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How to make your own alcohol inks and more – Quick tip Tuesday
Posted Sep 19, 2017

 Using rubbing alcohol to make your own alcohol inks and clean your brushes with Nicole Austin

One of my favorite art “tools” can be found in my medicine cabinet: rubbing alcohol!  

It is something that I think every artist should have in her tool box.  Not only can you use it to clean hardened acrylic paint off of your brushes, but you can also use it to make your own alcohol ink!  

 Making your own alcohol ink is an economical alternative to buying alcohol inks and it’s also just a great way to use up any dyes you might have from another project. It’s easy to make your own inks–you just need rubbing alcohol and liquid or powdered dyes.  I love using alcohol ink on photo paper to create galaxy-inspired backgrounds that I can use on cards or in other mixed media art projects.

  Another great use for rubbing alcohol is using it to clean dried paint off of paint brushes.  I know we’ve all experienced accidently leaving our beloved brushes in acrylic paint–you get distracted or called away from your project for just a moment only to return hours (sometimes days!) later to find perfectly good brushes ruined!  But don’t throw those brushes out!  Just soak them in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes, until the paint begins to dissolve.  Then rinse with soap and water and they’re as good as new!

I hope you enjoy this week’s Quick Tip!  I’d love to see what you’ve made with your homemade alcohol inks and if you have any other uses for rubbing alcohol in your art projects, I’d love to know!

Enjoy the video

 Products Used:

91% isopropyl alcohol,

Jacquard Procion MX dye (fuchsia, lilac, jet black, midnight blue),

glossy photo paper,

Darice needle tip applicator bottles, white paint pen, baby wipes

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Posted Sep 19, 2017
Headshot photo of artist

Hello there! I’m Shawn Petite

I’ve been teaching and creating for well over 25 years. About 15 years ago I found my art soul mate in mixed media, and it changed my life! I love the story that can be told by combining paint, texture, ink, paper and—really anything that you can imagine.

But what I’m truly passionate about is being your guide, walking with you step by step and helping you become your own hero in your creative journey.

Along my path, I’ve learned that the creating art also creates a healing space. Life can be messy and complicated and painful, but something about a paint brush can help heal your soul. I believe—no, I know—you are worthy of love, and I want to teach you to know that about yourself. Join me on this journey of art and inspiration!


  1. memalagene

    AWESOME tips, I have also used glossy photo paper and it reacts a little differently than Yupo, but still gives a good result.

  2. Tami

    Just the recipe for making homemade alcohol inks I was looking for! I want to make sure that you use WATER for the first ounce you put in the bottle with the teaspoon of powdered dye, and not alcohol. ? Thank you VERY much for sharing your technique! <3

  3. Holly

    How far ahead of time can you mix up the dye, water and alcohol? or, how long does it keep?

    • shawn

      You can mix it any time it will keep for a long, long time. You will just need to shake it up and make sure it’s mixed befor you use it. Thanks for being here!

  4. Brian Burke

    Can rubbing alcohol with 70% isopropyl alcohol or methanol be used to make alcohol ink?

    • shawn

      I wish I had the answer, I’m not sure …. Sorry! but if it were me I would give it a try! you never know what might happen!

  5. Candice Hernandez

    Can you use this in resin and have it turn out transparent like store bought alcohol inks?

  6. Lisa

    Thanks so much for publishing this tutorial. It’s just what I needed! Alcohol inks are pricey and I have a dye studio, full of MX Fiber reactive dyes. All I need is isopropyl alcohol and good to go-at a value price point! Thanks again, I appreciate you being generous with your arty tips.


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