How to Make Necklaces Using Alcohol Ink on Metal

Updated on February 23, 2018
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I've worked with alcohol ink to create unique DIY projects, from metal necklaces to glass candleholders!

Alcohol Ink Washer Necklace
Alcohol Ink Washer Necklace

Make Beautiful Jewelry With Alcohol Ink!

Using alcohol ink on metal is very easy, and I'm going to share a fun jewelry project using this technique. You only need a few supplies, which is nice.

Look at the picture closely. Can you tell what I used to make this work of art? You'll need to visit the hardware store. Yes, the hardware store! Oh, now I have you thinking. They are stainless steel washers. Metal washers are inexpensive and look great when covered in ink. It's fun to play with different color combinations, and I hope you enjoy trying this technique.

What Is Alcohol Ink?

Alcohol inks come in many beautiful colors: brights, pastels, classics, metallics, and pearl. They're mainly used on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, and glossy paper. I owned them for many years, but I had only used it on glossy paper to make greeting cards. I started researching and experimenting to come up with other projects I could do with them.

Alcohol inks typically come in packs of three coordinating colors. There are tons of color combinations to choose from. For this project, I prefer using bright colors. Once you learn how to use it on metal, you'll probably want to add more colors to your collection.

What You'll Need

  1. Alcohol Inks: You'll need a variety of colors for this project. I started with 12 colors, which I originally thought was plenty. I soon discovered it would be fun to add more pinks and blues, so I added nine new colors to my collection! The more colors, the more fun!
  2. Alcohol Ink Applicator and Cotton Pads: If you buy the applicator, you'll notice it has velcro on the bottom so that cotton pads can stick. You could also buy refills of the pads. The applicator is perfect for applying ink to metal washers or projects.
  3. Metal Washers: You'll need various sizes, but you do not need to buy expensive washers. Stainless steel ones work great and range in price from 10¢ to 45¢ each, depending on the size. When choosing sizes, remember to consider the weight. Some people do not care for heavy necklaces, and the larger washers can be a little heavy.
  4. Jewelry Cording/Clasped Cording: This comes in a variety of colors and materials. You can purchase it in a roll and cut it to the length you want and knot it. You can also purchase it with a clasp, which is what I chose because I like the finished look. I used a velvet cord, but it also comes in leather, suede, and nylon.
  5. Sealer: You will need to seal the alcohol ink with a sealer. Krylon and Rustoleum make spray acrylic sealers in a glossy finish, which looks nice and is easy to use. I suggest applying at least three light coats and waiting 15-20 minutes between coats. Another option is using a product like Crystal Effects to give the washers a high-gloss epoxy look.
  6. Rubbing Alcohol: You'll need rubbing alcohol to clean up any messes. It will also take the ink off your hands. Some people wear gloves, but I find it difficult to work while wearing gloves.

Alcohol ink can be messy, so wear old clothes and cover your work area before starting any projects. If you get somewhere you don't want it, clean it up with rubbing alcohol.

Adding Alcohol Ink to the Applicator
Adding Alcohol Ink to the Applicator

1. Add Alcohol Ink

Add dots of the alcohol inks to the cotton applicator. You do not have to squeeze the bottles very hard to get the ink to come out. It is very thin and will come out when you touch the tip of the bottle to the cotton. Add as many colors as you want.

Dab the Metal Washer With the Alcohol Ink Applicator
Dab the Metal Washer With the Alcohol Ink Applicator

2. Dab the Applicator

Dab the applicator to the metal washer in a random pattern. You'll see the colors begin to blend. Each time you dab, you will see a new pattern form. Dab until you end up with a pattern that you like.

This is the finished metal washer after applying alcohol ink.
This is the finished metal washer after applying alcohol ink.

3. Experiment

This is how the washer looked when I finished applying the ink. Each time you dab, you create a different pattern. You can also put alcohol in a small spray bottle, spritz it on the washer, and then dab the ink to create a different texture. On some of the washers, I dabbed a base coat of alcohol ink with a solid color and then applied another color directly on the washer to create dots.

