Everything you need when beginning with alcohol ink
I’ve put together my ultimate recommendations, and some budget-friendly pricing to get you started with alcohol ink.
The “Basic Essentials” column has items that you’ll need for a very basic start. This list is best if you just want to test out alcohol inks, to see if you truly enjoy them. This list does not include a respirator, because if it happens to be warm where you are, you may prefer to not use a respirator outdoors. This will help you save your budget if you’re just testing out the inks. I don’t wear a respirator outside, but it’s a personal choice. I definitely wear a respirator indoors, and have a window open. There’s also an air purifier already set up outside of my studio door that will clear up any additional fumes left in my studio.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who has recently begun, and/or you know this is something you want to dive head-first into, and invest in, the “Must-Haves” list is for you.
I’ve included prices based on what’s currently available at Amazon and other sites I’ve linked to. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a portion from each sale (I truly appreciate your support). Over time, the prices may change, but this is current to today and it should give you a decent idea about what to budget for. You may be able to find some items, such as puppy pads, at a dollar store for less. NOTE: Prices are in Canadian. I’ve converted to USD at the bottom of each list (as per today’s dollar value).
The following items are also recommended. I didn’t include them in the lists above since you likely already have them at home:
- Level surface (otherwise your ink will move on the page faster than you can get to it)
- Paper towels
- Cotton swabs / Q-tips
- Old craft paint brush (use for inking, or for splatter dots)
- Toothpicks (great for removing any little fuzzies or chunks of ink that need breaking up)
I personally use goggles, too. My eyes thank me after (they are absorbent mucous membranes, after all). Now, you may have seen someone use compressed air, or maybe you already have a can of it already at home. If you prefer to use that instead of either air pusher listed above, then by all means. These are my personal preferences, but please use whatever tools and materials you feel comfortable with.
💡 TIP: A handheld balloon pump will also work to push alcohol ink. A straw will work, too, but be careful NOT to inhale your inks. I began with a straw AND a mask (that was pretty exhausting, and obviously not sustainable. I only used the straw until I could get my hands on a better air pushing tool. What can I say? I was anxious to try the inks!)
Krylon products might be hard to find. Try a local craft/art supply store, Walmart, or a hardware store. An art store will also be able to provide alternatives, such as “Golden Archival Varnish” (I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it was recommended to me). These Krylon and Golden brand products are selling on Amazon for ridiculous prices, so definitely check local stores first (supporting local businesses when possible is always a good idea anyway).
I hope this gives you a great head-start! When beginning with alcohol ink, you may benefit from process videos. I have some videos on my YouTube channel where I show the tools I’m using, and explain what I’m doing.
Have fun, and remember, it’s all about enjoying the process! ✨