A couple of weeks ago, I tested how different alcohol ink blenders/extenders worked in comparison to 91% rubbing alcohol. I started with a simple splatter tile test. I decided the next thing I should test would be how they behave when stamping the ink.
So I set up 3 4-inch ceramic tiles to test. The first one used 91% rubbing alcohol, the second used Ranger (Tim Holtz) brand Blending Solution, and the third used Pinata (by Jacquard) Extender. The dark dot of ink on each tile is a control (what the ink looks like without any thinner). Then I tested a single dot of ink with the thinners and stamped them until the ink started to run out/dry up. As you can see--the Pinata Extender allowed for the most stamps, with the rubbing alcohol coming in second, and the Ranger Blending solution coming in third. All three thinners thinned the ink. The rubbing alcohol and the Blending solution created some white overly thinned areas, and the Extender seemed to blend with the ink the best, but they all did the job.
Next I stamped on some additional colors to see if there was significant difference across the tiles. I added colors and drops of thinner to the felt and stamped until the tile was completely covered. The end results aver very similar. The Pinata Extender solution seems to edge out the others, but at an eighth the size and over twice the price, I'm not sure it beats out rubbing alcohol for every day use.
So I was left with inked tiles, so I needed to turn them into something. I had some vinyl meeples (people pawns that have become an emblem for hobby/strategy board gamers) that I cut when I was making initials for our electric toothbrushes. I figured they would make good coaster decals. So I peeled them off of the vinyl backing and stuck them down like stickers.
They were jazzed up a bit, but they still felt like they were missing something.
So I inked the edges so they weren't stark white. The edges aren't glazed, so the ink soaks into the tile, but at least it wasn't such a contrast--they can blend in.
I felt like the tiles needed a bit more blue to correspond with the decal and to add some depth to the ink. So I stamped on some contrasting dots.
Then I used some blending solution (rubbing alcohol would work just fine for this) on a cheap cotton swab (the plastic variety with tightly woven cotton work perfect for this) and dotted the solution on the tile to remove ink in places and create little bubbles of white.
When I was happy with my contrasting ink and dots of white, I painted a thin coat of mod podge over the tile to seal it. It's important to seal alcohol ink on coasters as the ink will run if it comes into contact with any alcohol based liquid. Clear acrylic sprays work too, but they can react with the ink (so be sure to spray a very thin coat on to start).
Mod podge can get gummy if exposed to a lot of water, but I haven't had any problems using it to seal coasters. If you are worried, use the outdoor or dishwasher safe mod podge or spray your mod podge with some acrylic sealer (the mod podge should keep the ink from reacting to the spray sealer as long as you use light coats).
Then I cut some squares of white felt and glued them to the tile back with tacky glue to finish off my coasters.
Now I have the perfect coasters to use on game night! What started as a test, turned into a fun set of tiles. Though I'm starting to see the potential of the Pinata Extender, the rubbing alcohol works just fine in most situations.