Monday, July 22, 2019

Blown Alcohol Ink Switch Plates

A Menard's opened up near our house, so we took a trip over during their opening week celebration to get a free coffee mug and buy a few things. At that trip, I picked up a bag of light switch plates. One of my early posts with alcohol ink was stamping switch plates, I figured it was long past time for a revisit.

This time, instead of stamping, I figured I'd used the blown ink technique. I had a can of air that was just about empty, some rubbing alcohol to thin the ink (in the glass jar with the pipette), some inks, and the switch plate. I got out my craft mats and got started.

For this first switch plate, I wanted to do a mix of one color. So I grabbed all of my non-turquoise blues and got to work. I applied the lightest color--Stonewashed--with some rubbing alcohol and blew it around the tile lightly with my canned air to get a base color.

Then I added Denim on top of Stonewashed (apparently there's a jean-colored theme here). I thinned it out just a bit with a couple drops of the rubbing alcohol and again, gently blew the ink around the switch plate to cover it in ink.

Then I added my last two blues, Sailboat and Indigo. The Indigo is really dark and has a tendency to take over, so I went really easy on it and thinned it out as I worked. The Sailboat is a bit on the aqua side, so I didn't want that to take over either, I layered back in some Denim and Stonewashed to mute the colors a bit. When I was done, I splashed some rubbing alcohol on the plate (not in photo above) to create some tiny bubbles of texture.

After I figured out how to get the ink to move around the tile instead of spray off (barely pull the trigger on the can and move it in circular motions--I'm sure it helped that the can was almost out of ink), the next plates went faster. I selected my colors and thinned them and mixed them around the plate with the air until I liked what it looked like. This switch plate was done with Yellow Sunshine, Orange Sunset, and Raspberry (which is pretty much hot pink).

In this next switch plate, I used Turquoise, Clover, and Purple Twilight. The Purple mixed with the aqua greens and turned blue in places. It was really a cool effect.

For the last one, I was a bit experimental. I wanted to use a lime green and a purple, but they have a tendency to mix together and go brown, so I used a the Turquoise as a sort of buffer and kept adding the Twilight Purple and Wild Plum after I had used the Limeade to make sure it stayed purple on the plate. It was a lot of fun and I felt like it had some neat color combinations when I was done.

After I was satisfied with the look of the switch plates, I let them dry overnight and then I sprayed a light coat of Kamar Varnish over them to set the ink. The Kamar Varnish doesn't react with the alcohol ink (in light coats), but I wanted a sturdier finish since it's something that's going to be regularly touched, so I let it dry a couple hours and then came back with a coat of spray acrylic sealer over top.

I think these turned out so colorful and fun! I can't wait to find places to put them in my house.

Note: Did you see the solid blue stamped one in the photos and think: "Wait, she didn't show how to do that one? Find it here: Stamped Switch Plates

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