altering metal using alcohol ink feature

Tutorial of the Week: Altering Metal Filigrees Using Alcohol Ink

Good morning, everyone! Another week…another tutorial 🙂 Well, this week I’m going to go over one of my favorite products to use when altering metal…alcohol inks!

Alcohol inks are fast drying and perfect for using on non-porous surfaces, including metal, glass and even plastics. They are solvent based, so water clean up is not an option.

Alcohol inks are also translucent (with the exception of metallic mixatives), so you can achieve some really cool effects when layering them. They are also very easily re-activated, making them very forgiving to work with…so, if ya mess up it’s not a problem 🙂


The materials you need for this tutorial include:

  • items to ink – metal filigrees, resin flowers, rhinestone trim, glass cabochons
  • alcohol ink (I use Adirondack)
  • metallic mixatives
  • alcohol blending solution
  • hand sanitizer
  • non-stick craft sheet
  • vinyl gloves (optional)
  • ink blending tool
  • felt
  • ink palette
  • Adirondack refillable pen
  • paint brushes
  • plastic resealable bags

alcohol ink tutorial materials


There are just a couple of things to note before we get started.  Alcohol inks STAIN!  So…it is very important that you protect your work surface.  I use a non-stick craft sheet, but if you don’t have one, you could use a while plastic garbage bag.

AND…if you don’t want to walk around with ink on your hands for a couple of days, you may want to consider wearing a pair of thin vinyl gloves when working with these inks.

Method #1 – Pouncing

This first method is a super easy way of applying alcohol inks, and you can achieve a really cool marbled effect.

Step 1

Attach a small felt rectangle onto the bottom of your blending tool, and add a quick squeeze of a few different colors of alcohol inks onto the felt.  You can use as many or as few colors as you like, but I usually stick to two or three.

Then add a drop or two of a metallic mixative (if desired).  Ensure that you shake the mixative REALLY well because it does separate over time.  There is a small metal ball inside to help with the mixing.

Finally, add a little bit of alcohol blending solution to the felt pad.  The amount of blending solution to use really depends on how much you’d like your colors to lighten and blend.  The purpose of the blending solution is to blend, lighten or remove the alcohol inks.  Therefore, using less blending solution results in a darker, more mottled appearance.  More blending solution will cause the inks to blend with each other more.

tutorial - alcohol ink - pouncing

Step 2

Pounce, dab or stamp the blending tool onto your metal piece.  Make sure you cover the entire surface and rotate your blending tool as you pounce.

tutorial - alcohol ink - pouncing

The beauty about these inks is that if you don’t like the result, you can always wipe them off of your piece with plain blending solution and start over.  You can also continue to layer the ink.  So…if you find that you used too much blending solution to start, you can always add more ink to your felt pad and pounce over your piece again.

Here’s a closer look at the flower that I inked using this method:

tutorial - alcohol ink - pouncing

Method #2 – Painting

Step 1

Squeeze a little bit of each color of alcohol ink and a little bit of alcohol blending solution onto your non-stick craft sheet.

Step 2

Pick up some of the ink using a paint brush and start painting your metal filigree.  While the inks are wet, you will find that they blend quite nicely without the need for blending solution.  As the ink dries on your craft sheet (which will happen rather quickly), you will need to add a bit of blending solution to your brush.

Step 3

Continue to use the blending solution to lighten and blend your colors together until you are happy with the results:

tutorial - alcohol ink - painting

Method #3 – Blending Pen

This method is great if you’re looking for more control over where your ink is added to your filigree.

Step 1

Add a few drops of alcohol ink into each well of an ink palette, and fill an Adirondack fillable ink pen with alcohol blending solution:

tutorial - alcohol ink - blending pen

Step 2

The ink in the palette will dry very quickly…this is where the fillable pen comes in.  Simply pick up some of the ink from the palette and start coloring it onto your filigree:

tutorial - alcohol ink - blending pen

The beauty of these fillable pens is that when you fill them with the blending solution, they are self-cleaning.  All you need to do is scribble onto your craft sheet between each color!

If you don’t have an ink palette, you can always use your craft sheet like we did above when painting the filigree.  Conversely, you can also use your ink palette with a paint brush with blending solution on it, too 😉

Here’s a close up of the butterfly I colored using a blending pen:

tutorial - alcohol ink - blending pen

Method #4 – Drip

This method of adding alcohol ink to your metal filigree is great if you want to achieve a really vibrant color.  I’m not even going to break this one down into steps, it’s just that easy!  All you do is drip the alcohol ink direct from the bottle onto your filigree:

tutorial - alcohol ink - drip

If you get a bit of pooling, you can always lift a bit of the ink off using a dry rag.  Do NOT use blending solution to remove these pools unless you want to lighten the color.

Remember how I said that alcohol inks are great for using on non-porous surfaces?  Well…that includes resin 🙂  This drip method is a great way of changing the color of your resin flowers.  Now…since there is usually a ton of texture to these flowers, the ink tends to drip into and fill all the valleys.  I just use a paint brush to lift the ink and evenly cover my resin flower:

tutorial - alcohol ink - drip

Here’s a look at the pieces I colored using this method…aren’t the colors just so brilliant?!?

tutorial - alcohol ink - drip

Method #5 – Dipping

This method yields a very similar result to dripping the inks directly onto your piece, but is great when you want to color small, awkward pieces such as eyelets, beads, or even bling!

Step 1

Add a few drops of alcohol ink into a small resealable plastic bag.

Step 2

Drop the pieces you want inked into the bag, seal it, and mixed with your fingers until all the pieces are evenly coated.

tutorial - alcohol ink - dip

Step 3

Pour the inked pieces onto your craft sheet and allow to dry for a minute or two…then you’re all done!

Here’s a look at some eyelets and beads that I inked using this method:

tutorial - alcohol ink - dip


Okay, so by now you’ve probably figured out that using alcohol blending solution would be a great way to clean up all that alcohol ink from your craft sheet…but, WAIT!  Why waste all that blending solution when you can use hand sanitizer?  That’s right!  Hand sanitizer has alcohol in it, which means that it dissolves alcohol inks…plus it’s a bit cheaper and way easier to come by 😉  You can also get it in a bunch of different pretty scents 🙂


Whew!  That was alot to cover…AND I have even more fun to show you using these inks, but I will share that with you next week.  I don’t want your brain to get too overloaded 😛

Well, I hope you like what you saw today, but more importantly…I hope it inspired you to get a little messy in your crafty space 🙂  Thanks a bunch for stopping by, and as always, I hope you have a great weekend.  Cheers!

Reader Interactions


  1. hossain says

    i want alcohol ink . i am iranian. i dont now how ? helpppppppppppppppp me. tank you very much.

    • admin says

      I’m not sure where you can get these in your country, but there are many online scrapbook stores that sell them. Both and sell them.

  2. Cathy Lee says

    I guess it never occurred to me to ink my metal embellishments but I love the look you get, Monique. I have tons of alcohol inks and now they have a new use in my craft room. Thanks!

  3. Sue Frederickson says

    I have been crafting with a great group on ladies this winter. One of their favorite projects so far has been using alcohol inks on your wonderful metal elements. We have used those elements in mixed media art and jewelry. I must admit I had never thought to put small items in a plastic bag to color them. Thanks for the tutorials. I love having new info to pass on to my students.