Alcohol Inks are a wonderful way to add a unique background to your stamping project. The brand that is the easiest to find is Adirondack Inks by Ranger Industries. They come in 8 different kits of three coordinating bottles each, or you can order individual bottles as needed. There are also two sets of Metallic Mixatives(Pearl, Gold, Silver, Copper) that can be used with the Adirondack Inks for wonderful metallic effects. These give wonderful results on any non-porous surface, such as glossy cardstock, glass, tiles, or even dominos. Used on pearlescent papers it gives you a wonderfully lustrous look which is shown below in the red (left) and brown polished stone technique samples, unfortunately these do not show up well here.
First you need to pick you colors, up to three work best, if you do more than that you might end up with a muddy looking finished piece. Take your applicator or choice – Ranger also makes a wood handled felt pad holder and felt pads for this application, or you can use cotton balls. If you use cotton balls though, be warned – these will stain skin. You may want to use disposable gloves. Put a few drops of each color randomly onto your applicator and randomly dab onto your surface. This is a wonderfully easy way to make a polished stone background. The lighter and faster you dab the surface, the smaller the effect will be. For a larger version, simply hold the applicator down on the paper for a second or two using a bit of pressure if needed, then move to another spot on the paper. Remember, randomness is the key to this particular effect.
Another great technique is to drag your applicator across the paper instead of dabbing it. This will give you a lined effect which is quite pretty. You can variegate the colors or alternate them depending on the look you want. The more you drag the applicator over the same area, the fuller your end result will be. You can make any pattern your heart desires. I like to do randomly turn the applicator in circles on the paper for a wonderfully artistic looking background. Go ahead and play, the wonderful effects you can create are endless. The picture below shows a random circle pattern and a wavy dragging of the applicator over several passes.
If you want to soften any of the end results Ranger makes a Blending Solution that can remove some of the color as well as soften any “hard” edges on your stone technique or help blend you variegated effect further. This is shown in the green sample pictured above.
If you are looking for a new and interesting way to add a new level to your artwork, try alcohol inks. They are amazingly fun and easy to do. They are not a large investment and will give you professional results very quickly.