Homemade Alcohol Inks

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Alcohol ink crafts ALWAYS catch my eye on Pinterest. They are SO PRETTY, but the inks are SO EXPENSIVE. Luckily, I found a recipe for homemade alcohol inks and decided to give them a try. I’ve used it several times and it works amazingly.

8 bottles of alcohol ink in various colors with text "homemade alcohol inks"

I love home crafts. I love getting my hands dirty are making something beautiful. I have made some pretty awesome alcohol ink coasters with my inks. I have made them twice, about 3 months apart and from the same bottles of ink. Both sets were equally amazing.

Why homemade over storebought alcohol inks?


If you want to just skip all this and get right to making amazing ink crafts, just skip this page entirely. The lowest price I found was around 3.00 per 0.5oz bottle. There weren’t many options at that price, though.

A pack of alcohol inks is likely to run you upward of around 60.00.

These inks, while no doubt amazing, aren’t anywhere as fun as the DIY version I am going to show you. You’re just going to end up spending a pretty penny for something that can very easily be made at home for a fraction of the price.

You also get a ton more ink from making them at home.

Color choices

Again, you can buy a pack of 24 and have most colors. But you can personalize your inks if you make them at home. What’s better than having your own personal alcohol ink colors for your projects and crafts?

Nothing. Exactly.

Kid Friendly Craft

While I don’t recommend this for any kids that don’t understand the basic principles of the word “”permanent”, this is a great craft for older kids and teens.

Just make sure you keep a watchful eye, otherwise the ink can ruin something permanently.

DO they work like the store bought brand?

Again, I have made coasters with my homemade inks. I have made them twice because they were so fun and I loved the end result. The inks worked really well for this.

I have never purchased alcohol inks, so I have no idea if they work any better. I have never needed to, and I choose not to spend money on things that I can make myself for cheaper.

In the near future, however, I plan to post an article about the differences between store-bought and DIY alcohol inks. I’ll keep ya posted.

What You’ll Need

Empty bottles – I have my inks stored in this bottles. I now also recommend these, however, because they offer less mess and more control over your ink.

Bottle of 91%-99% Isopropyl Alcohol

Permanent markers

Small knife (Exacto or box cutter works well)

A pair of disposable gloves (these are latex free and powder free)

The above supplies are recommendations that I have based on my experience.  This post does contain affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase. No additional cost to you, of course. You can read the really boring stuff about it here.

Steps to make homemade alcohol inks

Get your empty bottles and fill them about halfway with 91%-99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Keep in mind that the less alcohol you put in your bottles, the more vivid your inks will be.

This is especially important for the lighter marker colors.

Find the opening of your chosen markers and break them open. You may need plyers or a handy man. I had the latter.

Take the ink wadding out.  At this point you are going to use a knife and cut the outer wrapping on the wadding.  DO NOT CUT IT ALL THE WAY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. It will make a huge mess and you probably won’t be able to get all of the floating pieces of wadding out of your bottles.

Also, make sure you cut the wadding on something, both to protect the surface of your table from scratches and to keep the ink contained.

Put the marker wadding down in the bottles, each color going in a different bottle. Unless you’re living dangerously, then you can make your own colors. If you’re that person, I like your style.

Let them set for at least a few hours, or overnight. I shook mine lightly every few hours. This isn’t a step, just a sign of my impatience.

When you’re ready to use them, take the marker wadding out and ring the excess alcohol ink back into the bottle. Use gloves for this step. Trust me.

You’re now ready to use your alcohol ink in all types of projects. Check out the alcohol ink coasters I did with the kids.

Let them sit for a while.

Frequently Asked Questions about homemade alcohol inks

Will regular markers work?

I have only used Sharpie brand permanent markers, so I cannot attest to this personally.  I have read other blogs that state they used regular coloring markers or a different brand of permanent ones.

My inks aren’t very bright. What did I do wrong?

Chances are you either used too much alcohol or the marker you used was too light in color. The lighter ones (light blues, light purples) don’t show as vividly as some of the other colors. I would recommend adding a secondary color and letting it sit for an additional few hours.

