5 Ways to Use Alcohol Ink in Your Polymer Clay Bead Making Projects

Alcohol Inks

“You’ve inspired me to order some alcohol inks. Had to get clay anyway so I figured what the heck.” ~Silverleaf

One of my favorite craft supplies to use with polymer clay, is alcohol ink. It is deeply pigmented and in my opinion, has unlimited uses for all kinds of techniques. Here are a few of them:

1) Tint Liquid Polymer Clay: Just a few drops mixed into some Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS), Bake and Bond, Fimo Gel or Kato Liquid can give you a tinted translucent clay that can be painted on clay or used as tinted washes for techniques such as faux ceramic and antiquing. Mix in some mica powder for a metallic look.

2) Tint Solid Translucent Clay: A drop of alcohol ink will also tint your solid translucent polymer clay without affecting its opacity. Let the alcohol evaporate before mixing into clay.

3) Use As An Exciting Colorant: You can see examples of projects at these links…

4) Use To Color Non-Porous Items: Alcohol ink will color metal, glass and acrylic surfaces that you may include in your jewelry pieces. I find if you make sure the ink is applied to clean, oil free items and then heat set with an embossing gun, the ink will adhere best.

5) Other Ideas: You can also use alcohol ink in many faux techniques such as faux opal, faux jade, faux ceramic, faux stained glass and faux enamel… all of which I plan to teach you in time. So much to do, so little time :)

Hopefully you can see there are lots of creative uses for alcohol ink. Pick up a bottle or two and start playing with it. Here’s some info about the Tim Holtz Adirondack inks that I have been using quite a bit lately: Using Alcohol Ink with Polymer Clay

You can even make a reasonable homemade version with the recipe at this link: Alcohol Ink Techniques for Polymer Clay Artists

So what else do you want to know about alcohol inks and polymer clay. Comments, questions, ideas? Post them below.

By the way, the Spotlight article scheduled for this coming Friday (September 4th), will feature Sliverleaf’s (she’s a member here) beautifully crackled leaf pendants colored with… you guessed it… alcohol inks! In her write up she will be discussing challenges, solutions and selling successes. You won’t want to miss it!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. I have the set you use, Stream,Butterscotch,Wild Plum but I also discovered (and there was only one pack each of these at the store) they’re called Brights and between the two packages you get Red through Purple. I haven’t used any of these yet but I plan to.

  2. Orange and Copper Necklace by Silverleaf


    I kind of feel special now. :)

    I really need to get on and start finishing some pieces already. Now I have a rock tumbler I have no excuse for not getting some jewellery ready to sell.

    Oh and I do have a new piece (pictured to the right) which also uses alcohol inks. The beads are translucent coloured orange with inks with copper leaf and gold glitter, and (inspired by Cindy’s copper pieces) copper wire work. It’s not really my usual style but I’m very pleased with how it came out.

    Alcohol inks are expensive but as they last for ages they’re definitely worth it.

  3. @ Cindy Graveline

    Can you get to one of the craft stores, the inks are usually with the stamping pads. Might be less expensive that paying S&H and all that.

    just a thought.

  4. @ Ken H.

    I checked at my local craftstore(and the only one in my city), and they did’nt have alcohol inks, and lots of other supplies I wanted… I wish I had a Michael’s here…

  5. @ Cindy Graveline

    I’m sorry, I guess I’m spoiled, and think everyone has access to these resources, I appologize.

  6. I just picked up alcohol inks last week and I’m very excited about giving them a try. Your 5 suggestions were like – Oh! Ooh! and Ooooh!

    @Silverleaf – Love your piece with the copper. The colour is right up my alley.

  7. I love mine! I got some when I saw the smooth raku video! I have most every set they put out. I got them at Michaels.
    Silverleaf- I would love more detailed info on how you made that! It is so pretty!

  8. Anna, that necklace set with ink is gorgeous, and love the blue seed bead insertions. Also popped over to your site again (folks, go see her knitted hedgehogs!!!) and that oblong wire wrapped donut shaped pendant is stunning. How did you get the idea to create that shape? Amazing….

  9. Great comments guys! I’ve been dying to try some of those new ‘Brights’ from Tim Holtz. I love the Earthy tones of the Adirondack colors but it would be fun to also have some bright clear colors as well!

  10. Thank you for the nice comments everyone!

    @Ken – Yes I thought it looked kind of oriental too.

    @aims – How strange, I’m really not a fan of orange so I very rarely use it. But it’s definitely good to move out of your “comfort zone” once in a while.

    @Carrie – Guess I really should write up how I made that! Perhaps that’ll be the spur I need to start me blogging again.

    @Jocelyn – The oval pendant was made for one of Michael’s work colleagues. She wanted something in silver colours and I suggested a kind of wire-wrapped ring effect. I actually made two, one round and one oval. When she saw it she decided she wanted the oval one but in pearl instead of silver. I still have the silver ones.

  11. @ Silverleaf

    After my comment I did some research, apparently Cinnabar contains mercury. I was surprised when I read that bit of information.

  12. It’s very beautiful jewelry, I have a book with instructions on how to recreate it in PC but haven’t gotten to try it yet.

  13. Thanks to all of you that add your comments to Cindy’s instructions. I find that I am learning alot from all of you too. I was watching this Carol Duval segment on the web yesterday (HGTV) and it was about cinnabar and jade lookalikes. It is under the segment that features leather-like pillows in case this link doesn’t work. The lady teaching this is from Kato Polyclay. She explains the dangers of using real cinnabar:

  14. Hi Cindy. I’m new to polymer clay, but your style of teaching has made me almost an instant expert. You should have a show on HGTV. You are great!
    Jill Van Der Meij

  15. OK Jill… you get the “made-my-day-award” for today… and it’s not even noon yet (I’m out here on the west coast :-). Thank you so much for taking the time to write those very kind words. Sharing feedback like this really gives others great insight about what they can expect from the video tutorials. I truly appreciate your support.

    Very much looking forward to hearing more about how your beads and jewelry projects are coming along. If you are interested in showcasing a few of your pieces in an upcoming Spotlight Feature at my blog, then please do email me with a selection of your favorite pics, and we can then chat further about making this happen for you.

  16. Has anyone tried the Adirondack Alcohol Ink “Metallic Mixatives?” They have them 40% off at JoAnn’s right now, in 2-color pkg’s: Gold/Silver, and Pearl/Copper. I bought both, but I wanted to see if anyone had any tips. I don’t want to try them out only to find that they do not work with clay the same way as the inks. If they’re not polymer clay friendly, I’d like to return them. So, any “Do’s or Don’ts with these?

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