Make Your Own Alcohol Inks--Or Not: A Failed Experiment

It sounds awesome, right? DIY alcohol inks! What could be better?

I saw this tutorial, and had to try it.

Unfortunately, my alcohol inks did not turn out very well. I knew it sounded too easy! It seems there's a reason they charge through the nose for Ranger alcohol inksJacquard alcohol inks, and Spectrum Noir Alcohol Ink Pens, which I currently use.

I had some old markers, which I opened up to get their ink reservoirs. I left the ink reservoirs in the rubbing alcohol for over 24 hours.

They looked vibrant and colorful, but when I tried to use them on a test scrap of aluminum, the color was very muted and wiped off easily (left), unlike actual alcohol inks (right). Regular alcohol inks can be scraped off metal, which is why you want to use a sealant, such as resin, but they don't just wipe off with the slightest contact, as my DIY alcohol inks did.

I've since seen a couple of other tutorials, one involving Kool Aid and another involving Rit dye. I might try these other DIY alcohol ink techniques at a later date, but I'm not holding my breath.

I've dyed yarn with Kool Aid before, and I can attest that it worked pretty well, but I'm not sure how it would work in terms of making alcohol inks. I'd also worry about it having that sugary, Kool Aid smell. The yarn didn't, but it got microwaved and rinsed, and even then, the color was rather pastel-ly. It's fine to have pastel yarn, but one of the things I like about alcohol inks is their vibrant color.

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