Alcohol Ink Glass Gems
Always looking for a new way to use alcohol inks, I decided to try them out on glass gems. You know, the kind you buy at craft stores to fill up jars and vases (or as point markers in board games). I have amassed quite a collection of glass gems for crafting and game playing. I pick them up when they go on sale at Michael's or when Dollar Tree starts selling new varieties. I think the large clear gems I have below are from Dollar Tree, though I'm not sure. They are sold most places that sell craft supplies.
I picked out some gems that were relatively flaw free and set up my work space with my craft mat. Using my DIY applicator, I dripped ink onto both ends with two different mixes of colors. I found that this method worked well and allowed me to try different combinations and layers on each gem without having to reload my applicator multiple times. The bolder colors seemed to show up the best through the gem, and smaller patterns of colors seemed to look the most impressive. Just keep stamping until you get colors that look nice. The colors will become more defined the longer you stamp them. If you don't like how one turns out, just wipe it off with a bit of rubbing alcohol and start over.
I found that I really liked using my gold and silver alcohol ink on these gems. They were such fun and went so quickly that I made a nice pile of gems. I let them dry for a bit (doesn't take long) before flipping them over.
When I took the photos below, I was really pleased with how they turned out, but I noticed they were leaving some marks on the white cardstock I had them sitting on for the photo.
So I flipped them back over and applied a thin layer of mod podge to seal them up. (You could also use an acrylic sealer, but it's 5 degrees out and there's a foot of snow on the ground--so not really spray paint weather here.)
When they dried, I glued some flat bails onto the back of a few with some E6000 glue.
Then I strung them up with faux suede cording. I picked some of the darkest colored gems to make into necklaces since they looked the brightest and would show the bail through the design the least. The next time I make these, I may play around with putting a layer of foil or paper behind the design to make it pop and keep the bail from showing through. Even with being able to see the bails through these gems, I think they turned out pretty cool, and I can't wait to wear them.
Love these!! Thanks for the tutorial. I had done something similar but with sharpies. I like your finished product better :-)ReplyDelete
I have yet to try sharpies with alcohol to create the alcohol ink effect....I'll definitely post a tutorial if I ever do. Thanks for visiting the blog!Delete
These are gorgeous, what a wonderfully creative idea. My friend found this link on Pinterest. Thanks for the inspiration 😊ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I have a ton of fun making them!Delete
What are alcohol inks?ReplyDelete
Alcohol Inks are an alcohol based dye ink that comes in small bottles and can be dripped or stamped (with a felt applicator) onto smooth nonporous surfaces (glass, plastic, painted wood, glossy cardstock, metal, etc...). The two most common producers are Ranger and Jacquard. I have only ever used the Ranger brand Alcohol Inks. They can be picked up at Michael's or Jo-ann's in the stamping section.Delete
I made my own alcohol inks with sharpie cartridges diluted in a small bottle of alcohol. They work well, but still cost a fair amount... I used 3 packs if 8 sharpie colors (just didn't use the black or brown) and they came out really intense. I am just beginning to experiment and bought some gems after seeing your blog. Maybe i will take the time to try it tomorrow! (Btw I go the Ranger starter kit, but haven't tried that one yet).Delete
Posted This Tutorial On My Blog!!ReplyDelete
Thanks! I hope you have fun trying it out!Delete
Hi Sarah Jane, thanks for the tutorial. I know it was awhile ago, but I was wondering what you used to make them look black on the edges? I keep trying but mine don't look as good as yours. :( Also,d do you have any experience with TH crackle paints? Because I'm struggling with that too. :) Thanks!ReplyDelete
They don't look quite as dark in real life as they do in the photos, but choosing the most vivid colors of ink to work with helps. I also tried backing some of the gems that turned out lighter with some aluminum foil. It worked out fairly well.Delete
Found this on Pinterest. I am going to have to try it; these would make fabulous cabochons for my beadwork! Also, just a minor caveat, when you mention using E6000 it's always a good idea to remind people to use the minimum amount needed and work with it in a well-ventilated space. It's a very effective glue, but it's also toxic. (This is one of my rant topics, since I've seen it misused and not enough people read labels!)ReplyDelete
They are so much fun! I hope yours turn out great. It's always a good reminder about the glue.ReplyDelete
In a word? Awesome!!!!ReplyDelete
My first attempt at these didn't get me the texture look that you have can you tell me what the technique for getting the circles etc. Mine are pretty but not quite like yours I will get more beads today and try again just thought I would see if I would be able to pick your brain.ReplyDelete
Use dark/saturated colors and keep stamping. They will look watercolor-y at first, then the more you stamp, the darker the colors will look and the more separated (circle-y) the ink will become. Some color combos will work better than others. And you can totally layer different colors over the top if your first set of colors isn't working.Delete
How do you apply the sealer ? Does it work on glass and is it clear and glossy? does it leave any texture or its smooth? I have been searching everywhere for the best sealer for glass, but still with doubts. Your gems are great! Thank youReplyDelete
