Alcohol ink jewelry dishes are easy to create and make beautiful handmade gifts. I made them look like flowers but there are so many options when working with these beautiful inks. Caution: you may become obsessed with this creative art.
I'm a big proponent of making gifts for the holidays. I enjoy making them and I think most people enjoy receiving them. Little dishes are always useful in the home. I love using them for my earrings at the end of the day. Originally I thought about using sharpies with alcohol to make pretty dishes but then I ran across alcohol ink.
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Alcohol Ink Jewelry Dishes
If you haven't tried alcohol inks yet, you are in for a treat. I love the transparent look they have, somewhat like very intense watercolors.
I played around with the many techniques and patterns you can easily create with these beautiful paints, but my favorite (no surprise) is making flowers.
How to Make Alcohol Ink Jewelry Dishes:
- Wear old clothes and protect your working surface. This stuff is wonderful but messy.
- Clean your dishes with rubbing alcohol.
- Then place one drop of ink in the center and watch it bloom.
- Place the second drop on top. I used the gold for the second drop but you can experiment with different colors.
- Next, choose a color for the petals.
- Place a drop just outside the center of the flower and use the canned air to shoot the ink up and out making a petal.
- Continue around with this color creating petals or add another color, in between, over top, the fun never ends.
- Note: Don't like what you see? Use a paper towel and the rubbing alcohol to remove it and start over.
- When you are all done wait a day and give it a couple of coats of varnish to protect your masterpiece.
I ended up using a whole can of air to make twelve dishes, including experimenting and starting over a couple of times. You may be able to do this with a straw and your own lung capacity but the canned air is much easier.
This may be my favorite, but that's probably because I'm partial to blue.
There were so many combinations to create with the kit I purchased. However, if you have a specific color combo in mind you should not have a problem finding it. For example, this set did not have red, and maybe you want to make a Christmas themed flower or dish.
I even made one with the ever-popular black and gold Steeler colors. We may have a fight over this one.
This will be just one of the fun gifts I'll give out during the holidays to my friends and family. Now I'm thinking about what else I can make with these fabulous inks.
Alcohol Ink FAQs
- One subscriber said that the spray gloss made her ink run. Though I did not have this problem I found another source that uses Rangers Multi-medium to protect the inks. I bought it but had trouble with brush marks so, for now, I'll stick with the spray but it's another option.
Update: A few readers below were kind enough to suggest the following sealing options that worked well for them.
Jennifer: "Krylon Triple-thick Crystal Clear Glaze works for me."
Debbie: "Use the Krylon Kamar sealant (2 coats). It doesn’t have alcohol in it and won’t reactivate the ink."
Lucysky: "I have used the triple clear and the Kamar varnish for sealing. I have also had success with Rustoleum clear enamel gloss."
- My girlfriends and I made alcohol ink trivets. They were such fun but I wanted to mention that one of my friends got a little ink on her sweater. Aerosol hairspray did a good job of getting it out.
- Someone asked if these alcohol ink dishes were food safe. I could not find anything that says they are so I would not use them for food.
- I also would not put them in the dishwasher. If they are used as jewelry dishes they should not need much cleaning. However, you should be able to hand wash them.
P.S. You may also like this post using alcohol inks to Marble Paper or this one about Using Alcohol Inks on Metal. Finally, during the holidays you can make Alcohol Ink Ornaments for the tree.
Alcohol Ink: Stunning Jewelry Dishes to Make and Gift
- Ceramic dishes
- Alcohol Inks
- Canned Air
- Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 91%
- Cotton Swabs
- Protective Spray Gloss or Rangers Multi Medium
- Clean your dishes with rubbing alcohol.
- Place one drop of ink in the center and watch it bloom.
- Place the second drop on top.
- Choose a color for the petals.
- Place a drop just outside the center of the flower and use canned air to shoot the ink up and out making a petal.
- Continue around with this color creating petals. You can also add another color, in between, or over top,
- Let dry overnight.
