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Techniques For Making Alcohol Ink Tiles

By Joshua Reynolds

Creatively inclined people have a lot of varied mediums from which to choose to explore their artistic visions. Every product will have a particular group of characteristics and be suited to certain surfaces. One project those who enjoy the look of marbling or the use of multiple tones to create a background, might find making alcohol ink tiles to be fun.

Some of the ways this medium varies from others of similar nature is that the pigmentation is concentrated, it dries fast, has forgiveness, and contains no acid. The colors have a real vibrancy, though they can be diluted to obtain a range of versatility to be utilized in multiple methods. It is intended to be used on non-porous surfaces because it has a tendency to seep into porous materials and look faded.

To get started, it is first necessary to gather the required materials as well as the optional ones to be used for embellishments. The non-porous ceramic surfaces are available in a multitude of size and shape combinations with finish selections of either matte or gloss. The details are completely left to the artist because the techniques may be adapted to fit practically any circumstances or formats.

One may buy their inks singly or in kits with three colors that complement each other well. For enhanced versatility, additional products such as customizing pigmentation to create unique hues, metallic additives that can generate a polished or luminous appeal, and a blending solution, should also be gathered. Other tools for the project include refillable markers, straws, felt, clear coat sealer, canned air, gloves, and stamp pad applicators.

The first method is adding felt to the bottom of the stamp applicator and applying only a couple drops of the chosen colors to the pad. The next step is to dab the ceramic piece repeatedly until the intended pattern and coverage are obtained. Do not be alarmed if felt strands are left embedded in the ink, as that is the nature of the material, because they can be easily removed once the medium is sufficiently dried.

A second option is to apply the inks directly to the ceramic surfaces in order to control how much color is used and exactly where it is placed. The splotches could then be mixed or blended using a gloved hand or finger, compressed air, straws, or the felt pad. Dropping a bit of blending solution will cause a beautiful dispersal pattern by diluting certain areas.

Another choice is to drop some of the medium into water that is placed inside of a wide container. The colors float, and when the artist submerges their tile into the liquid, it will collect the inks on its surface. This produces a beautiful marbling that one may opt to either leave in its natural state or use the tools to alter it.

Each technique's unique appearance can be changed by using compressed air or straws to blow the inks around, dabbing felt against it, diluting and dispersing it with blending solution, or adding details with markers. This medium is extremely forgiving, allowing one to wipe it off and reapply as often as one wishes. When the look is right, add up to three thin layers of clear sealant to protect it against fading or damage.

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