Recently I showed you my alcohol ink art experiments and today I’m building on that project with an interesting twist: how to use alcohol ink on ceramics. Alcohol inks love a non-porous surface so they’re perfect for adding some interest to glazed ceramics or china. The one downside is that alcohol inks are not food safe, but there are clever ways to get around that. The good news is that ceramics and china decorated with alcohol inks can withstand a vigorous hand washing – especially once they’re sealed – so they can be used and enjoyed regularly.
This beautiful, marbled espresso set started life plain and unloved before I rescued it from a thrift store.
I actually really appreciated the simplicity, but everything can use a little more turquoise or teal. That’s just my motto in life.
I decided that the saucers would be perfect for adding a swirl of marbling with alcohol inks because they won’t be used for food. They’re too tiny to even set a cookie on, so I knew it was a safe place to use the alcohol inks. Another option would be on the handle or bottom of a mug, on the back of a clear glass plate, or on the outside of vases and other home decor accessories – you can really get creative with the placement of alcohol inks on ceramics and china.
I am obsessed with the gorgeous, inky design I was able to create with alcohol inks. Intrigued? Here are the supplies – and some pointers – for how to use alcohol inks on ceramics:
- Alcohol inks (I bought two 3-packs: this one (Mariner-Indigo/Mermaid/Teakwood) and this one – it’s called Lakeshore)
- Alcohol blending solution
- Rubbing alcohol
- Plain white china (like this pretty set)
- Paper drinking straws
- Krylon clear glaze
- Rubber gloves
- Drop cloth to protect surfaces (I used a black garbage bag)
- Paper towel
How to Use Alcohol Ink on Ceramic:
To make the swirls on the saucer, I used the same technique that I used on the alcohol ink art. If you missed that tutorial don’t worry – it’s so easy! I just dropped a few spots of ink, along with a few drops of alcohol blending solution, onto my ceramic saucer and used my straw to blow the ink around. With the saucer, I was also able to pick it up and, using a swirling motion, coax the ink around. By layering shades of blue and teal I was able to create this really inky effect with lots of depth and interest – but truly the magic is in the alcohol ink and this is a perfect DIY for any skill level. Click here for some more tips and tricks!
When the alcohol ink had dried, I wanted to be doubly sure the design would hold so I placed the saucers on a sheet of cardboard and applied a few thin coats of Krylon clear glaze, which I allowed to dry undisturbed for 24 hours. I bought this spray for a bisque pottery alcohol ink project (which needs it) and it might be overkill for this project, but I do like to make DIY projects that can stand the test of time.
The really cool thing about alcohol ink is that if you don’t like the design, you can quickly wipe it all off the ceramic surface before it dries. Just use rubbing alcohol, applied with a paper towel or cotton pad, and wipe the ink off for a clean slate. So fear not – you can always start fresh if you don’t like how the inks have settled! I did. Many times.
That’s what makes using alcohol inks on ceramics so fun – and addictive! After adding some marbling to my espresso set, I added a simple, monochromatic swirl to a plain white ceramic tea bag holder.
I hope you feel inspired to rescue some bland china or ceramics from the thrift store and give them a new lease on life! I can’t wait to see what you make…
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