Guest Post: Alcohol Ink Dyed Coasters

Time: 2 Hours including dry time
Materials: Ceramic tiles, alcohol ink (try Adirondack!), alcohol, sealer, paintbrush, paint, rubber pads for the bottom

I am pleased to have Aly from Artisan des Arts as a guest blogger this week to show you how to make alcohol ink dyed coasters!

Alcohol Ink Coasters | The Crafted Life


1. Begin by coating your tile with regular drugstore alcohol. This works just as well as the alcohol blending solution but costs a fraction of the price.

2. Once you have evenly coated your surface, start dripping little spots of ink onto your tile. Allow the ink to slide around a bit before adding your next color. You will see that the colors will blend and dance together the longer you let them sit. Keep adding more color, until you have covered your surface completely.

3. If ever you feel like you have added too much color or made a mistake, just use a paper towel to dab up some of the extra ink, then recover with a new color. It’s VERY hard to mess this project up!

4. Seal your coasters once your surface has dried to the touch.

5. Once the sealer has dried, use a paint brush to dab some paint on the sides of your coasters. This will not only finish the edges of your tile, but it will cover up any ink that may have dripped over the edges. Once your coasters are dry, they are ready to enjoy!

More from my guest-

Over at my blog, I post all of the art projects that I do with my art classes. I try to include step by steps, and sometimes I’ll even make a video how-to. As well, I post a lot of DIY’s that I do in my spare time (especially during summer holidays!). One of my favorite art project that I have done with my students is my hand dyed paper with silhouettes. I love this technique for hand dying the paper, and it produces really striking results, even if you have little artistic ability.

I have some great how tos and giveaways coming up in the next few weeks. Please make sure to come visit my blog!

xo, aly

  • McCHarness

    These don’t work as coasters. I made them as instructed and when I put something hot on them (like a coffee cup), the ink comes off. Also vinegar takes the ink right off. (I use it in cleaning my dinning room table, and it messed up a tile.)

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this project didn’t work for you! A few things– What did you use to seal the tiles and how long did you let them dry?

      Thanks for the tip about the vinegar!

      • McCHarness

        I used an acrylic sealer: Krylon Crystal Clear. And I sprayed at least 5 coats on them.

        • Ah okay! I have a feeling that because of the glossy nature of the tiles that it wouldn’t preserve it as it would a charcoal drawing or something of that nature. I did this project recently myself (the original post was from a guest blogger), and mod podge seemed to hold up just fine!

          I hope it goes better for you this time :)

          • McCHarness

            Are we talking about the same project? I don’t see moj podge in the alcohol ink dyed coaster project.

          • Crafty Chicken Keeper

            Mod Podge is mentioned in the original post. Instruction number 4.

          • McCHarness

            Right! So that is what I did wrong. Thanks for letting me know!

          • McCHarness

            So I want to make sure I have this right. Have you used the coasters with mod podge with hot mugs? And I’d like to know if lemonade or lemon would effect it. If you haven’t already, would you try those experiments on your coasters? Thanks.

          • Barbara Harmer

            The best way to seal them is with 2 part resin. It dries as hard as glass, and this is what is used for bar and table tops.
            Also, you don’t mention if you should let the alcohol dry before adding the ink, or if it should be wet.

          • McCHarness

            Where do I buy resin? And what brands are best?

          • Barbara Harmer

            You can buy 2-part resin by the brand name Envirotex at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Walmart (in the craft section) Or just google it. It comes in 2 separate bottles. One contains the resin, and the other contains the hardener. You mix it in a 1:1 ratio, then stir, stir, stir for 2 minutes. (I use “popsickle” craft sticks) Use plastic cups and not paper ones, because the mixture will be hot from the chemical reaction. Bubbles will appear in the cup, but that is a sign it is working. If bubbles appear on the coaster, after you pour the mixed resin on the coaster, use a long candle lighter and wave the flame over the bubbles. It is not the heat that dissolves the bubbles, but the carbon dioxide in the flame. Place the coasters on something to elevate them off of the work space, so the resin will drip over the sides when you pour it. You don’t want the coaster to stick to your work surface. I use a foam brush to help spread the resin, and I place wax paper under it and on the workspace to protect it, as the hardened resin will not stick to the wax paper. Don’t use a heat gun as this is a chemical reaction and is not affected by heat. Make sure you have all your materials laid out and ready before you mix the 2 together because you must start to pour it immediately after mixing. You will have to “babysit” the coasters after you pour the resin, by using a paper towel to wipe off drips on the underside of the coasters because if you don’t it will harden into drips and the coasters won’t sit flat on the table. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. If I were you, I would do a bunch of coasters at once….just make sure you keep looking under the coaster to look for drips and wipe them off. I suggest you place a cardboard box over them (not touching the coasters) to prevent dust, hair, etc., from sticking to the coaster. They will dry overnight. Don’t worry, there will be instructions inside the box it comes in. Hope this helps. I use it on my art all the time, and I love the glossy, glass finish. If you have any other questions, please ask. Good luck.

