Inking Along | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Inking Along

Alcohol Inks

Alcohol Inks Photo by Amber Helsel.

If you like to make art, you probably know how expensive supplies can be. For example, decent-quality acrylic paint can run you anywhere from $4 all the way up to $50. But art supplies do not always have to be pricey. Did you know you can make alcohol ink with just a few household supplies and things you probably have on hand? Here's how.


Alcohol ink example

Keep in mind that any type of paint or ink you do-it-yourself is not going to be as high-quality as student- or professional-grade supplies, but it's a fun way to start.


91 or 99 percent isopropyl alcohol (the higher the percentage, the more alcohol is in the bottle)

Old markers (permanent works best)

X-ACTO knife or other sharp blade

2-ounce bottles (you can also use cups)



If you do use a cup for this, it would be best to cut the cartridge in half, slice each down the middle and then cover that with alcohol.

There's something else you can make with old markers: watercolors. Just repeat the above steps, but submerge the cartridges in water.

Wear gloves if you don't want to get your hands covered in permanent marker.


Uncap the markers, and if you can, take out the nib and place it in one of the bottles.

Using the pliers, pry open the marker to get to the cartridge. This part can be difficult, so it's best to do it in a space where there's nothing around you. Take it from me: You will knock something over if you're not careful. And do it carefully.

Once the marker is open, take out the cartridge and slice down the middle with the knife. X-ACTO blades are super sharp, so be careful with this part. You could also probably use scissors.

Put the cartridge in the bottle with the nibs and then cover everything with isopropyl alcohol. You want to submerge the marker insides as much as possible, but keep in mind that the ratio of alcohol to cartridge will affect the ink's concentration. 
 Let the mixture sit for a few hours (I let it sit overnight), and then take everything out.

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