Alcohol Ink Painting On Glass: Hot Tips & Techniques!

by Stephen Hans

painting alcohol ink on glass

Photo credit: Roslynka on Etsy


Turn those empty picture frames, glass vases, wine glasses, glass ornaments, and more into display-worthy works of stained glass art in minutes by painting the glass with alcohol ink!


Ever wondered how to paint alcohol ink on glass to make beautiful stained glass artworks?


Alcohol ink looks stunning on almost any non-porous surface, and it looks especially gorgeous on glass! You are essentially creating stained glass with this technique, which even further enhances the vibrance and luster of the inks.


What Do You Need To Paint Alcohol Ink On Glass?


The fantastic news is: this technique could not be more simple! You just need a glass surface like a picture frame with a glass pane, or a vase, and a nice set of alcohol inks! (You may also want some canned air and/or a straw to blow on the inks and move them around a bit as they can dry very fast!)


Step 1: Thoroughly clean the glass surface with a mild detergent to remove any grime, smudges, and oils. Then allow it to completely dry.


Step 2 (optional): This step is optional, but we like to lightly coat the entire glass surface in a layer of clear blending solution to help the inks to blend together and flow beautifully.


Step 3: Squeeze a few drops of alcohol ink onto the prepared glass surface and manipulate it as you like by tipping the glass, blowing on it with a straw, or giving it some targeted blasts of canned air.


Step 4: Allow to dry, and you are done! (You may also want to consider protecting your new work of art with a sealer, but that's for a different article...)


glass table painted with alcohol ink

Techniques For Painting Alcohol Ink On Glass:


Multiple Panes: If you are painting on glass panes, consider using multiple panes to create a stunning 3D layered effect. As the light shines through the multiple panes and the colors layer over each other, the effects can be truly dramatic!


Live, Laugh, Love: Consider flipping over one pane (to protect the art) and applying a vinyl saying to the glass to add even more spice to your project.


White Backing: Alcohol inks on glass really pop when they have a white backing, so if you are working on a picture frame, consider putting a bright white surface behind it.


Let There Be Light: You are essentially creating stained glass with these techniques, and nothing looks more beautiful than sunshine light shining through a stained glass window. So make sure you place these works of art in areas that get plenty of bright light to truly enjoy their luster. To create a truly magical effect, fill a glass vase with fairy lights! (Please note: sunlight can make any pigmented ink fade, so it is best to keep your artworks out of direct sunlight)


Fired Glass: Some artists like to light their artworks on fire, literally. After laying down their inks, while still wet, they will use a lighter to burn off the excess alcohol and create fired glass effects. However, if you do this... please be sure all the proper fire-safety precautions are taken and nothing flammable is anywhere near where you will be working. We do not recommend this technique if you are not experienced at using it.


Mask It: Masking fluid can be your friend when painting on glass and it works fantastically. Use the masking fluid to create negative space shapes and effects where the ink will not stick. When finished layering on your beautiful colors, remove the dried masking fluid to see the full effect!


A Little Goes A Long Way: T-Rex alcohol inks look amazing on glass. Their heavily pigmented vibrance makes for gorgeous works of art, and just a few drops goes a long way!


If At First You Don't Succeed: No worries! Just use some isopropyl alcohol, alcohol wipes, or clear blending solution to clean off the glass and start over! The ink won't absorb in since it is non-porous, and it will be as good as new in no time.


The Last Word


Painting alcohol ink on glass is a blast and a fantastic project for all levels of artists. The whole process could not be more simple. Try this technique on floating picture frames, ornaments, glass beads and pendants, glass vases, the outside of glasses, and more! Have other tips? Let us know in the comments!


painting alcohol ink on glass vase