4. Seal It

Seal the alcohol ink. Crystal Lacquer is a great product to use to seal finished washers and other alcohol ink and metal projects. It gives your project a high gloss finish. If you prefer an acrylic spray, Rustoleum and Krylon make them in glossy and matte finishes.

More Finished Metal Washers - Ready for Alcohol Ink Projects!
More Finished Metal Washers - Ready for Alcohol Ink Projects!

5. Make an Assortment

Here is a group of washers ready to string onto cords for necklaces or other alcohol ink projects. I used a variety of color combinations and patterns. My daughter thought that hanging three washers in a row would make great earrings, but they were too heavy. I thought these might also make nice windchimes if they were strung on monofilament. If you can think of other projects using these washers, I'd love to hear your ideas!

Alcohol Ink Necklace - Eggplant and Denim Alcohol Ink
Alcohol Ink Necklace - Eggplant and Denim Alcohol Ink

6. String the Washers

You can choose to use one or two washers for your necklace. I tried using three washers once, but it ended up being quite heavy. Make a slipknot through the holes of two washers to string your necklace. Enjoy your new piece of jewelry!

Do you enjoy doing arts and crafts?

See results

More Inspiration for Alcohol Ink Projects on Metal

How do you like the looks of these Alcohol Ink on Metal necklaces?

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    • profile image

      Joyce Helberg 

      20 months ago

      I will be trying this !!! I assume you do both sides of the washers...

    • profile image

      Casey Naylor 

      22 months ago

      What brand of alcohol inks did you use to make these? What brand would you recommend?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I think it's very cool, I'm going to try to do this.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Great idea. This will be my next project!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a neat craft and your examples are quite nice. I'm interested because these would make neat closures or embellishments for some of the bags I make. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      These are beautiful! What a really cool craft.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share such a fun, easy, afternoon project. They came out fantastic! I'm excited to try in on a scarf! Thanks again! :-D Diane

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is such a unique idea. These look so cool.

    • AnonymousC831 profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      Very cool idea. I have to try this.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      How innovative! Profitable too!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tutorial....we use alcohol inks on silk scarves....washer necklaces will look great with the scarves

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Terrific! Loads of help.....Can't wait to get started.

    • clkbm profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this. I would like to try it. Do you sell these?

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 

      7 years ago from California

      Very clever. Love it! Blessings.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      THis is a new method for me. Beautiful abstract Alcohol Ink necklaces designs! Love the final look!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I never knew about alcohol ink-- such a nice result from something so simple!

    • profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      7 years ago

      It looks so easy to do. I enjoyed reading this lens.

    • profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      7 years ago

      It looks so easy to do. I enjoyed reading this lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love it - I have made washer pendants using patterned paper, but have never tried alcohol inks.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      7 years ago from Kansas

      I've found some very fun art projects that use alcohol inks. I really need to get me some to play with. I make jewelry too and this looks so cool!

    • Frankie Jr profile image

      Frankie Jr 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, that is pretty cool. They would make some great gifts! Thanks for sharing.

    • StephanieMangino profile image

      Stephanie Mangino 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful tutorial and method of making necklaces! Look for this to be showcased on So Crafty's homepage in the coming days! :) -- Stephanie, So Crafty editor

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      7 years ago from Iowa

      Amazing on how something so simple can look so lovely. Blessed.

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 

      7 years ago

      Great lens ! Informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is great. It's unbelievable that they are just metal washers.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 

      7 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      This I like. When I used to make jewelry, I used all kinds of hardware, including washers for spacers. But this is really special and I want to do it! Thanks

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 

      7 years ago from Spain

      I've never heard of it either, but it's a great idea. My young daughter loves making jewellery so I'm going to past this on to her. Many thanks for sharing. Great lens!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes I like them. Have not heard of it before, but an interesting craft on How to use alcohol ink on metal. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      7 years ago from GRENADA

      Really nice.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the way the colors turn out on metal! I'd never even heard of alcohol ink, and now I must have some. What a cool way to use a washer... you'd never guess the finished product sprang from such humble origins!


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