How to Use Alcohol Ink on Glass

Updated on November 21, 2017
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I've worked with alcohol ink to create unique DIY projects, from metal necklaces to glass candleholders!


Decorating Glass With Alcohol Ink

Decorating glass with alcohol inks is easy and yields beautiful results. I've worked with them to decorate cards and wanted to try using them on glass. I saw this fun project on Pinterest, had the materials on hand, and made sure to try it. 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 | Source

What is Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol inks are solid-based dyes that can be used on any nonporous surface. They works 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.

A few notes about using alcohol inks on glass:

  • 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 | Source

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.

Alcohol Ink Designs on Glass
Alcohol Ink Designs on Glass | Source

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 offers 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 the bright, cheerful colors, and my mom loves the 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.


Using Alcohol Ink on Other Surfaces

Tim Holtz demonstrates the spatter technique on glossy paper. You can see this method below, which is what I used for this project. It also works well for metal surfaces!

Do You Like the Look of Alcohol Inks?

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    • profile image

      pam 7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Bat 2 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      These certainly have the 'wow' factor!

    • BetsiGoutal1 profile image

      BetsiGoutal1 4 years ago

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

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 5 years ago

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

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 5 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

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

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

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

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

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

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

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

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 5 years ago from US

      Love the look! Very unique.

    • RGrieco profile image

      RGrieco 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      pamlen 5 years ago

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

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      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 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

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

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 5 years ago

      Very artistic ideas. It's colorful, too.

    • encouragingwords profile image

      encouragingwords 5 years ago

      Great ideas; so many crafts, so little time!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Love it! Better than I expected.

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      I may just have to try this for Christmas presents

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is amazing. i like it:D

    • sarasentor lm profile image

      sarasentor lm 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      PebblesBedrock 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      Caromite 5 years ago

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

    • mikes-cool-stuff profile image

      mikes-cool-stuff 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      So beautiful!

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      @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 :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

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

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

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

    • CameronPoe profile image

      CameronPoe 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

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

    • CyberTech LM profile image

      CyberTech LM 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      seemarahate 5 years ago

      I agree with both points.thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      prairierprincess 5 years ago

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

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

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

    • belle88 profile image

      belle88 5 years ago

      i have newer seen it, so good information :D

    • peggygallyot profile image

      peggygallyot 5 years ago

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

      I didn't know this existed, very cool!

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 5 years ago from USA

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

    • profile image

      kmyangel 5 years ago

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

    • Lindasc333 LM profile image

      Lindasc333 LM 5 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      katieross 5 years ago

      These look awesome!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very pretty, thnks for making this informational lens!

    • Nimsrules LM profile image

      Nirmal Shah 5 years ago from India

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

    • Lucky621 LM profile image

      Lucky621 LM 5 years ago

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

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Excellent lens - pinned too!

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Excellent lens - pinned too!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting. First time I have seen this.

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

      SquidAngel Blessings for a fun and interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice medium for a craft project.

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 5 years ago from CNY

      Congrats on the feature.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      Very cool designs! Blessed

    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 5 years ago

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

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      I really like the designs. What a great idea!

    • hotbrain profile image

      hotbrain 5 years ago from Tacoma, WA

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

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 5 years ago

      It is beautiful!

      Congrats on your homepage feature!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

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

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

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

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      These are so pretty. I love the colors!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 5 years ago from West Virginia

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

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

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

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      @purpleslug: Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      purpleslug 5 years ago

      I do like the look! They are very pretty.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thank You!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      These are really beautiful.

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

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

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

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

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

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

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      @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 profile image

      bensen32 lm 5 years ago

      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.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

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

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 5 years ago

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

    • jballs6 profile image

      jballs6 5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good technique!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very good technique!!!

    • jholland profile image

      jholland 5 years ago

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

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      What a fun and easy technique. Thanks for sharing.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

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

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      Yes, they are very pretty.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      @JoshK47: Thanks for the Blessing Josh!!!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      These are so cool! Thanks for sharing - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      These alcohol inks are just beautiful - and it sounds like a great craft for the craft-impaired people like me!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      Lovely, looks like a wonderful, fun, outdoor craft idea for my kids this summer.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      What a lovely idea!