- Cover with two coats of varnish
When I dropped ink on the surface it did not spread out like yours did. Do you put the rubbing alcohol on the surface to make it wet so the ink moves around?
Tanya, it should. Are you using a slick surface like a glazed ceramic dish? The rubbing alcohol should further help with blending. Make sure that you clean the surface with the alcohol too.
Hi Patti, using this as a project . So excited.
My friends are lining up to do this. Thank you for your tutorials...Sylvia ps pictures to follow
What fun Sylvia! Definitely send me pics and don't forget that you can use the rubbing alcohol to remove the ink if you don't like your first attempt and start again.
I have used the triple clear and the kamar varnish for sealing. I have also had success with rustoleum clear enamel gloss. The flowers are lovely!
That's good to know. Thanks for sharing!
These are gorgeous and I have worked on tiles but never little bowls! I'm having a hard time with sealing them, I have waited the 24hrs and still get my ink running and loosing the shape. I used Gloss Americana spray sealant, and I'm thinking it's not the right one to use. What varnish do you use and recommend?
I used Krylon K01305 Gallery Series Artist and Clear Coatings Aerosol, 11-Ounce, UV-Resistant Clear Gloss from Amazon. There's a link in the post. I have also tried Ranger Multi Medium Jar with Built in Brush, 1-Ounce, Gloss but it I felt like you could see the brush strokes.
Ranger is an alcohol ink manufacturer. That's why I tried their product. I found the Krylon spray by reading other articles on alcohol ink. Many use this spray. I have not had any trouble with the Krylon spray, though I believe there is at least one other comment in here who had the same issue as you did. Try lightly spraying them at least 12 inches away. If that works wait an hour and give them a second coat.
Hi. Thanks for the great idea. I ordered the exact materials you suggested and followed the instructions. However, when I went to spray them, the ink ran and all pooled together even though the ink had been dry for about a week before I sprayed them. Wondering if this happened to anyone else or if there is a better spray to use?
I'm so sorry that your project did not work out. This did not happen to me and I made many of those dishes, I also made some large trivets with my friends a few months later. The only thing that comes to mind is, could you have possibly sprayed the protective varnish too close to the ink? Also, I don't know if it's very humid where you are, and I don't know if that would even matter, but I made both of my projects during the winter.
Hi, Patti - these are absolutely brilliant! I love them. As for one of the commenter replying that the alcohol ink ran when she tried to finish it, it could be the finish spray she was using had alcohol in it. They are extremely reactive and even on paper cards which we use them on, we can change the look by dropping alcohol on them at a later date. I hope that helps 🙂 and thank you again for the project inspiration!
Thanks Rosy. That's good to know.
Use the Krylon Kamar sealant (2 coats). It doesn’t have alcohol in it and won’t reactivate the ink.
Good to know. Thanks for sharing Debbie!
Krylon Triple-thick Crystal Clear Glaze works for me.
Wow, these dishes are fabulous. Can I do this on the pendant necklace? I want to paint the engraved necklace I got from this personalized necklaces web: jewelrypersonalizer.com . Do you think it is possible to paint it like the dish? And what do I need to do this.
The only way I have used alcohol inks is on glazed ceramics. I have noticed some people using them on large hardware washers that you would buy in the hardware store. Like this from pinterst: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/250583166744803686/
Maybe that would help you.
Has your Alcohol ink chipped or faded? I was just wondering how well the ink held up since using them to hold jewelry. Thank you! They are beautiful!
I made these in November and so far they are in perfect shape. No fade and no chips.
That’s wonderful! Thank you!
Loved your dishes so wanted to make my own! Tried your method but had difficulty getting similar results so I improvised!!! By using either a paintbrush or a small felt square, you have better control over placement! Keep up the great work 😊
Thanks so much for sharing. I'm definitely going to try your method soon!
These are amazing! I was curious, do you think a preschooler could help make these? I teach preschool and these would be an amazing Mother's day gift. If I did it with them, do you think these would work?