          • McCHarness

            Thanks so much! And about the alcohol being wet when you work with the ink, the answer is yes. And if you mess up on a tile, you can clean it off with alcohol.

          • Barbara Harmer

            You’re very welcome. I forgot to tell you that you can also use one of the black foam brushes to paint the resin on, but don’t work too slowly. Just dip the brush into the resin that’s in the mixing cup and paint away. Don’t use a bristle brush because it might leave brush stokes. I use the resin on top of my art that is on canvas. Here is a photo of one of my pieces with the resin coating.

          • McCHarness

            WOW. Very cool!

          • Barbara Harmer

            Thank you

          • Barbara! Your work is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing :)

          • Barbara Harmer

            Thank you so much Rachel. I appreciate the kind words. Here’s another one.

          • Love these! The coloring is absolutely beautiful. Thanks again for sharing Barbara :)

          • Dianne

            Have you used a UV spray before the EnviroTex Lite? I’ll try that next. I am getting frustrated as I was planning to have these delivered to a friend for her boutique before Thanksgiving. Thanks in advance for any advice you might have. Dianne

          • Barbara Harmer

            No I haven’t, but I don’t see a problem with doing that as long as it’s completely dry when you use the resin. I know about deadlines. Ugh! I’m on one too for a major magazine cover. Good luck to both of us.

          • Thanks for the tip Barbara! I have yet to work with resin, but from what I read, it should really do the trick here :)

            I would assume that the alcohol can still be wet since it helps the inks spread, but I’m not 100%

          • Barbara Harmer

            Thanks Rachel, I use inks, but not the alcohol based ones. Been using water based.

          • Dianne

            I just tried this. Although it is still drying, it has already changed the red to an orange and almost totally erased the purple colored ink from the tile. I tried a poly acrylic and it turned the red to a peachy brown color. help!

          • Dianne

            The “this” I am referring to above is, the 2 part resin by EnviroTex .

          • Barbara Harmer

            I never had this problem and I seal all my ink art with Envirotex Lite. This is an epoxy resin. Did you use Epoxy resin? It comes in 2 bottles. One contains the resin and the other the hardener. You mix them in a 1:1 ratio and mix for at least 2 minutes. Did you pour it on or brush it on? Watch this video on how to do it. You may have to wait 3 minutes into the video to see the process, as the first 3 minutes they are demo-ing on paper. I’m also attaching 2 of my pieces of ink and resin art. The green one is 14″hx12″w. The pink and blue is 12″x12″. Hope this helps..

          • Barbara Harmer

            Well I don’t see photos of my art. Don’t know what happened Hope they show up this time. Also here’s the link for the video.

    • guhlitdur

      If you’re using mod podge you are doing it wrong. Coasters are meant protect your furniture but not even the out door mod podge is fully waterproof. You can go ahead and put a layer of it on but you HAVE to seal it with an acrylic sealant.
      I would really appreciate if the author could fix that in the how-to! Very misleading to the only occasional crafter because the mod podge will never work for any coaster sealing.

  • Good invention

  • keyzee

    I am so amazed at your idea. This has already gotten my wheels turning to thhink of new ideas. Thatrnks for sharing.

  • Pingback: 13: Alcohol Inked Acrylic | 52 LASERS()

  • Emilyscheber

    I want to try these but I’m a little confused on the “sealer”. I’ve never used it so I don’t know where to ever start looking for such a thing. Haha any answers?

    • I think there a few different ones you could try. Most readers have had good luck sealing with resin. Hope that helps!

  • What a simple and fun way to make coasters!

    • Yay! Would love to know how they turn out if you give it a try :)

  • Angie Strickmaker

    I sealed mine with a clear coat but noticed that I can just scratch the ink off. So I threw them in the oven to set the ink. I also sprayed them a with a second coat of spray once they cooled down. They’re drying overnight now
    Has anyone else had problems with the end result. I plan on selling them and don’t want to sell a product that will just wipe away.

    • Angie Strickmaker

      So far so good on setting the ink by heating it in the oven. I did a scratch test and it passed. I also put a cold glass on it and also poured some on it and the ink didn’t wipe off or run. I’ll do the heat test and let you know.

      • Oh awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your tips here! Some readers have had great luck sealing with resin if that helps!

