We're often asked for our favorite supplies, resources, and other ways to get started on your grounded journey. Below are some of our tried and true favorites for alcohol inks, essential oils, and life hacks. We update this quite frequently so check back often and feel free to suggest anything you find that you're loving!
Here are some of the best frames I have found on Amazon (and by "best" I mean value priced with fairly good materials).
Alcohol Ink Resources
SURFACES: Alcohol inks can be used on different surfaces. What is most important is that the substrate is nonporous (meaning, the ink or alcohol will not sink into it). Common applications are on white porcelain tiles, nonporous paper, and heavily sealed canvas boards. I have also seen them applied to glass or tile ornaments for the holidays! Each surface needs to be sealed differently, although you have some options depending on the finished look you want to achieve and the use for your art (e.g., coasters need something different than a wall hanging).
INK BRANDS: There are many different brands of alcohol inks. So, what differentiates them? Many artists insist that some inks have better “flow” than others (I haven’t tried them all so I don’t know really…and the surface you’re working on makes a difference, too!). One of the biggest differences I have notices is the colors and the bleeds (the coloration around the primary when the ink spreads and flows). Many artists will do “swatch” samples from each ink before they use it to figure out these color differences; and will then keep these swatches available to help with their work. All inks brands can be used together, but again, some may flow better than others and create different pools or textures when they interact.
The primary alcohol ink brands are: Ranger/Tim Holtz, Jacquard Piñata, Brea Reese, T-Rex, Kielty, and Marabu. Some artists also use alcohol ink pens and refills such as those for Copic Markers. I learned using Ranger inks so I gravitate towards those but I am starting to branch out into Piñata and Copic. If you’re just getting started, I would recommend buying 1-3 sets of the 3 bundled inks from Ranger/Tim Holtz or Jacquard that usually sell for around $10/set.
Click here to shop with my personal discount link for amazing Trex Inks!
And here are a few of my favorite Ranger/Tim Holtz trios from Amazon:
Wild Plum/Butterscotch/Stream | Shell Pink/Willow/Cloudy Blue | Flamingo/Patina/Amethyst | Raspberry/Clover/Pebble
Some of my other favorites:
ACCESSORIES & EXTRAS:
ONLINE TUTORIALS: If you want to go further with alcohol inks, you may find these online resources & artist teachers as invaluable as I have!
Lorrie Brewer Video: AI Painting Demos (I love how honest she is about the “ink’s plans” versus “your plans”!)
SEAL YOUR WORK: It is widely recommended to seal your paintings with 2-3 coats of Kamar Varnish, followed by 2-3 coats of UVResistant Spray. Read can instructions for application and storage (temperature effects performance). You will also want to take great care in spraying in a clean environment so that unwanted bugs, hairs, dust and other particles don’t find their way onto your paintings (you won’t be able to get them off)! These two applications will seal your inks and prevent the natural fading that occurs with these inks. It’s still recommended that you hang paintings away from direct sunlight.
SAFETY: If you’re going to do this more than once, please use a paint project respirator mask to help block volatile fumes and chemicals from entering your lungs.