This is a step by step tutorial on how to seal alcohol ink. Alcohol ink is an absolutely gorgeous medium to work with. It is fun and versatile with regards to which substrates you can produce alcohol ink art on.
You can make alcohol ink art on yupo, on nara paper, on mugs, alcohol ink glass projects, plastic, ceramics, on tiles and more.
To preserve your alcohol ink art art, you must be sure to seal the alcohol ink properly. There is a tried and true method for how to seal alcohol ink art, and this can be applied to sealing alcohol inks on yupo, plastic, nara paper or on tile.
Let's get into how to properly seal alcohol ink and protect the artwork from fading over time.
Protecting alcohol ink art is important. The art piece needs to be sealed because it is dye-based and is not lightfast. It will slowly break down through evaporation and by ultraviolet light, and your art will slowly fade, but you can slow this process right down with the proper sealing.
It is important to follow these exact steps in sealing alcohol ink art, and they must be done in this exact order. Otherwise, if you spray alcohol ink with UV protectant spray before the varnish, it can reactivate it and ruin your artwork.
Not to worry, if you follow these steps for how to seal alcohol ink on yupo, nara, tile or plastic, it will be properly protected.
It normally takes approximately 72 hours for alcohol ink to dry on a surface. It may feel dry to the touch soon after finishing it, but you want your medium to fully cure on the substrate it is on before introducing another medium to seal it with.
If the alcohol ink has not totally dried and cured, there is a risk that it can be reactivated.
Find Krylon Kamar Varnish on Amazon here
This is the most important step, and that is to seal the alcohol ink painting. For this, you will need to spray it with Kamar Varnish.
Kamar Varnish is the spray varnish of choice for the majority of alcohol ink artists. It is a synthetic artist varnish and is an archival quality acrylic resin, so it will not yellow over time.
Kamar Varnish is used to protect:
This clear varnish keeps colors vibrant and fresh and can be used on:
Kamar Varnish feels dry to the touch in 15 minutes, and can be handled after 2 hours.
Here are the exact steps to take for how to seal alcohol ink with Kamar Varnish:
*Please use proper gloves and a respirator when working with both alcohol ink and varnish. We use the N95 equivalent respirator from Parcil safety for our alcohol ink art and all of our resin art.
Check price of the proper respirator to use here
Find Krylon Kamar Varnish on Amazon here
STEP 1. Wearing the proper safety gear, spray the alcohol ink art by holding your can of Kamar Varnish about 12 inches away from your substrate and spraying in a continual motion of back and forth until your entire piece looks slightly wet and it is covered.
STEP 2. Let the varnished alcohol ink art dry, about 1-2 hours.
STEP 3. Follow the same procedure on your alcohol ink art with a second coat of Kamar Varnish.
STEP 4. Let your varnished alcohol ink art dry for 24 hours, and then seal with a UV protectant, which we will talk about below.
It is important to know that the Kamar Varnish is used to seal and protect art from dirt and moisture. There is some protection against fading, but it does not have added UV protection.
This brings us to our second step in sealing alcohol ink art, and that is to add some UV protection.
Find Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coating Spray on Amazon here
This is really an equally important step in protecting and sealing your alcohol ink art. In this step, you will protect the alcohol ink from UV rays by spraying with a UV protectant.
UV rays are the number one reason why alcohol ink fades and breaks down over time. You need to give it some sun block! For this, you will need to spray it with a UV protectant spray.
Because UV rays are the ultimate enemy of alcohol ink, you are going to want to spray several layers of UV protectant spray on your alcohol ink art AFTER you have varnished it, and the varnish has completely dried/cured.
For this, we recommend using Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coating Spray.
Check price of Krylon UV-Resistant Spray on Amazon Here
This Krylon UV spray contains both UV absorbers & stabilizers. These come as a powerful combination of UV Absorber (UVA) and Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers (HALS). This UV sprayed art can be handled after 2 hours.
To spray and seal your alcohol ink art with Krylon UV spray, you are going to follow the same directions as you did with the Krylon Kamar Varnish:
Once your art has been sprayed with varnish, UV protectant spray and the optional clear gloss and has completely dried and cured, it is ready to be displayed! How exciting!
Watch how to use alcohol ink on our YouTube channel. In this video we are creating a stunning design using alcohol ink supplies and an air tool.
More helpful resources you may be interested in:
Alcohol Ink Safety: Everything you should know
Best Alcohol Ink Markers & Brands
We hope you found this article helpful and resourceful! We would appreciate any save to your alcohol ink Pinterest board. We will leave a pin for you to save below.
Have a crafty day!
Hi Pam, so glad you found this article helpful :)
Just curious you say you can do this on cups is it safe to drink out of them after properly sealing them?
Very helpful as I am just a beginner. Thank you.
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DIY Craft Club Admin
September 11, 2022
It depends on which sealant you decide to go with. Whichever you choose, head over to their company website and read the product information to see it if is food safe. Sometimes they will be food safe for ‘incidental contact’, which means, the food can touch it briefly, but probably won’t be safe for touching the mouth to it directly. So find one that is food safe, and then as an added safety, we would recommend defining where you think your mouth would touch the cup, and then keep your art medium and sealant below that area. Hope that helps!