I have used Mod Podge with a foam brush. It left a little texture on the back, but very minimal. I have also used some spray sealer that doesn't leave any texture as long as you spray a couple very thin coats on it.Delete
And I have used both glossy and matte. Since only the back of the gem needs to be sealed, they both work well.Delete
For sealing glass, I use the diswasher safe mod podge, however still always handwash the hand painted items. Apply using a very soft, smooth brush. I prefer a flat or slight angle and tapered. Acrylic is fine. Martha stewart also makes a version of the product that seems to come out just a bit smoother.Delete
I have tried using a foam brush and mod podge to seal alcohol ink on glass (and ceramic tile) and the foam brush, even when used lightly, smears the ink. I prefer a soft bristle brush for this reason.Delete
Yep, it will leave a bit of a texture which might be unsightly on any projects where the mod podge is the finish you see, but since it's on the back of the gems, it's not usually noticeable from the front of the gem (which I do not seal since it doesn't have any ink on it). But yes, softer brushes can help minimize that texture a bit.Delete
How many layers of colors did you have to put on? I have tried about 4 layers, and you can still hardly see the color.ReplyDelete
It depends on the colors, but I usually don't have to use a lot of different colors, I just have to stamp the same colors (usually 2 or 3 colors) several times. Sometimes that means 5-6 stampings and sometimes that means 10-12 stampingss. It can also help a bit to let the colors dry for a bit (like less than a minute so they're not completely set) between layers.Delete
I just want to thank you for your generosity in sharing this with us. God bless you!ReplyDelete
This is really cool, one of the best gem tutorials I have seen, and I have looked at A TON.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting it, and the links to the supplies. Following your blog now.
Thanks! I hope yours turn out great!Delete
Sarah Jane, they are beautiful and it is so kind and generous of you to share your technique with us! I can't wait to try them myself. I do have a question--did you use the blending solution? I'm thinking you did not because when I've used the blending solution, it makes the colors look like watercolors and yours look much better than that, much more intense; they remind me of opals.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much!
Nope, I usually don't thin the ink with blending solution or with rubbing alcohol when I make these. I also will stamp until the ink starts to get a bit drier (stickier might be a better way to describe it) so that it separates a bit more.Delete
Can you use the technique on different colored stones? I have a ton of them!ReplyDelete
The colors may show up differently, so it may take some trial and error....but I don't see why it wouldn't work. You've got me curious now, I may just try it myself. :)Delete
Great tutorial! These are beautiful! TFS xxxReplyDelete
Where are the flat bails available?ReplyDelete
I bought mine on Amazon but anywhere that sells jewelry making supplies usually has them.Delete
I backed mine with silver nail polish that I got for the Dollar Store and they turned out beautifully.ReplyDelete
That sounds like a great idea! Thanks for the tip!Delete
I tried making some with the applicator method and it did not work well. I had better luck with just putting the inks on the back and letting them mix. Did you do anything to help them to stick to the back of the glass?ReplyDelete
I stamped repeatedly. The ink will get a bit tackier as it dries. Also some colors of ink are more saturated and just show up better than others.Delete
I'm wondering if these would work with lighter colors of pink, orange and yellow. I have a peach colored opal that is a pendant and I've been searching for some matches to where with it for like half my life. I was hoping you could answer before I invest. Totally awesome and love the way they turned out. Is there anyway you can get some of the blemishes off the larger gems. D.S. ones seem to be covered, are they all like that to an extent?ReplyDelete
The lighter colors totally work--but they are more transparent. You might need to back the marble/glass gem with something (I've had luck with aluminum foil tape--but I'm not sure that's the look you're going for). I usually just buy extra glass gems (they can be found cheap) and sort out all the ones with big blemishes like cracks and seams. But a little blemish often adds character.Delete
I've had great success with adding the alcohol ink to a foil paper, let dry and cut out to glue into a pendant tray with a cabochon. Looks beautiful, lots of compliments too!ReplyDelete
That sounds like a neat approach. I've tried backing the glass gems with both tinfoil and with aluminum foil tape (which works great), but I've never tried inking the paper or foil instead of the gem. I'll have to add it to my "try it out" list!Delete
I say Mod Podge if you are doing anything else will leave scratch marks. Be ware.ReplyDelete
Sealing glass is tricky. I usually opt for mod podge or backing the gems with foil tape these days.Delete
I work for a senior activity center and these would be fun to make. Question in regards to stamping, do you place the clear backside of the gem down into the felt applicator OR do you place the felt applicator on top the the gem ( that is face down on the table) and stamp that way? Thank you!ReplyDelete
I usually stamp onto the gems, but they wobble around. You could totally try it the other way, too. Just make sure to work in a well-ventilated room!Delete