Alcohol Ink on Glass | How To Properly Paint Glass

Alcohol ink on glass

The use of alcohol inks on glass is a creative technique that has been around for centuries.

It was originally used as a way to decorate glass windows and other items, but can now be found in modern art galleries and homes alike.

Today we are going to discuss the different glass surfaces you can paint with alcohol ink, as well as how to prep your glass surface for painting, different methods of applying the alcohol ink to your surface and sealing it after drying.

Let's get into it.

Alcohol Ink on Glass

There are many different surfaces you can paint alcohol ink on, and glass is an absolutely perfect surface to display those beautiful colors. You see, because of its super fast evaporation, alcohol ink works best on non-porous surfaces, like plastics and glass.

This is why so many alcohol ink artists like to paint on yupo paper, since yupo is not actually paper but is a type of plastic that looks like paper.

Glass is a very popular surface to paint alcohol ink on not only because of its non-porous properties, but because it is see-through and will allow light to pass through it, creating an almost ethereal effect with your art.

Here are the supplies you are going to need to create alcohol ink on glass:

  • Your glass surface of choice: this may be an old window, glass Christmas ornaments, broken tempered glass for resin art (please use ultimate caution and PPE if doing this), glass in photo frames, vases, light bulbs and more. Please use glass that you are not planning to serve food with. This should be for decorative purposes only.
  • Alcohol ink (see the best places to find alcohol ink here)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • A mini air compressor (here's a great one from Amazon)
  • Pipettes (Not required but they are helpful for precision)
  • Any add-ons such as gold inks or metallics (we love using Pinata brass for this)
  • Krylon Kamar Varnish to seal the ink once complete (found here)
  • A respirator to protect lungs from alcohol fumes and varnish (we use this one and also wrote an article on the best respirator for alcohol ink
  • Nitrile gloves for your hands

    Alcohol ink on glass

      Let's go through the steps for creating your next beautiful alcohol ink art.


      1. Prepping your glass surface:

      The prep work for alcohol ink painting is much like any other paint project you've done. If possible, clean your surface thoroughly and make sure it is completely dry before applying alcohol inks on to it. For glass, you can clean it with a glass cleaner, nut you are going to want to make sure it is completely dry and clear of any surface cleaner before applying your alcohol ink.

      You can also use watered down rubbing alcohol to wipe off surfaces before starting this process.

      Next, you are going to want to seal off the edges or the parts of the glass you don't want alcohol ink to get on. For this, you can use either asking tape or painter's tape to help seal off your edges or areas. This will also minimize any bleeding of alcohol ink while painting.

      Now that your glass surface is prepped for alcohol ink, it is time to paint it.

      Lay out all of your supplies in front of you. Choose your colors, make sure your mini air compressor is plugged in and is ready, and have your proper PPE on (gloves and respirator).

      Here we go!

      Alcohol ink on glass


      2. Painting your glass with alcohol ink

      Start by laying down some isopropyl alcohol on the glass. You can use your pipette for this or any small dropper tool. Remember, wherever you lay down your alcohol, that is where your alcohol ink will travel, so make sure you don't lay down too much or too little for your vision.

      Drop your alcohol ink color of choice down, and blow it around with your mini air compressor.

      Continue to do this until you get the look you were going for.

      You can mix in more color with another drop of alcohol ink, or blend colors. 

      Once you are finished and are happy with how your glass looks, let it dry completely. This can take several hours for a full cure.


      3. Seal your alcohol ink glasswork

      It is very important to seal your alcohol ink on glass. To do so, use a clear acrylic varnish. The varnish that most alcohol ink artists use and trust is Kamar varnish by Krylon.

      In a well ventilated area (outdoors is best, and we recommend using a respirator) lightly spray your art. Use a light, continual spray until your art is covered, and lay down flat to dry.

      After 2 hours, spray a second coat and let dry for at least 24 hours laying flat.

      Voila! Your alcohol ink art is done! Hang it somewhere gorgeous and enjoy it.


      Here are some questions people are asking about painting alcohol ink on glass:

      Can alcohol ink be used on glass?

      Alcohol ink is a fantastic medium to use on a glass surface that you would like to paint or add color to.

      You need a carrying medium to diffuse the ink across your glass surface and a source of air to push the ink around to achieve the desired look.


      Is alcohol ink permanent on glass?

      Alcohol ink can be permanent on glass if it is sealed properly and is not put into the dishwasher.

      It will also last longer if kept out of direct sunlight as UV rays can diminish the colors of alcohol ink over time, even with a UV-protectant spray.


      Do you have to seal alcohol ink on glass?

      Alcohol ink really should be sealed if being used on glass as it helps preserve the image as well as the color intensity and hue.

      UV rays from sunlight will fade alcohol ink over time, but sealing your alcohol ink on glass will help slow this process.


      Will alcohol ink wash off of glass?

      Alcohol ink can wash off of glass if it is not properly sealed. It may also diminish if it is put through a dishwasher over time.

      However, if you are asking can alcohol ink wash off of glass because you want to erase a mistake, then you can apply some isopropyl alcohol and use a clean cloth to wash away a spot or your art as long as it was not yet sealed.


      How long does alcohol ink take to dry on glass?

      Once your alcohol ink appears dry, it takes about 24 hours to cure and be completely dry.

      Let is sit flat if it is a flat surface, or in the best position possible if on a non-flat surface, and cover it if you can to prevent any dust from settling on it.


      Here are some other resources you may be interested in reading:

      Alcohol Ink Safety

      Alcohol Ink Tutorials


      We hope you found this article helpful. Please be sure to save a pin to your alcohol ink Pinterest board! We would appreciate that.

      Alcohol ink on glass

      Happy creating!

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