  • Pingback: DIY | Pearltrees()

  • Pingback: DIY-tip: maak prachtige onderzetters voor jezelf of als cadeau | Wonen()

  • Jude

    Has anyone tried this on canvas? If so how did it work out for you? Any tips? Thank you!!!

  • Pingback: How To Make Your Own Personalized Coasters | Our Daily Ideas()

  • Sue P

    Since I make and sell alcohol ink products I thought I would share what works for me. I make jewelry, Vases and trivets. All alcohol inks need to be used on glossy ceramic tiles, do not sand down or you remove the shiny texture of the tiles or vases. Take a piece of paper towel put some rubbing alcohol on it and wipe over your tile, this will clean the tile of finger prints etc. It’s usually finger prints that give you an uneven finish or spots that the ink just won’t stick to. Take a piece of felt place on dabber and squirt one colour of ink then go in one direction across your tile, make sure to do the edges also. This will keep your project from having any white spots show thru on the top or sides. Then carry on adding as many colors as you like while the base colour is still damp, the inks interact with each other with or without adding alcohol, because, well they are made with alcohol. Using a dabber is the original way to use the inks and it will give you a beautiful “stone” look. You can use multiple colours on one felt dabber and create some nice effects. Alcohol inks are not easy to work with free hand, but if your going for a total abstract look, it’s fun. Once you practice, over time you can learn how to manipulate the inks to actually make nice pictures free hand. Let your work sit for at least 24hrs before trying to seal them. I sit mine in a sunny spot for 24-48hrs. I have tried everything on the market for sealant, and they all interacted with the inks and made them run. I stumbled onto the high heat clear engine spray so use that on the trivets, and Rust – oleum painters touch ultra cover clear gloss on my vases etc. I buy rubber feet from dollar store and glue on with ever bond, they wont come off. I have not tried to bake before sealing because the inks are flammable so didn’t want to take a chance on burning my house down. Here are some samples of my work

    • Sue P

      Hope the pics show this time

      • You are AMAZING Sue! Thank you so much for sharing your process and photos of your lovely work!

        • Anna Ballou

          What about Rusteloeum Triple Thick Glaze? Just put it on but seems to hold…will have to test over time. Haven’t seen anyone mention it

          • pewpewzapzap

            My boyfriend and I made these as holiday gifts last year, and Rustoleum Triple Thick Glaze is what we used. It worked well enough as a glaze, seemed to make the colors more vibrant, but added a bit of texture. They didn’t hold up as coasters, though – anything too hot/cold/wet made the ink/sealer peel off. :( But if you want them just as art pieces, I think it works.
            Make sure they are SUPER dry before packing them with paper, though. We tried to transport them in newspaper and the newspaper stuck and peeled the ink off, too.

            Gonna try the engine paint, I think!

      • Donalyn Kay Lemons

        The ink wont catch on fire as the alcohol dries up quickly.

  • ANN

    I love this project. But, even after the finish coat, it doesn’t seem to have any durability. The ink chips off easly with hot or cold cups…..

  • ANN

    low temp oven 200…300?

  • These colors are amazing. i will share them on my blog here:

  • Hovawart

    Could you provide a link?

  • Hovawart

    I don’t see any specific sealer listed above.

  • Roxanne

    What are you sealing with?

  • Pingback: 2014 Last Minute DIY Gift List – For The Home | Style Thirst()

  • Pingback: Last Minute Holiday Gift & Decor Ideas {with links} | ConfettiStyle()

  • sandra

    Hi, please would you tell me with what do you seal alcohol ink? Thanks

  • Denise

    What kind of sealer do you use? I tried polyurethane and it bubbled up when it got wet

  • Linda Clark

    Love working with alcohol inks!

  • Sharon D

    I am mesmerized by these tiles. I am an artist, and always want to learn more and more. I have used Yupo Paper also, but not with ink…These are amazing, can hardly wait to try this… sharon

  • Donalyn Kay Lemons

    Apply Gesso to the canvas first. This should allow for a perfect surface for the inks. :)

  • Emily

    I’m confused as to the tiles. Do I need glazed or unglazed tiles? I plan on making these for a made Christmas gift my family does every year.

  • Emily

    What type of sealer would be used for the coasters?

  • Maria

    What do you use to seal your finished tiles?

  • Maria

    A Spray?

  • Midwest mimi

    I’ve heard a thick coat of gesso creates a surface that reacts well with the inks. Can’t say for certain, never tried it.

  • Midwest mimi

    Shiny works great.

  • Kamryn

    where can we get the tiles?

    • I found mine at a hardware store! I know both Lowes and Home Depot sell individual tiles for around 30 cents a piece!