Everything you need to know about using Alcohol Inks on Rocks

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Alcohol Inks on rocks is my new addiction! I love experimenting with new ways to create and using alcohol inks on rocks has become my art therapy. Using alcohol inks on rocks is a fun way to create abstract art while experimenting with different art tools and how it reacts with other colors. Alcohol inks have a water consistency and will have an alcohol type smell. If you are sensitive to smell, consider working near an open window. The inks are fast-drying with vibrant pigmented medium to be used on non-porous surfaces.

Beginner Tips for using Alcohol Inks on Rocks:

  • There are several brands of alcohol inks on the market, I used the Tim Holtz collection. As I beginner, I choose the Tim Holtz brand because each set comes with 3 complimentary colors that work well together for blending. If you’re feeling brave, I have found some YouTube videos about how to make your own alcohol inks using just sharpie markers and 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
  • Blending Solutions are used for diluting the highly pigmented colors and blending the alcohol inks together. It’s also used for cleaning paintbrushes, work areas, and hands.
  • When applying the ink to rocks be sure to work fast, the ink will dry fast since rocks are porous. You can apply the blending solution or plain 91% Isopropyl alcohol to the rock to continue working with the inks.
  • Techniques: There are many tools used to apply alcohol ink to your project, felt applicators, straws, can of compressed air, paintbrushes, and stamps. The list is really endless, just use your imagination.
  • Art is messy, but alcohol inks can stain hands, clothes and some surfaces. Be sure to prep your work area with plastic tablecloth and use a sturdy board to put under your rocks to absorb the runoff ink. I used a piece of cardboard and that worked just fine. Wear an apron or your favorite rock painting shirt with a pair of nitrate or latex gloves.

Now rocks are porous, but I tried it anyway to see how it would look.

Here’s what happened…

I started with 3 smooth rocks and 1 rough rock, then painted 2 smooth Mexico beach (gray) rocks and the white rough rock as well. I left the white smooth rock untouched.

alcohol inks on rocks

Then I used the alcohol inks on all the rocks and got different effects on all the rocks.


  1. Alcohol Inks
  2. Blending solution or 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol in a squeeze bottle or mist spray bottle
  3. Apron or old paint shirt will due
  4. Nitrate or latex gloves (I ran out, so I got pretty inked up!)
  5. Small container of 91% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol for brushes
  6. Additional tools for your preference (straw, hairdryer or compressed air can, paintbrushes, and cotton swabs)

alcohol inks on rock

  1. Drip a few drops of alcohol ink onto your rock. Less is more!
  2. Let the ink spread, you can help move it around by blow on it, you can use a straw or canned compressed air to get a dramatic look.
  3. You can also use a paintbrush dipped in alcohol to create more spreading.
  4. Use different colors and see how the colors blend together. Use more alcohol to wet the alcohol ink by misting it on or using a paintbrush.
  5. Add more drops of alcohol ink and blending solution until you think your rock art is done.
  6. Let it dry completely before using a high gloss sealer spray.

How to use Alcohol Inks on Rocks Tutorial on Youtube

I hope you enjoy this tutorial for Alcohol ink on rocks. Looking for more rock painting ideas visit Tips and Tutorials and Rock Painting Guide’s Pinterest boards!
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