Not too long ago, I asked on our Facebook page if there was anything our subscribers wanted to learn more about. We had a response for information on alcohol inks, specifically on yupo paper and tiles. I used to play a lot with alcohol inks when I was paper crafting, and I thought this was a good request for me to take on because I already had some experience with them. So I went looking for a cheap set of inks on Amazon to play with, but something jumped out at me while I was browsing my options…
You can use alcohol ink to color two part resin.
Welp, that sent me right off on a tangent. I already had two resin kits sitting on my shelf that I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to try out. So as soon as the inks came in, the first thing I did was break out the resin.
When I went resin shopping, I didn’t know much about it. I relied on user reviews and price to decide what to purchase, and in the end went with two different brands: ZenQ and Teexpert. Both are low/no odor, which was also important to me because I want to be able to use the resin during the cold Wisconsin winter. I tested out each brand by making a one ounce batch, and really found no difference between the two. With both it was recommended that you measure by volume and not weight to get the best cure, neither smelled at all while I was mixing them, and both cured in about the same amount of time. In some of the reviews people mentioned having curing issues, but I didn’t have any problems at all, even though I’m a total noob. So just read and follow the directions and you’ll be fine.
The cliff notes version on mixing, is that you pour equal amounts into separate cups, then mix them together into a third cup. Of course, being the rebel I am, I didn’t do that. The measuring cups provided in the kits are plastic, and it seemed silly to throw three in a landfill when one would suffice. I just used the lines on the cup to measure a half ounce of each part into the same cup and started stirring.
When you first mix the two parts together, you’ll see a clear marbling, and then the mixture will go cloudy. You’re going to want to mix until it’s clear again with no marbling. Make sure you’re scraping the sides and the bottom while you mix, the whole process takes about 3-5 minutes, and then you’ll be ready to pour.
When you’re working with resin and alcohol ink, you need to wear gloves. The resin isn’t good to get on your skin, and the alcohol ink stains everything it touches.
You can add the ink directly to your resin to color it, but I was just playing and wanted to see what kinds of effects I could get. Instead of coloring my resin, I dropped ink down the sides of my molds and poured the resin on top of it. Some I stirred the mixture with a toothpick, others I just let sit and do what it was going to do.
Then came the hardest part, waiting a day to unmold my creations.
As you can see, each brand of resin made about the same amount, there was no change in the volume after they were mixed. What surprised me was that they weren’t hard when I unmolded them. They weren’t sticky anymore, but all of them were bendable. So I left them to sit out of the molds for another day, and in that time they all hardened up.
Some of the swirls in them were really stunning, and it was so exciting to unmold each item to see how they all turned out. It really made me want to make more because it was so much fun!
I made a bunch of clear pieces as well as colored ones, because I wanted to try some different techniques on the resin. So now that all of my frames and bottles had cured completely, it was time to start making them into cool things!
I had also purchased some silver ink because the alcohol ink kit I got didn’t have any metallic in it. So the first thing I tried was just straight painting with alcohol ink. After it dried, I used a black acrylic paint wash over it to give it some depth, and it turned into this stunning frame that looks like it’s made of metal.
Most metallic paints look grainy when they’re dry, but the alcohol ink doesn’t! It’s a great way to make something that really looks like it’s made out of metal.
Next I took one of the clear resin frames, and painted the inks onto the back. I used yellow and brown inks, dabbed on in layers, and once they were dry went over it with the silver ink to make it so the frame was opaque. The technique resulted in this dimensional art deco look that glows when the light hits it.
Lastly was a frame that I marbled in the pour. The frame was perfect as is, but I wanted to play up the antique feel of the portrait. I did a Mod Podge image transfer onto wood, and antiqued the edges with some of the brown alcohol ink diluted with some rubbing alcohol to add to the age.
Now I know this isn’t what my subscriber asked me for (if you’re reading this Jeanne, I promise I’m working on the yupo paper techniques), but I wanted to share it with you because it’s just so much fun. I was really afraid to work with two part resin, because I’d heard stories of catastrophic failure, but it turns out it was actually really easy. Just read the directions, start small, and you’ll be fine. I can guarantee I’ll be doing more of this craft in the future.
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