Alcohol Ink Coasters - The Surznick Common Room

Monday, January 13, 2014

Alcohol Ink Coasters

Do you ever make something to give as a gift to someone, but never make it for yourself? I'm realizing that I pretty much do this constantly. I think everyone I've given Christmas gifts to in the past two years has 1) a scarf knitted by me, and 2) a set of these alcohol ink coasters. For some weird reason I don't have a single scarf that I've knitted for myself or a set of coasters, but considering these coasters are so easy and cheap to make, I think it's about time the Surznick house has a set too!

Here's what you need to make your own!
- Alcohol inks
- Plain white tiles
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton Balls
- Clear spray paint
- Felt pads, or a sheet of felt for cutting small squares

Alcohol inks can be purchased from a craft store like JoAnn's or Michael's, but I think you can even get them at Walmart too. I've always purchased Adirondack brand in a pack of 3. They are usually around $7-9 a pack (but JoAnn's always has coupons so I'm sure you can snag them for cheaper!) Single white tiles can be purchased from Home Depot for 16 cents apiece!

First, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and coat the top of your tile. If you're making a set of coasters, I recommend coating one at a time so that the rubbing alcohol doesn't dry out. The purpose of the alcohol is to allow your inks to blend together. Once your tile is coated, drop the alcohol inks on your tile in any pattern you'd like. A little goes a long way, so don't use too much!

Remember when I said these were easy? I meant it. The rubbing alcohol pretty much does the rest of the job for you! The inks will slowly move and blend together making new colors and patterns. One of the nice things about this project is that if you ever feel that you added too much ink, you can just dab it with a paper towel! And if you really, really don't like how your coaster is turning out, you can wipe the whole thing clean with rubbing alcohol. Once I'm satisfied with how the tops of the coasters look, I like to color the sides with the inks as well. The inks sometimes drip down the sides when you're coloring the tops, so coloring the sides will help hide the drips. The sides are super porous so they soak the ink right up!

In the photo above, the bottom right is the first tile I did. You can tell that the inks have started to dry, as it looks different from the top right, which is the last one I did. Once the ink on all tiles is completely dry, spray them with a coat of clear spray paint to seal the inks. In the past, I have always used Rustoleum spray paint, but this time I used Krylon, for no reason except that is what I had on hand. When I sprayed these yesterday, the spray paint actually moved the ink even though it was completely dry. I've never had this happen before and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have a panic moment like, "MY PROJECT IS RUINED! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BLOG ABOUT THIS WHEN IT TURNED OUT COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN IT NORMALLY DOES?!?" But Nick talked me down and assured me that these still look pretty even though they turned out a little differently than I expected (he's so swell).

So anyway, after the clear spray paint has completely dried, attach felt pads to the bottoms of the coasters so that you don't scratch your table when you use them. The first time I made these, I bought one sheet of black felt and just cut tiny squares that I hot glued onto the bottom of the coasters. 8+ sets of coasters later, I'm still using the same sheet of black felt! So if you want to take a cheaper approach that you'll get a lot of use out of, I'd recommend just buying this (plus, those little sticky felt pads always fall off things anyway.) Once your felt feet are in place, you're done!

Despite me being a drama queen, I'm still super happy that we finally have a set of these for ourselves. Have you guys ever used alcohol inks for any projects? I'd really like to use them again to make these... so maybe alcohol inks will be making an appearance on the blog again soon.

If you try this at home, make sure you show us!

Sarah & Nick


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