DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters

alcohol ink coasters tutorial

Alcohol Ink Projects are all the rage right now and these DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters are no exception. Learn some different alcohol ink techniques to create these gorgeous coasters and then use your techniques to create other projects too! This is a fun DIY craft project for kids as well. 

This is a Home Made Luxe craft subscription box project, which means you can purchase this as a craft kit here! The craft kit contains all the materials you need below to create these coasters. That's right no craft store nightmare trying to find all these materials just grab the craft kit you won't be sorry! 

We created this kit with the amazingly talented alcohol ink maker Arielle of Lemesto. You want to check out her shop right now and look at her amazing creations, it will give you inspiration for what you can create with these techniques or just purchase one of her creations, i scooped up her gorgeous cutting board! 

Materials Needed:

Home Made Luxe Alcohol Ink Coasters Craft Box


DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters Video Tutorial


DIY Alcohol Ink Coasters Tutorial

Step 1 - Prep Your Surface

Wipe down your tile surfaces with a bit of rubbing alcohol to ensure they're clean and free of any oils from fingerprints, etc.

(Optional: Though not necessary you can use the painters tape to tape off the back of your tiles, getting close to the edges of the tile. Rub the edges of your tape with a credit card or your fingernail to ensure a good seal of the tape to the tile.)

diy alcohol ink coasters


BE SURE TO READ THE FULL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU GET STARTED. You will be experimenting and learning techniques first, and then you will create your tiles and seal with resin. 


Step 2 - How to Use Alcohol Inks

Let's start with getting familiar with your tools.

91% rubbing alcohol - this will help your color spread.You'll always use this alcohol and alcohol ink combination with your inks - the ratio is what will determine how translucent or opaque your colors will be.

Hair dryer or heat gun: The hair dryer is a specific technique you can try, it's what creates those defined edges in shapes that you see in a lot of Lemesto's work.

Drop one of each color on a tile to see how they look (don't worry, you can wipe your tile clean and start over whenever you want). Enough ink has been provided to experiment with each of these techniques, just don't go too crazy! You want enough ink left to make your coaster set. Wipe off your tests with some rubbing alcohol - voila, clean tile!

1) Add Ink into alcohol

Now, try squirting out a bit of plain rubbing alcohol, then adding a few drops of your first color to that puddle. Generally, you'll want to use more alcohol and less ink. Think of a "less is more" approach for the use of the ink itself - too much ink, or not enough rubbing alcohol, and your colors will be muddy, sticky, and won't move as beautifully as when they're diluted with the rubbing alcohol.

2) Layering Colors

Layering your two colors is really up to you to experiment with! You can add two colors side by side at the same time or add one color and wait until its dry then do another. They all give you different effects. The ink dries VERY quickly, so it’ll be touch-dry after each layer. But adding alcohol down re-wets it - so there’s really no such thing as totally “dry” while you’re working. Each time you put more alcohol down, it’ll reactivate the ink it’s on top of. So it’s really just about layering until you’re satisfied. 

    alcohol ink coasters 

    diy alcohol ink coasters

    Step 3 - Start experimenting with Techniques

    Now try different techniques to move your ink around the coaster. Now, it's time to experiment - the following are different techniques you can use to manipulate the ink on your tiles. Try each one separately, or combine them to create your own unique designs. We'll apply what we've learned in these experiments when we get to Step 3, but take some time to try each technique first.

    Technique #1: Straw technique

    Blow an ink puddle around with the included straw.

    diy alcohol ink coasters straw

    Technique #2: Tilting

    Tilt the tile around, see what happens and how the color blends. The fewer drops you add, the softer the color - the more drops of ink, the bolder the color. Add your second color next to the first and repeat techniques.

    diy alcohol ink tutorial

    Technique #3: Hair Dryer

    With your hair dryer (or heat gun) about 4-6" away from your tile and moving your dryer in slow, steady motions, try blowing the ink around - the heat will dry it faster and make interesting patterns. The longer you let the ink puddle and run, the more the colors will blend. The faster you heat/dry it, the quicker it will dry and blend together less.

