So summer blahs have set in and you’re looking for something new to add a little zest to your crafting? Why not put today’s alcohol inks tutorial by Charissa Miller to the test? I admit, I’ve never used alcohol inks but the agate technique looks particularly intriguing and fun!

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One of my favorite things to do with alcohol inks is to create full backgrounds for cards with the Alcohol Ink Agate Technique. This technique creates a multicolored, multi-dimensional, beautifully colored background that can have the feel of agate stone or a gorgeous sunset.

You’ll need glossy paper for this technique to work. Don’t use photo paper or cardstock as it will just dry into a muddy mess of not cute! Use a glossy paper intended for inking/crafting. You’ll also need an inking tool and a felt pad to add to it. This felt is a one-time use only because alcohol inks are flammable and you do NOT want to store a bunch of felts that could combust. Finally, you need tp pick out your colors. You can use as many colors as you want, but I tend to stick to 3-5 colors so all the colors show.

The alcohol inks line also has what are called Mixatives—these are metallic, pearl, black or white pigments that add opaque (alcohol inks are translucent) patches to your design. I love adding the gold or silver to give some shine. Only use a TINY amount of the mixative though, or it could overwhelm and block out your actual alcohol ink colors.


To get started, take your inking tool and squeeze out a small amount of ink onto the felt. You only want a single spot of each color to ensure that you do not end up with too much of one color. Once you have all of your colors, add a tiny amount of mixative, if desired.


Next, dab the ink tool over your paper. Don’t swirl, blend, or move the felt while on the paper, just pick up and dab, pick up and dab. Turn the tool before each dab so you apply the color in a different pattern and don’t end up with a repeat pattern.  The ink will dry within seconds so you don’t have to worry about smearing it.

Once you have your base layer you can add more colors (including new ones) by adding more ink to the felt. You can make a color lighter by putting a dot on your felt and then squirting blending solution on top. You can also lighten the entire background by applying some alcohol blending solution to your felt and dabbing that on your paper.  It may go through a couple ugly stages, but just keep working it and it will turn out beautiful.

Here is an ugly stage:


Here is the completed background:

If you’d like to stamp over you design, use an ink that can dry onto the slick glossy surface.  I prefer Archival Ink because it dries on the glossy surface and easily shows over the background color.  I use it in black, but any color could work.

And this is the completed card:

Here are a few cards and backgrounds made with the Alcohol Ink Agate technique.


Hope this inspires you to give alcohol inks a try.  They definitely are a lot of fun!