

This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

psiloveyou1 (author) on May 21, 2012:

@bensen32 lm: It does look like tie dye. We have been experimenting with a new technique that I will have to post soon. Thanks for stopping by.

bensen32 lm on May 12, 2012:

never heard of this before....thanks for the idea going to look into it. I dye tye and this looks like it could be as much fun.

Little Linda Pinda from Florida on May 11, 2012:

Really pretty. It has a stained glass look which I love. Thank you for sharing this new to me artistic technique.

anonymous on May 06, 2012:

I'm Going to let Shawn try this. He wants to sell plants in containers we find at the millions of thrift stores down here so this may be something he can try also :) Thanks so much for sharing it!

JZinoBodyArt on May 04, 2012:

Great craft idea! I will have to try this! If I do, I will totally send you pics. Very cool lens. :)

jballs6 on May 03, 2012:

Several years ago I used to decorate objects for around the home, reading your page has inspired me to take it up again thanks. Great ideas

anonymous on May 02, 2012:

Very good technique!!!

anonymous on May 02, 2012:

Very good technique!!!

jholland on April 28, 2012:

So cool! I had never heard of using them this way.

MelonyVaughan on April 28, 2012:

What a fun and easy technique. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on April 27, 2012:

These are very cool! I bet with a candle glowing inside these are even prettier!