    alcohol ink project with hair dryer

    Technique #4: Splattering Alcohol

    Splatter a bit of clear alcohol over the inks

    Technique #5: Splatter a second color

    Splatter a different color

    Technique #6: Paintbrush

    Wet a paintbrush with some alcohol and/or ink, and pull it through a dried color or a wet color

    diy alcohol ink projects gold

    Step 3 - Add Gold

    Once you've laid down your base colors to your satisfaction, you're ready to layer in gold - it behaves a bit differently than regular alcohol ink. Add 4-6 drops of alcohol where you want your gold, then add 1-2 drops of gold into that puddle. If you want your gold mixed with a color, then add 1-2 drops of your color. Tilt the tile around a bit to spread the gold out, or hit it with the heat gun to really break the gold particles apart. Used without a color, it'll dilute the colors under it. Used with a color, it will mix sparkle in and edge the colors of your patterns with gold. 

    how to make alcohol ink coasters


    Step 4 - Create your Tiles! 

    Now that you've experimented with each technique, get to work on your tiles! You can use just one of these techniques, or a combination of all of them. My personal favorite is moving the ink with a hair dryer to get nice soft shapes (the trick is to be slow and steady with the dryer - patience is a virtue!), and then splatter some clear alcohol on top for texture. You can combine different colors within one technique, or layer them on separately - it's up to you! Continue adding your colors, layers, and gold until you're satisfied - you can always remove things you don't like with a paper towel wetted with the rubbing alcohol. You can make all four coasters similar, or make them all completely different - it's up to you! Finally, even though they may feel dry to the touch now, allow your coasters to dry for 24 hours before applying resin. This ensures any remaining moisture in the ink will evaporate out.

    Step 5 - Prep for Resin

    Elevate your coasters with plastic cups and put inside your Home Made Luxe box to protect your workspace from the resin. Make sure your surface is level. Work in a well ventilated area (an open window and a fan will do) that is at least 72 degrees.

    Step 6 - Mix your Resin

    Put on your gloves, then open up your resin. Add Part A, the hardener, to your mixing cup, then add part B, the epoxy, to the same cup. (the critical part is that you add equal parts A and B. 

    Using the stir stick provided, mix your resin for a full three minutes, making sure to occasionally scrape the bottoms and sides of the cup. You'll notice the resin go from cloudy to clear as you to use resin for coasters


    Step 7 - Apply the Resin to Coasters

    Alternating between your four tiles to ensure even coverage of all four, pour your resin into a puddle in the center of the coaster, spreading it towards the edges with your stir stick. Don't let it sit in a puddle too long without spreading it, or you'll see lines from the edges of the puddle in your alcohol ink. Work back and forth across all four, spreading the resin fully across each tile and letting it run over the edges. You can scoop run-off off your surface below with your stir stick if you find you need to cover spots. Run a blow dryer on the hot setting or a heat gun over them to pop any bubbles in the resin. Make sure your edges are all well covered. Check back frequently in the first half hour to make sure the resin isn't pulling away from your edges, and scoop up run-off and spread it over the edges as needed if it is.

    how to use resin for coasters

    how to use resin for coasters

    how to use resin for coasters

    how to use resin for coasters

    Once you're satisfied with the coverage, leave your coasters to cure and make sure the room stays at 72 degrees or warmer for best results. If you're in a room with dust or pet fur, it's recommended that you cover them to prevent dust from drying into your resin. Make sure whatever you cover them with doesn't touch the coasters - a large shoebox or similar works well. Do not touch your coasters for 12 hours - I know it's tempting! At 12 hours, they will be dry enough to handle.

    If you get resin on any materials that needs to be removed, a bit of rubbing alcohol will do the trick. If you get it on your skin, wash with warm soap and water until residue has been removed, or use a dab of olive oil to help. Do not remove resin from your skin with rubbing alcohol.

    Step 8 - Finishing Touches

    (Optional if you used painters tape: Once dry enough to handle, blast the tape on the back with hot air from a blow dryer or heat gun - this will soften the resin a bit to make removing the tape and drips easier. An Xacto knife can also help with stubborn drips)

    Peel the adhesive off your cork squares and attach to the back of your coasters (figure 10). It's recommended that you do not use your coasters for at least 72 hours so the resin can fully cure. Do not use hot mugs/containers for the first 30 days.

     how to make alcohol ink coasters

    alcohol ink diy projects

    diy alcohol ink coasters


    diy alcohol ink coasters tutorial

    1 comment

    • NF

      This was my favorite craft yet! More involved, a new way to be creative.

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