Some of my colors didn’t work very well the first go round. Next time I make these, I will probably add extra ink to each one. We’ll see how that works and I’ll give an update.

Rach, this sounds horrible. Just tell me where I can buy them.

OK, OK. If you’ve made it all the way through this article and you still want to buy them, I won’t try and stop you.

As always, I recommend starting with Amazon. These alcohol inks come highly rated and aren’t too expensive. Plus, if you’re a Prime member, deliver is free.

If you aren’t Prime, what are you doing with your life?

Missing out, that’s what. Check out Amazon Prime here. It’s a game changer, believe me.

Some of my favorite things

Here are the links again to what I used in this DIY recipe

31 thoughts on “Homemade Alcohol Inks”

  1. Hmmmm. I m looking at your post and would like to make a suggestion. Put some tinfoil over your baking sheets to work on your tiles. That way when you light them on fire they will be contained in a fire proof container and your ink spills will be contained. Just dispose of the foil when you are done for instant cleanup.

    • That’s a great tip. Thanks.

  2. great instructions! thanks and keep painting.

    • Glad you liked it. Keep crafting.

  3. TYvm.!! I love you INSTRUCTIONS and My new Inks.

    • Yeah, I’m so glad!!! Thanks for trying it out.

  4. I will give this a try thank you !

  5. I am going to give your Inks as definite try, and your coasters too. Thank you ever so much for the helping hints. I appreciated you and them.

    • Awesome!! Let me know what you think!

  6. Going to tackle these soon. Wondering how much alcohol you used per marker? 30 ml? 60?

    • I don’t think I measured. I believe I just poured it in to cover the marker. Knowing what I know now, I’d say the less alcohol, the brighter the colors.

      • Got my first 4 colours done. I did 60ml & they’re turning out GREAT!!
        Thanks for the info 😉

        • Awesome! So glad to hear it!!

  7. several years ago my husband and i got into fountain pens. we lost interest in that, but still have quite a few bottles of ink. i keep wondering if that could be used? what do you think?

    • Oh, I don’t know. Is there a shelf life for ink?? That’s a good question. Sorry I’m not more helpful. Let me know what you find out!

  8. I was wondering in you can use dried up markers for making the alcOhol inks…thinking the alcohol would reconcentrate and able to use. What do you think or have you tried.

    • I haven’t tried this but when you do let me know. I’m curious.

      • I will and thank u for sharing. Now is the blender just alcohol?
        U are so unselfish i feel blessed to have found u.

  9. Can i usevacrilic paint? I have a wh box Of SMALL bottles.

    • I don’t think you can use it to make alcohol inks.

  10. Seems like using expensive sharpie pens and other supplies is more expe than just buying alc ink …

    • Maybe. It’s cheaper for me to make them. I did it because it was a fun activity to do with my kids. I just wanted to share it in case other people wanted the information.

  11. buen dia!! esta genial esa idea… tengo una pregunta ¿ si uso esa tinta en potes de mermeladas o salsas, la tendria que colocar por dentro o por fuera del tarro? y tendria que hornear??

    • Si entiendo la pregunta, puede usar cualquier tipo de frasco. Simplemente pones el contenido dentro y lo dejas reposar. No hay necesidad de hornear.

  12. Do the bottles have to be Glass? I bought plastic!!

    • Nope, I used plastic too!

  13. This helped me with I project Im working on. (I cant get all caps off- sorry. Im not yelling. 🙂). I need tinted protective goggles. I would simply buy some but I already have plenty but they are clear instead of tinted. I’ve already tried mod podge plus food dye, glue plus dye, coloring with sharpie etc…. These all failed. I have so many Sharpies and permanent markers so I thought I would try to make alcohol ink. Easy Peasy! Now my clear plastic frames are sitting in a bath of the diy A.Ink. I think its working! The best tip I got was warning to not to use too much alcohol. Fingers crossed 🤞 For myself, this was zero money spent. I had an excess of markers and a large bottle of 91% rubbling alcohol

    • Yeah!! I am so glad it helped you 🙂

    • I’m trying to paint on glass using a clear glue plus dye mix. Have u ever tried that before?

      • I have not. Let me know how it goes 🙂


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