I've been wondering about alcohol inks for some time and have read a bit about them in the past. They seem to be a favorite with crafters, especially those who scrapbook or make greeting cards but are not really used a lot by fine artists so I haven't pursued using them.
One of the reasons that I haven't tried them is that I need to mail order just about any art supply I use as most art stores with any appreciable inventory are at least 30 miles from us. Frankly, by the time I order just paper, canvas, paint or other painting supplies, I'm over-budget and trying something new is put aside.
But I ran across someone who makes her own alcohol inks from 91% rubbing alcohol and "empty" printer cartridges so I decided to try making my own just to see what all the hype is about.
Making alcohol inks is relatively easy - once you get the printer cartridge open, that is! My cartridges have a sponge-like rectangle inside that still contains quite a bit of ink. Just open the cartridge and place that sponge into a small jar and pour 91% rubbing alcohol over it and shake. Let it sit for several hours or overnight and you have alcohol ink! And I've found that most people make the inks from Rit dye and even Kool Aid so there are less messy options if anyone wants to try it!
I had no problem opening the yellow cartridge I tried first even though I did get some small spatters with it. It was the black cartridge that gave me fits and black hands! I started this project yesterday in the early afternoon and have washed my hands so much the skin is red and the ink is still very visible! It's reassuring that the ink should last though!
I guess I need to go ahead and do the cyan and magenta cartridges then give these inks a trial run. I don't know what I'll use them for but I did see some metalware with some very pretty alcohol ink designs on it. I've also seen some really nice paintings on Yupo with them and I definitely will try that as I have a pad of Yupo that I've barely used.
And if I like working with these inks, I may just have to invest in a set from the art store.