Paper for Alcohol Ink Painting
by Stephen Hans
(Image Credit: Sarah Murphy, @PaintedLane)
"What kind of paper should I use for alcohol ink art?"
Alcohol ink features absolutely beautiful vibrant colors that pop off the paper thanks to the liquid and high amount of pigmentation. It dries fast, flows freely, and can be manipulated to produce many different effects. To get these beautiful effects though, you need to use the right kind of paper for alcohol ink!
What Is Alcohol Ink Paper?
The best alcohol ink papers are made from a material called polypropylene which is a kind of thin, flexible, nonporous plastic. This material comes in various thicknesses, colors, and levels of translucency. The beauty of using polypropylene paper for alcohol ink art is that it keeps the inks on the surface, bright and fiercely vibrant. Also, since it does not absorb any of the pigment, you can continually work and rework the piece to your heart's content. You can technically even wipe the paper clean and reuse it from scratch!
What Is Yupo Paper?
One of the most popular and highest quality brands of alcohol ink paper on the market is Yupo Paper. It is nonporous, waterproof, and tear-free. It comes in a variety of sizes, weights, and styles. Be sure to watch out for the weight of the paper and color as well as you might be ordering translucent paper when you actually want white! (Although both work great) You can even purchase it in rolls for larger art pieces. It has just the right texture and finish to it to make working with the alcohol ink a real joy.
Other Alcohol Ink Papers
Yupo isn't the only name in the game though! Pixiss, Nara, TerraSlate also make great quality alcohol ink papers that are made from the same polypropylene material and come in a variety of options. The textures, weight, and finishes are a bit different. So try them out and see which you like the most!
Cheap Alcohol Ink Paper
Photo Paper might be the cheapest option for alcohol ink paper. Artists have reported that using the non-glossy side of the page works best as it absorbs less of the ink than the shiny side. Be sure to test test test first though, because results may vary depending on the brand and type of photo paper used.
(Image Credit: Elizabeth Karlson, @ElizabethKarlsonArt)
Other Substrates For Alcohol Ink Painting
Glossy ceramic tiles are another inexpensive and extremely popular substrate to use for alcohol ink art. The glossy side will take the ink beautifully, but do be warned that they must be sealed afterward or the ink will scratch off the surface. Hot tip: Ceramic pots, sculptures, and vases also make amazing surfaces to paint on with your inks.
We often get asked if you can use canvas for alcohol ink painting. And the answer is yes! However, most artists prefer to prime the canvas first with a waterproof primer to make it... you guessed it... non-porous. This way the ink stays on the surface, and all the pigment pops.
In reality, anything non-porous can be used for alcohol ink painting! Tumblers, sheet metal, glass panes, mineral paper, Aluminum foil, melamine board, acetate, wax paper (on the wax side), Shrinky Dinks, clay board, dominoes... the list goes on! Don't be afraid to try new things and test them out.
What do you like to use? Have any great tips for painting with alcohol ink? Be sure to share your tips in the comments!