Alcohol ink is a medium that is really making a splash in today's modern art, craft and DIY projects. From Alcohol ink stained glass, to alcohol ink art on yupo, on ceramics, stone, leather, as colorant in resin and more.
Alcohol ink art is versatile, really fun and beautiful. But is alcohol ink safe to work with? Is alcohol ink toxic? Let's explore that question and discover ways to work safely with alcohol ink.
Alcohol ink is a very highly pigmented, fast drying ink medium. It is fast drying because, like the name says, it is ink that is based in alcohol. Alcohol evaporates quickly off of your substrate leaving a highly pigmented ink, which means you are breathing the evaporated alcohol in as your art cures.
Yes, alcohol ink is toxic due to the evaporation of alcohol. This evaporation leaves alcohol vapors in the air that you are breathing in, so you need to protect yourself with a proper respirator mask from these microscopic, airborne, toxic particles. Especially if you are also using isopropyl alcohol to blend your alcohol inks.
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA), also referred to as isopropanol, is a chemical that’s commonly found in rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, and certain cleaning products. IPA poisoning occurs when your liver is no longer able to manage the amount of IPA in your body. (Source: Healthline)
Alcohol inks can be diluted and it is common practice to use isopropyl alcohol to blend and create movement in alcohol ink. So if you are working in a closed in room with alcohol ink and isopropyl alcohol, yes, it can be a toxic environment.
There are a number of things you can do to work safely with alcohol ink mediums. These include:
Working outdoors with alcohol ink will allow for constant fresh air and will be helpful for your lungs and respiratory tract, although it has its pros and cons:
Wearing a full face respirator mask is highly recommended when working with alcohol ink. A full face respirator will protect your eyes, nose, respiratory tract and lungs from toxic alcohol ink fumes and isopropyl alcohol.
Respirators are also handy and versatile for many different projects around the house such as:
With this information in mind you are going to first look for the proper respirator for alcohol ink fumes in terms of filters, and also one that has adjustable straps so you can fit it properly to your face. A good thing about adjustable straps on a respirator is that others in the house can use the mask as well because it will fit any size of head.
Respirator filters for alcohol ink protection:
What else do you need to look for in a respirator for alcohol ink?
When looking for a full face respirator mask to work safely with alcohol ink, you are looking for one that protects you from VOC's and seals around your face properly. The respirator should feel comfortable on your face.
This is the best respirator mask for working with alcohol ink. This PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator by Parcil Distribution, who is based in the USA, checks off the boxes for alcohol ink safety.
This respirator for alcohol ink safety offers:
When working with alcohol ink, you will want to protect your skin by wearing the proper gloves. The area of highest exposure on your skin when dripping alcohol ink and isopropyl alcohol onto a substrate and blowing them around with an air brush, is your fingers and hands.
Latex is an excellent choice in the medical field as it protects hands against viruses and bacteria; however, when it comes to working with chemicals. Latex is not the safe choice of material for working with alcohol ink.
When working with alcohol ink, many of the MSDS say to wear "impervious gloves". So let's talk about gloves that will protect hands and fingers from alcohol and ink absorption.
Working with alcohol ink is fun and a very enjoyable medium to play with, but make sure you are properly protected when doing so to maintain safety. Especially if you are varnishing your alcohol ink art afterwards as well.
Be sure to save a pin from this article to your Pinterest board or share with any social groups you are a part of. Spread the safety word.
Here are some alcohol ink articles you may also find useful:
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