Art for Dummies – alcohol ink painting

You may have seen all the cool paintings that some talented guys do with alcohol ink (available here*). Sadly that stuff is really pricey, and you get only a little amount for your money. But the good news is, that you can do something similar with permanent markers (available here*) and rubbing alcohol! And it’s totally easy too! You don’t even have to be an accomplished painter to get awesome results. I tried this technique on an old white tile, and really like how it turned out!

And that’s how it’s done:

It’s reasonably easy! You just paint some circles, stripes or other shapes on a smooth surface. (They don’t have to be neat.) I’ve used an old white tile and cleaned it with alcohol beforehand. (It’s important that there is no oily residue left.) Then you put a little rubbing alcohol in dropper bottles (available here*) or use some disposable droppers (available here*) and start – well – dropping!

Once the alcohol touches the paint, you instantly get a marbled effect. Just make sure not to drop to much alcohol at once, or the colors will blend completely. The alcohol evaporates quickly, and you can add more alcohol on top if you want, to add to the texture.

What markers will work?

You can experiment with felt tip pens or whatever you have at home. But you get the best results with waterproof permanent markers (available here*). Just use something that is highly pigmented and smear-proof, and it will work out just fine. If you are not sure, try out your markers on a small area. If you don’t like the result, you can wipe it off with rubbing alcohol.

If you have finished your painting, let it set for a good while. Otherwise it will smear once you touched it. (Of course I was impatient and got paint on my fingertips.) To finish it off, spray a layer of clear acrylic spray paint (available here*) on top. You can use it as a tile coaster or hang it as a painting.

For kids

Children will love this technique. Just be sure to help them with the permanent markers. Otherwise the paint will magically get all over their hands and arms. But the alcohol dropping part is total fun, and they won’t get enough of it.  Just imagine what awesome crafts you can do like that!


Materials and where to buy them:

permanent markers (available here*)

glass dropper bottles (available here*) or disposable droppers (available here*)

clear spray paint (available here*)

rubbing alcohol (pharmacy)


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