Alcohol Ink on Ceramic Tile: Blown vs. Stamped

I started out this alcohol ink project trying to have both stamped inking and blown inking in the same project. It didn't work out exactly how I had planned, but it was really fun to compare the two techniques. This post is image heavy as it walks you through every color combination so you can see how the colors mix and react to the two techniques.

You'll need:
Alcohol Ink (I used 6 colors of Ranger Ink from two sets for this project: Summit View and Dockside Picnic)
Ceramic Tiles
A work surface (like a craft mat)
alcohol ink applicator and felt

The first thing I did was cut a thin strip of painters tape and ran it diagonally across two 4 inch ceramic tiles.

I decided to do the stamping side of my tile first. I started with Purple Twilight (from the Summit View Set) I dripped a bunch of tiny dots onto my felt to stamp my tiles.

The drips were pretty small, and didn't get too much ink onto the felt, so stamping didn't get the best coverage. I tapped the felt across one side of the tile until I had gotten some ink all over. On ceramic tiles, the ink spreads out a just bit as you stamp it when the ink is fresh.

I wanted to get a base of color down, but instead of adding more ink, I opted to thin the ink out a bit to get a base of pastel purple. I used a pipette to drip a couple drops of rubbing alcohol onto my existing felt square (over the purple that was already on it).

Then I stamped it across the purple on the tile and watched it spread out and thin. It turned almost pink.

I continued to stamp with the same felt with no additional ink or rubbing alcohol across both tiles until I had a light purple covering half the tile and the stamping started to create smaller circles or cells in the ink.

Then I started adding the other colors. I dripped two large drops of Sailboat Blue (from the Dockside Picnic Set) over the thinned purple on my felt and stamped it in a scattered fashion over the purple on the tiles.

Next up was Citrus (also from Dockside Picnic). I dripped another couple of drops of the "cool" color side of my felt--right over the blue and purple--and stamped it in a scattered pattern on both tiles.

Then I switched to the warmer colors and dripped two fat drops of Watermelon red onto the clean side of the felt and stamped those across the tiles. I put the red on the clean side so that it wouldn't mix with the green ink and create a muddy brown color when stamping.

Then I switched back the Summit View set and used the Sunset Orange over the red on my felt and stamped it across the tile.

It's a bit hard to tell, but on the last pass, I added the Sunshine Yellow in a few spots across the tiles. The colors from these two sets create a pretty contrast and work pretty well on one felt if you separate the reds from the greens and blues, but if you run into any mixing that you don't like, just grab a clean felt square.

Now for the blown side of my tiles. I opted to use a can of air to blow my ink. You can use a heat gun or a low powered hair dryer, but you have a bit more control over a small area (like our four inch tiles) with a can of air. So I dropped my purple on the tile to start again. I put a few big drops and a couple little dots across the tile.

I was really light on the trigger of the canned air and the ink spread out just a little.

So I added a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol from my pipette again and used the air can to carefully blow the ink around the tile to create a similar purple backdrop as the stamped side.

After the purple base, I added a few drops of blue ink and carefully blew them around. They spread a bit more easily on the surface since it was wet with ink and rubbing alcohol. You can see some little tiny fingers of ink on the left side of the tile where I pulled the trigger on the canned air a bit harder.

I added a bit of the citrus green to places on the tile that hadn't filled in with ink yet and blew it around with the air. You can really see how different that green looks in concentrated spots (far right) versus spread out spots where it is almost light enough to be yellow.

Then I added the yellow next (as I knew the yellow wouldn't mix with the green to turn brown) and added the orange and spread it around a bit with the canned air.

Then I added the red as a contrast and last pop of color. Toward the last couple colors, I was holding the trigger down all the way on the can of air to get the ink to spread in interesting ways. If it's your first time using the canned air with alcohol ink, be sure to cover your work surface well or use a splatter shield as little drops of alcohol ink will travel quite a ways.

After I was satisfied with the coverage of the blown ink, I carefully peeled off the painters tape. Unfortunately, the ink spread under the tape, so I had to come up with a solution. I could have carefully cleared away the ink with a ton of q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol, or I could cover it.

I opted for a messy stripe of gold ink as a dividing line instead. The blown ink and gold ink look so bright, though, that the stamped ink looks a little pale and pastel in comparison.

It was a fun experiment to put these two techniques next to each other, but if I do it again, I'll make sure the stamped side is as bright as the blown side to make for a better match. If you end up with an awesome combo when you try it, be sure to seal your designs with mod podge or an acrylic sealer.


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