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How To Create Alcohol Ink Backgrounds


Alcohol ink background

Alcohol ink background

Kate Pullen
This is a useful technique to know and is a great way to produce unusual backgrounds for rubber stamping projects. Alcohol inks are different to normal pigment or dye inks as they work well on shiny surfaces, such as glossy paper, without the need for heat setting or embossing. The alcohol inks are applied using a applicator with a felt pad and this helps to create the distinctive effect. These backgrounds work well for a variety of projects and the technique is very easy to adapt.

Important: When using alcohol inks, work in a well ventilated area and ensure that your clothes and work surfaces are well protected.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Quick

Here's How:

  1. See the Step by Step guide for more detailed instructions.

    Alcohol inks dry quickly therefore it is a good idea to gather everything needed together before starting.

    Carefully squeeze a few drops onto the felt surface of the applicator. The size of the drops will determine the finished effect, larger dots of ink will give a larger inked impression. If you are using more than one color add the other colored inks as required. For more dramatic effects keep the colors separate. If they are allowed to overlap too much the colors blend together. Immediately start stamping the pad onto a sheet of glossy paper.
  2. Repeatedly stamp the applicator on the paper, building up an all over pattern. Different effects can be achieved by adding some alcohol ink blending solution or rubbing alcohol onto the pad and dabbing this over the surface. This disperses the ink further causing the inks to bleed.

    Do not spray alcohol ink blending solution unless you are wearing goggles. Refer to instructions for specific information.
  3. Allow the paper to dry and then it is ready for use in a variety of rubber stamping projects. If the alcohol inked paper is to be over stamped then a permanent ink needs to be used to stop the image from smudging.

    The inks used in this project are Ranger Adirondack. More information can be found on the Ranger Ink website including an interesting video exploring the use of these inks in more detail.


  1. This is a prefect technique for experimentation! Different sized dots and a mix of colors can produce striking effects.
  2. To save money use cheap glossy paper. This is also ideal for use with altered art projects and any glossy or non porous surface will work well.
  3. Alcohol inks can stain, therefore banishing children and pets from the stamping area before starting might be a good idea!

What You Need

  • Alcohol inks such as Ranger Adirondack
  • Application pad
  • Blending solution or rubbing alcohol
  • Glossy paper
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