Crafting at the Library: Alcohol Ink Tiles

Here’s a craft that we did at the Central Library over the summer and we’re going to be doing it again at the Crozet Library on November 19 (sign-up here), as well as a few other branches in the upcoming months.

This craft is recommended for adults, as the alcohol ink can stain.

IMG_1790 (1)

Supplies needed:
Ceramic tiles, white 4”x4”
Alcohol ink
Rubbing alcohol- use at least 91%
Foam brush (although paper towels will do in a pinch!)
Acrylic sealer
Paper towels
Small paper/plastic cups
Cardboard or newspapers
Optional: Felt or cork pads or small frame

Step 1: Put a few paper towels on a flat piece of cardboard on several newspapers and place tiles on paper towels. The paper towels and cardboard will catch any excess rubbing alcohol and protect your table.

Step 2: Pour a little rubber alcohol in a paper/plastic cup. Use the foam brush to lightly spread the rubbing alcohol on the tile (only a little is needed). If you don’t have a foam brush, put the rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and spread it on the tile.


Step 3: Put a few drops of ink on the tile and move the tile around to spread out the ink (keep the tile over the paper towel to catch any leaks). Alternatively, you can put a few drops of ink on the tile and just let them spread by themselves, or blow on them lightly to mix the ink.


Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use more than 4 colors because the colors will get muddy.
  • Each tile only needs about 15 drops of ink total.
  • And, work quickly as it will dry very fast.
  • You might want to add a little more rubbing alcohol and ink after a few minutes if there are any blank spots, but be careful, as adding rubbing alcohol will alter what is already on the tile.

Step 4: Spray (lightly) with 2 coats of sealer. You should do this in a well-ventilated area or outside. If you don’t spray your tile with sealer, the paint will flake off eventually.


Finally, add felt or cork pads to back of tile to use as a coaster. Or, frame the tile for a unique piece of art.
If you don’t like your tile, just wipe clean with some rubbing alcohol and start again!

Here are a few books for more crafting inspiration:
Creative Ceramic Painting by Cheryl Owen
Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini

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