I really not sure. I have never worked with preschoolers. You may want to try it first yourself. They are pretty messy and I used a lot of rubbing alcohol while making them. I would be worried about suggesting the use of these with small children. You May want to contact the manufacturer about their safety. I found this link which may be helpful from one of the manufacturers where you can ask. http://rangerink.com/contact-ranger/
Patti, what size dish did you use? They have several sizes on Amazon! These will make a fun Birthday project for the girls to make all together!
There's a link to the exact dishes I bought on the post. They were small like 3 inches I believe.
I gave them as Christmas gifts and everyone loved them. I think your idea of a birthday project would be great. A little messy so make sure you project the surface and clothes. The ink came off my hands with rubbing alcohol but you could wear gloves too. Have Fun!
These are so pretty. I love the blue one. Where did you purchase the jewelry dishes?
The blue one is my favorite too.
I bought the dishes on Amazon. There's a link directly to them in the materials link.
The great thing about this project is that you can easily wipe the slate (dish) clean if you mess up.
I did go through an entire can of air but ended up with 12 dishes.
Can you actually use these? If so, can they be washed?
These were designed to be used as trinket or jewelry dishes so they are perfectly fine to use. I did coat them with a spray finish to protect the ink. I'm not sure about washing them. I'm sure that they could be lightly handed washed if needed or wiped if they got very dusty. If you are considering using them for sauces I'd do my research first to see if the ink is food safe. Hope that helps.
I want to try this! You mentioned a kit, do they come in kits? Do you sell the kits? Thank you!! Terry
The kit I mentioned was just the variety pack of inks. Everything I bought has a link to where I bought them. They are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission. The price is the same for you whether you link through this site or not. However, I believe you can also find most of these items at craft stores. The little ceramic dishes are used for individual sauces which you may find in the kitchen section of your local department store. Have fun the alcohol inks. I can't wait to come up with another project using them.
Such a beautiful idea and a perfect accessorie for a boho chic girl! Thank you for sharing this project I'm going to give it a try.
So glad you like it Marta. They are so fun.
I've never tried alcohol ink before, but those bowls are stunning! What a beautiful holiday gift.
Meredith | unOriginalMom
These are so beautiful! I love the vivid colors. I will have to give this technique a try! (Also, Go Steelers! Fellow PA resident here 😉 )
You should definitely try them. They are so fun and easy to erase. You may get a little messy but the rubbing alcohol takes care of the mess. Go Steelers!
These are fabulous! I love all the different colors. It would be so hard to decide on a favorite. I am oddly drawn to the black and gold which is so unlike me. LOL
I'm so glad you like the jewelry dishes. The black and gold always reminds me of The Steelers being a Pittsburgher, however, I can also see it as a classy piece for jewelry in a more modern setting.
Each dish is like a little work of art! I've never used alcohol inks before, but this just might be the inspiration I need to get started. Great gift idea!
Thanks Cathy! They are so fun!
I love alcohol ink, and these are gorgeous! I definitely need to play with mine soon.
These are gorgeous! I think I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing!
Definitely try them. They are sooooo fun!
Wow, these are so pretty! Great gift idea. Visiting from Handmade Holidays.
These are so beautiful! Gorgeous colors!
Thanks Angela. They were so fun to make.
Have alcohol inks and am dying to create these!! Pinned for later! Great idea and inspiration!! Thanks!
Thanks Beverly. The inks are amazing as you know so that's half the battle.
These turned out so pretty!
Chelsea @ Making Manzanita
These are soooo pretty! I love the colors. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Chelsea. The inks are so vibrant right?
Toni | Small Home Soul
These are beautiful. I've heard of alcohol ink but never tried it before. I bet everyone who receives one of these little bowls will cherish it. Thanks for the inspiration!
I'm so glad you like them Tony and I hope you are right.
Your jewelry dishes are stunning Patti! I'll definitely be trying this technique. Thanks for sharing!
Patti these are fabulous!