Using Alcohol Ink With Polymer Clay And Other Craft Supplies

Adirondack Alcohol Inks

Featuring Cool Adirondack Ink From Tim Holtz and Ranger:

Did you get any new craft supplies for Christmas? I sure did and one of my stocking stuffers was a 3 Pack of Tim Holtz’ Adirondack Alcohol Ink. The set I received is called ‘Nature Walk’ and includes the colors Wild Plum, Butterscotch and Stream (See Photo). Tim Holtz from Ranger is one of my favorite crafter’s out there. He has the coolest line of products!

Here is an Amazon link if you want to check out his inks:

I have been ‘dyeing’ (hehehe) to get my hands on some ‘real’ alcohol ink because my homemade alcohol ink recipes are just not strong enough for some of the techniques I have been wanting to try out.

One of the things I really love about working with polymer clay is the crossovers it has between many of the different craft media’s.

Scrapbooking supplies such as alcohol inks, pigment inks, embossing powders, rubber stamps, glitters, punches, embossing plates, eyelets, brads, stencils, powdered pigments, papers and much, much more, can all be used with polymer clay!

And it isn’t just scrapbooking that is compatible with polymer clay. There is also painting, screen printing, woodworking, beadwork (of course), wire working, sewing, knitting (buttons and beads), jewelry making, collage, mosaics, mold making, sculpting, dollhouse miniatures, dried flowers rosary making, and on and on!

So if you like to work in any of these media’s, you may want to consider adding polymer clay to your craft supplies inventory! Or if you are already working with polymer clay, you should consider combining it with some of other things listed above. Polymer clay is the mixed media artist’s dream!

It is a new year! And with every new year comes new possibilities. One of my 2009 goals is to come up with some creative ideas for using alcohol inks in my polymer clay bead making techniques! Ooooh the possibilities!!

Do you use Tim Holtz’ Adirondack Alcohol Inks with your polymer clay projects? If so, feel free to share your tips and stories below. I would love to hear them.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Erickson, 04 January, 2009


    Thanks so much for adding this post! It is just what I have been wanting to learn about!!! You read my mind, Girl!!!

    I will really be looking forward to learning all of the techniques that mix mediums with polymer clay. I can hardly wait!!!

    Thanks and Hugs to you,

    Cindy Erickson

  2. Michelle, 05 January, 2009

    I just “discovered” alcohol inks and polymer clay last month, when challenged to create a holiday ornament for my Mixed Media Art Guild swap. I used the alcohol inks on polymer clay swirls all over a jumbo glass ball, and the result was fabulous! It was the most ornament ‘stolen’ in our swap!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2009

    @Cindy E.: I’m glad! The thing to remember when you use alcohol inks on raw polymer clay is to let the ink dry before you mix it in or bake it. You don’t want to trap the alcohol inside the clay, just the dye.

    @Michelle: That must have felt good, seeing everyone fight over your ornament! I’ve been experimenting with the inks and loving how the beads are turning out. It’s a fun thing to use to! Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment!

  4. KB, 05 January, 2009

    I LOVE Alcohol Inks! I got that same set about 4 months ago, and then went and got all the other sets a few weeks later. I only had time to make one set of beads with them before I moved and I LOVED the way they turned out. I really did not use a certain technique, I just used drops of color on some Premo Peral and gently blended the clay. Here is a link to a picture of them [follow name link above]. The pictures doesn’t do them much justice, as they look much better in person.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 07 January, 2009

    They look great KB! I am loving the alcohol inks too!

    One tip is to make sure to let the ink dry before you mix it into the clay, so the alcohol gets a chance to dissipate and just leave the dye behind.

    That way you won’t run into any problems of getting bubbles in your piece when it bakes! It doesn’t look like this happened to you though, just thought I’d mention it since it probably has happened to others.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  6. Lisa Potter, 07 June, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Bubble Free Polymer Clay:

    Hi Cindy. I started looking to buy the ink after viewing your video on making Opals. Explain how to dry the ink….. Do you squirt it on and just let it sit?
    How long would that take? Getting ready to place an ink order.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 11 June, 2011

    @Lisa Potter: Hi Lisa, You are exactly right! Just wait about 5 minutes and most of the alcohol will have dissipated and you can mix it in without any problem. Hope you are having fun with your clay projects. If you have any trouble with your opals, the newer version in the Katiedids video is a little easier to do. If you are not sure which video that is, I have linked to it by my name.

  8. Diana, 16 January, 2009

    I love the alcohol inks and have all of the sets. I have made all different looking stone beads by mixing the alcohol inks into the clay and well as the pearl x powders. I have also used the inks and powders in acrylic floor finish such as Pledge or Future and it makes any plain looking bead pop. I also use the inks for coloring transluscent clay to form new colors.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 17 January, 2009

    Thank you Diana for sharing your wonderful tips! There really are so many beautiful things you can do with polymer clay isn’t there?!

  10. Phaedrakat, 28 January, 2010

    Has anyone used Adirondack Alcohol Ink “Metallic Mixatives? I posted this question on another page here: I’m wondering if they work well with polymer clay. For instance, can they be mixed into translucent clay like the regular colored inks? If so, is the clay still kinda translucent, or does the metallic ink make it really opaque? Thanks for any help you can give me on this!

