Alcohol Ink Background Technique: 2 Colorways – Ellen Hutson

(*Affiliate links used whenever possible at no extra cost to you.)

Have you played with alcohol inks yet? They are a fun medium to experiment with to create amazing backgrounds, paint die cuts or stamped images, and much more! Today, I’m sharing how I make my “signature” alcohol ink background. I’m also using the EH current sketch challenge as inspiration. After reading, be sure to check the EH blog for more details on how to enter the challenge and win a gift card.

May is National Strawberry Month so I wanted to use some common strawberry colors (pink, red, and green) as my color palette. I love color, especially bold color! Alcohol inks pack such a beautiful punch of color so I decided to share how I make my signature alcohol ink background. It’s looong overdue as I’ve been promising to share this technique for some time. I like to play with alcohol inks in a variety of ways, but a background I tend to create again and again has a drippy, striated, organic look. It is easier shown in a video than described in text, so be sure to head over to my IG to see a reel. After the background is done, the rest of the card is pretty easy! Having a sketch helps take the guess work out of element placement/layout.

Some tips to create a similar kind of alcohol ink background:

  • The supplies you will need are: yupo paper or similar, alcohol inks in colors that blend nicely together, alcohol blending solution, and a paper towel (recommended). The paper towels help to catch run-off ink and makes it easier to clean up. But you can try letting the ink run onto your glass mat and then pick up the leftover ink by spraying isopropyl alcohol and smooshing your paper into it.
  • Make sure to hold your paper at an angle when you draw lines or scribbles with your alcohol inks. Use enough liquid so it runs down the length of the paper.
  • Between the lines of alcohol ink, add some blending solution. You don’t need to do it between every line of ink, but experiment to get a feel for what too much or too little blending solution looks like.
  • Blending solution will blend inks together so the colors touching should mix well together. You don’t want to make mud (unless you do, of course)!
  • Continue adding ink and blending solution until you cover the panel and the pattern is as you want it. 
  • Tip the panel back and forth to create varying textures with the inks.
  • I encourage you to just go for it! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as alcohol ink is easy to clean off and start over. The more you practice, the more likely it is to find your own signature background technique.

For the pink background, I used Watermelon, Flamingo, and Gumball (my favorite bright pink) alcohol inks. For the green background, I used Limeade and Pistachio alcohol inks. I trimmed each panel to roughly fit the sketch challenge dimensions and adhered them to A2-sized card bases with a foam sheet. I stamped and die cut several flowers and leaves from the Essentials By Ellen Painted Florals set. Part of the sketch included a horizontal layer near the bottom. I didn’t want to cover up the background I worked so hard on so I decided on a piece of vellum. But it looked too plain, so I splattered pink alcohol ink to add some contrasting texture. Lastly, I had so many previously foiled sentiments from the Casual Greetings Hot Foil Stamp in my stash so I added one on each card to finish them off.

What do you think? Will you try this alcohol ink technique? Let me know in the comments! If you make something inspired by this post, please tag me, @ink.therapy.designs and Ellen Hutson. We love seeing what you create! Thank you for stopping by the blog!


Happy crafting,

I’d love to connect with you! Please follow me on IG and my blog, and reach out and say hi!

*Affiliate disclosure: I only use, review, and blog about products/companies I actually like and will continue to use. Some of the products shown on my blog use affiliate links. These affiliate links allow me to earn a small commission when products are purchased through those links. *This is at no cost to you!* Please do not feel obligated to use my affiliate links. If you choose to use these links, thank you so much! It helps support my blog and bring new content to you. Read the full disclosure on the about page.