Homemade Alcohol Inks

I really have wanted a set of Tim Holtz Adirondack Inks for a while but I have a problem paying $9.99 for three .5 fl oz bottles.  For that much I want them to clean up after themselves and fix me dinner.  Okay may not fix me dinner but the cleaning up after themselves would be really cool.  My mom offered to buy me a pack but even with someone paying for them.  I told her let me see if I can find a cheaper alternative than $10.00 for 1.5 fl oz.  I did some research and found Artists How Towhich gave a recipe using RIT Dye and Isopropyl Alcohol (a higher concentration – 91%).I figured I would give it a try because a bottle of Liquid RIT Dye is $2.78 (8 fl oz) at Wal-Mart and a bottle of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol is $1.48 (16 fl oz).I bought 4 colors (the only 4 colors they had) Denim Blue, Tan, Scarlet and Dark Brown and two bottles of Isopropyl Alcohol.  In total I spent $14.08 for 288 tsp of dye and alcohol averaging about $0.04 a tsp compare to $1.11 a tsp with the Adirondack Alcohol Inks.The other thing I want to point out is that the the recipe I found makes a ton of alcohol ink.  I cut it in half I used 1tsp of dye to a 1/4 cup of alcohol and WOW I still have a TON of it!  I think the next time I make it I will use a 1/2 tsp to an 1/8 cup of alcohol.I am quite impressed with the results of the ink and I like being able to mix my own colors (I am going to experiment with it some more.)  I did try powder dyes (from Dharma Trading Company) but the alcohol I used originally was only 50% and it didn’t work as well.  The powder also didn’t really mix it settled on the bottom of the container but I think I will be able to add more of the 90% alcohol to it to get the desired effect and maybe separate the powder from the dyed alcohol.  I am also going to experiment with food coloring and alcohol because the food coloring worked really well with the Glimmer mist.

1 tsp Scarlet RIT Dye 1/2 cup 91% Isopropyl Alcohol in a 4 oz Solo Cup (I think it had Soy Sauce in it).  I did the bigger container so I could shake it.
I used the Dark Brown Homemade Alcohol Ink on Metal Tape.  I am quite happy with how it turned out.
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17 thoughts on “Homemade Alcohol Inks

  1. I tried this. Mine has small chunks of the dye. Do you know what I did wrong. I shook the bottle for 10 minutes still little pieces. lolthanksAmber

  2. Amber,I'm not sure about the chunks my liquid dye didn't have chunks. I didn't have any chunks the only thing I can thing of is maybe it was a bad bottle of dye. There is a work a round (two ways I can think of at 6:30am no coffee – lol): 1) You could strain it with a fine metal sifter or sieve, reuse the chunks for something else or let them dry and crush them and try it again. 2) The other work around is to use a paint brush (I did this when I made the inks with powder.) The chunks will sink because they are heavier. When I made the powder one everything sank to the bottom and I added more alcohol on top and I just reused the powder dye. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more problems with it :)Manda 🙂

  3. That is great..any tips on where to find the felt? I did make my own dabber with dowel and block of wood then put on some velcro but I need felt or something else that will work. Any suggestions?

  4. I used it with a paint brush onto the Metal Tape (I believe it is also known as Ducting Tape). I bought it at Ace Hardware.I will gladly mix up some more and I now have some Adirondack Inks so I can do a side by side comparison (tests) and will post it soon.

  5. Excellent! I've been looking for an easy home-made ink and this seems to fit the bill. Any idea what the longevity for such an ink is? I've looked around and can't find anything about it.

  6. @Wulfgar – The actual longevity of the ink depends on how air tight you store it. I have some that were in cheap plastic containers and they dried out but the one I had in a "pill bottle" was full and only needed a shake.If air hits the alcohol it will evaporate and just leaves the dried color.I hope this helps 🙂

  7. ok, so I made the alcohol inks and the 3 colors I used, pink, purple and green… all 3 clumped, all 3 were liquid, 2 were bought at Michaels and one at Walmart, this past week. I love this idea but am not wanting to strain the the AI every time I want to use it. I wish I knew why the clumps. Yes the alchol was 91% .

  8. Hi Penny – I'm not sure why they clumped. When I remade the brown last week it clumped like that they only thing I can think of it the dye is old. The reason I say this is because the first time I made it that did not happen this time it did. If I find out a "logical" explanation for it I will keep you informed. I did try Food coloring also (I am still working on that but the colors seem much brighter with the Food Coloring than the dye. I hope to be able to post something soon on that :)Manda 🙂

  9. I just bought three bottles of 91% rubbing alcohol….I used the powdered dye…and i mixed the powder with some of the alcohol first til it was well blended…then added more alcohol and gave it a shake that seemed to take care of clumps.

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