The holidays are here which means it’s time for crafters and home makers alike to get on another gear… Sure we could go to our nearest store and stock up on gifting supplies but it’s so much more fun to make our own right? RIGHT.
Let’s get grinchy green and inky and make some Christmas trees.
The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.
For this background process, you really only need a few things:
+ Alcohol Ink: I make my own (see how here) but any kind of any brand will work. A few colors of green and maybe some gold…
+ Blending solution: I also make my own (6 drops of glycerin per 3oz. of 91% isopropyl alcohol- blended)
+Isopropyl Alcohol: the higher the percentage, the better the blending. Denatured alcohol is the best (hardware store) while 91% is more common to find but 70% will work for the purposes of this craft
+Paper: I love using alcohol ink on +GLOSSY+ photo paper as compared to higher end paper. It’s an excellent and much cheaper option for crafts instead of the framable art that alcohol artists use. However, because of the nature of photo paper, it does absorb the ink very quickly and makes it harder to blend. If you need want a higher work time without the cost, I would recommend Brea Reese Waterproof Paper.
+Air source: you will need something to help blend and move the ink around the page. Some people use a straw but this can cause breathing problems. Cool air (air brush, hand pump, etc) is best because alcohol inks are flammable as is the surface of the photo paper. I do use an embossing gun but very cautiously and quickly.
+Mask: the inks that I make do not contain resin which is what is in higher end alcohol inks to help preserve and seal the color. If you use these, you may need a mask (you should have one by now lol) because the resin can cause long term damage if used extensively.
+Ceramic/glass palette: I like to add splatters on all of my projects, including alcohol ink. A ceramic palette will not stain like a plastic palette will.
Be sure to work on an appropriate non-porous surface. Glass mat is best!!! If you don’t have a glass mat, a cookie sheet or pan will work just fine.
Always, always, always spray generously the photo paper first with alcohol or blending solution. If you drop ink directly on the surface of photo paper, there will forever be a round drop of ink.
The only way to learn how to do this technique is to play with the inks. Operate in a constant motion of ink + blending solution + air source. Keep the page moving to avoid giant puddles. If you like a certain section, be sure to dry it as quickly as possible and then move on to other sections.
Play. Play. Play.
This literally took 1-2 minutes to make.
Once the first layer is complete and dry, it’s time to add splatters. I squeezed a few drops of each ink color I used as well as plain alcohol into my ceramic palette. You’ll want to use a cheap (and plastic if possible) brush for this part because the alcohol will dry up and ruin a good paint brush quite effectively.
*Be sure to clean the brush well with soap and water immediately after use*
Photo paper isn’t as reactive to alcohol separation as other papers are because it absorbs the ink quickly instead of sitting on top. This means the splatters of ink or alcohol will not move the colors underneath- much.
Just look at those delicious ink splatter droplets.
This is the final result of the ink play. (Excuse the light beam in the middle- photo paper is extremely reflective). This piece might seem a little grungy for your taste but once it’s cut up into sections- it won’t look so much like a grungy pond.
Cut the trees! You will end up with a LOT of trees! Any scraps left over can be shape (I recommend a star!) punched to be used on other projects.
These trees can be used for art journals, tags, gift wrap, confetti, snow globes, place settings, ornaments…. whatever you want to do! Each tree will be entirely unique in its own setting.
This process also works amazing for ornaments too! Have fun getting inky!
Renae Davis, The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member