Hi friends! Recently I started playing with alcohol inks, and as I shared last week, it’s been quite the adventure so far. Usually when I start to create a card, there’s a vision in my mind of what it’s going to look like once complete. Since starting to use alcohol inks however, I’ve discovered that I kind of have to let that go because anything can happen! I’m sure more experienced artists can control the outcome a bit more, but over here, the end result is still very much a surprise.
All that said, one of the things that really drew me to giving alcohol inks a try was the gorgeous, whispy, almost silk ribbon-like look that can be achieved. In my last card I mentioned I’d been using a “press, pray, pull” technique for my backgrounds, and I also experimented with a handheld air blower on a few others. Another tool I wanted to try was a hairdryer, and some Googling/Youtube watching taught me that low heat is key because yupo paper warps easily. Luckily, my hairdryer has a low heat setting, so I gave it a go on what turned into the card you see here.
To begin, I cut a piece of yupo paper to about 5×6″. Even though I was making an A2 card, I’ve found it helpful to cut my yupo panel bigger than my card base because it gives me the option of trimming off the edges after the piece dries. (I often get some ink pooling on the edges, and it’s really nice to not have to worry about evening those areas out when the ink is wet.) Next, I drizzled the panel in several drops of blending solution which allows the ink colors to blend with each other once applied.
Immediately after applying the blending solution, I added about 2 drops of each Ranger Alcohol Ink color I’d picked out – Bellini, Wild Plum, Purple Twilight and Stream – keeping all the drops towards the long end of the panel nearest me. I then quickly grabbed my hairdryer, turned it on to the lowest setting, and began blowing the ink across the panel away from me. In comparison to the handheld ink blower that I’d played with earlier, I found that it was much easier to achieve a whispy ribbon-like effect with the hairdryer, especially when I put the attachment on the end that concentrates the air into a wide, flat opening. (The handheld ink blower was a little too narrowly focused and made it harder to get the look I was going for, but I’m sure it’s possible – again, newbie over here!)
After the first pass was complete and the ink was blown all the way across the panel, I ended up adding a bit more blending solution, re-blending the areas that looked like they needed a bit more smoothing out. While the piece dried (in my very well-ventilated space – very important!) I moved on to the focal point of the card, a pansy bouquet from the Essentials by Ellen Pressing Thoughts stamp set. This line art image felt perfect for the design I had in my head because the line art, when embossed on vellum, would let my background color show through.
I embossed the flowers on Essentials by Ellen vellum, used the coordinating dies to cut it out, and also embossed a ‘thanks’ from the Pumpkin Season stamp set in gold. (Don’t put those holiday stamp sets too far away – there’s some good sentiments hiding in them!) I adhered both to my alcohol ink background, trimmed to 3.5 x 4.75″, mounted it on a white A2 card base, and voila – she was done!
Now that I’ve discovered how much more easily I can achieve this sort of background with a hairdryer, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I’ll be playing with my inks even more. I’d love to hear: what’s your favorite way to work with alcohol inks? Do you use a hand air blower, hairdryer, airbrush, or anything else?