  11. Cindy Lietz, 31 January, 2010

    I have not used the Metallic Mixatives with clay yet, but since they are compatible with the alcohol inks, I assume that they should work with polymer clay. Test it out on a small sample to be sure. Just like using alcohol ink, make sure to let the ink dry so that the alcohol evaporates, before mixing into your clay. Let us know how your experiments go.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 16 April, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Alcohol Ink Projects), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Cindy-G. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

  13. Mary W, 14 September, 2013

    Hello Cindy,

    When using Alcohol Inks on raw clay would you need to put a protective coating after baking so the alcohol ink won’t run/smudge?…

    I have alcohol inks that I’d like to use in polymer clay for jewelry making but I’m a bit nervous to do so thinking that if I make a jewelry piece and the wearer sprays on some perfume ( alcohol ) and it gets on the jewelry piece the alcohol ink in it would run/smudge on them and/or their clothing?!?!?

    Any Advice would be appreciated!

    Thanks Much,

  14. Cindy Lietz, 17 September, 2013

    Hi Mary, that is kind of a tricky question since it depends on a few things including brand of inks/ clays and how well the alcohol ink absorbed into the raw clay. If it is made with Premo Clay and Adirondack ink and is totally mixed into the clay, it would be unlikely that the color would run if it was exposed to alcohol (or perfume) but it may if it was just on the surface. Protecting it would be a good idea if you are worried.

    Renaissance Wax will work, but you may lose a little color while applying. PYMII would work perfectly. Liquid clays, acrylic finishes, resins and a host of other finishes may work as well, but I would recommend testing them first to see if there is any undesirable bleed of ink color.

    I have really not had any issues with my ink and polymer pieces reacting with skin or perfume, but it never hurts to play it safe. Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

  15. Helen Barnett, 17 September, 2013

    Hi there,
    I am just testing using ink on clay. I am looking at a tutorial that says to bake the clay that I have textured and then paint on the liquid clay that has been mixed with alcohol ink. The mixture creates little pools in the depressions on the textured clay and looks great. It then says to bake the pendant again – I presume to set the liquid clay. Someone has said that she would be a bit unsure of baking alcohol ink. Can you tell me if I should let the ink dry and liquid clay mixture dry before baking or should I even bake it at all?? Any pointers much appreciated. I then plan wanted to add some sort of varnish over the top. Thank you!

  16. Sue F, 19 September, 2013

    Hi Helen,

    The liquid clay won’t dry on its own (well, it might sort-of dry if you wait a very, very long time, but it’s not like paint) so you would need to bake your piece to set it.

    Alcohol inks can be baked. Just be aware that some of them will change colour somewhat, so it would be best to make a small test piece and bake that to check the final colour before you “paint” your good piece.

    You might not need varnish, depending on the depth of your texture, the depth of your liquid clay layer, and which liquid clay you use, as the liquid clay itself might end up giving a suitable protective layer with a suitably shiny finish. (I sometimes use Kato Clear Medium — Kato’s liquid polymer clay — when I want a shiny coating over a finish that needs to be protected.)

    I hope that helps… good luck! :)


  17. Helen Barnett, 19 September, 2013

    Thank you for your quick reply! You have eased my mind! Will post pictures of the finished products on my website if you fancy a look at what the kids have done.
    Thank you!

  18. Ana G, 19 March, 2014

    Hello Cindy,
    A while ago I painted on raw polymer clay with alcohols inks and covered with translucent clay… This pieces look wonderful, so I wanted to do them again, but I’m doing something different… I don’t know what it is, but after baking the colors change a lot, they are lighter and with no depth… Do you know why can the colors change that much? I’m not sure if it is because I have to wait longer for them to dry and let the clay absorve them, or the other way around… Maby its the translucent layer… I hope you can help me with this matter. Thank you very much!

  19. Cindy Lietz, 21 March, 2014

    Hi Ana, although I have seen ink colors shift a bit during baking, it hasn’t been so much that it bothered me. I like to make sure my ink is dry first though so there isn’t a risk of bubbling, so that could be the reason.

    If you got different results before, then either the formula of the ink changed… or your method of adding it has. Since it would be easier for you to have changed something, I would start there.

    You are probably on the right track in regards to letting it dry, though it wouldn’t hurt to do a couple of little test samples to see. Try letting one sample totally dry before baking and do another one where it was wet. Then see if there is any difference.

    Let us know what happens!

  20. Karen V, 28 December, 2014

    Hi, Just watched your video on making alcohol ink. Have you tried with Sharpies? Take them apart and put in alcohol. Don’t know about clay, but you get really vibrant color and quite a selection of colors.. I use them to stain pottery. I layer them some for an antique look. I recently used a yellow highlighter over a green it really looked good. Oh well just a thought. Thanks for the video. Karen

  21. Cindy Lietz, 28 December, 2014

    Hi Karen, no I haven’t tried that Sharpie trick yet. (They are pretty expensive here and I haven’t had the heart to cut mine apart.) That’s cool though. Maybe I’ll try it one of these days? Only if they go on sale though… lol

  22. Maddie S, 09 December, 2015

    I’m wanting to make wings with my fimo liquid. I want parts to have color but not all. Should I add the color in the liquid clay first and only put the colored part in some spots or can I paint alcohol ink on top of cured fimo liquid?

  23. Cindy Lietz, 09 December, 2015

    Hi Maddie, I haven’t tried coloring the liquid Fimo with inks yet. That would be something that you should do some test samples of first. I am guessing the color would be more even if you mixed it with the clay first, but that is just a guess. Let me know if you try it.

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