Alcohol Ink Coasters

How to Make Alcohol Ink Coasters: Step-By-Step Guide

May 16, 2024

Alcohol ink coasters have become increasingly popular as a DIY decor item, thanks to their vibrant and customisable designs. These coasters allow you to express your creativity and add a unique touch to your home. Even if you have no prior artistic experience, making alcohol ink coasters is a perfect project for beginners as well.

As you get more into alcohol ink coasters, you'll discover the beauty of working with alcohol inks and the endless possibilities they offer. The process involves using alcohol inks to create stunning designs on slick or non-porous surfaces such as tiles. These inks are known for their vibrant colours and ability to blend beautifully. If you're interested in learning more about resin arts and crafts, consider joining a resin art workshop to explore various techniques and gain valuable insights from experienced artists.

In this blog, we will take you through the step-by-step process of creating alcohol ink coasters. From preparing the surface to sealing the finished artwork, we will cover all the essential techniques and tips for a successful coaster-making journey. So, let's get started!

Essential Materials to Make Alcohol Ink Coasters

When it comes to making alcohol ink coasters, you'll need to gather a few key materials before getting started. Each of these materials plays an important role in the process, ensuring that your coasters turn out beautifully and last for a long time. Here are the essential materials you'll need:

  • Tiles: The base for your alcohol ink coasters will be tiled. It's essential to choose the right type of tile to achieve the best results. Smooth ceramic tiles are highly recommended as they provide a non-porous surface that allows the inks to spread and blend easily.
  • Alcohol Inks: Alcohol inks are the star of the show when it comes to creating vibrant designs on your coasters. These inks are specially formulated to be used on non-porous surfaces like tiles. They come in a wide variety of colours, allowing you to express your creativity and experimentation with various combinations.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is an essential component when working with alcohol inks. It is used to dilute the inks and help them spread across the tile surface more smoothly. Additionally, it can be used to blend colours and create beautiful transitions and effects.
  • Sealer: Once you have completed your alcohol ink design, it's crucial to seal it properly to protect it from smudging or fading over time. A waterproof sealer with UV resistance is highly recommended for this purpose. Apply a thin and even protective layer of sealer over the entire surface of the coaster, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protective Gear: When working with alcohol inks and sealers, it's crucial to prioritise safety. Wear gloves to prevent your skin from potential staining or irritation. Also, work in a well-ventilated area or use a respirator mask to avoid inhaling the strong fumes of the alcohol inks.

Step 1. Preparing the Surface

Before you start creating your alcohol ink coasters, it's essential to properly prepare the surface of the tiles for better adhesion and a smoother finish. Here are some steps to guide you through the preparation process:

  • Clean the Tiles: Begin by thoroughly wiping the tiles to remove any dirt, dust, or grease that may be present on the surface. You can use a gentle cleanser or rubbing alcohol to ensure a clean and smooth base for your designs.
  • Smooth out Imperfections: If your tiles have any rough edges or imperfections, consider sanding them lightly to create a smoother surface. This step is significant if you're working with porous tiles as they may absorb more ink and result in unpredictable outcomes.
  • Priming: Priming the tiles is an optional step but can help improve the adhesion of alcohol inks and prevent them from spreading too much on the surface. You can use a primer particularly designed for ceramics or apply a thin layer of white acrylic paint as a base coat.

Step 2. Choosing Colours and Mixing Techniques

Choosing the right colours and mastering mixing techniques are essential. Here, we will guide you through the process of selecting perfect ink combinations and teach you popular mixing techniques to create beautiful designs for your coasters.

Exploring Colour Theory

Colour theory plays a crucial role in the success of your alcohol ink coaster designs. You can create visually pleasing compositions by understanding the principles of colour harmony. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Complementary Colours: Choose colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel, such as blue and orange or yellow and purple. The contrast between these colours creates a vibrant and eye-catching effect.
  • Analogous Colours: Choose colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour chart, like blue and green or red and orange. This creates a pleasant and soothing colour scheme.
  • Monochromatic Colours: Stick to variations of a single colour, such as different shades of blue or green. This creates a stylish and elegant look.

Mixing Techniques

Once you've chosen your colours, it's time to explore different mixing techniques to achieve unique patterns and organic effects on your coasters. Here are two popular methods:

  • Blending Colours on a Palette: Drop a few ink colours onto a palette or non-porous surface. Use an applicator tool like a sponge or felt pad to pick up the colours and blend them. Experiment with different pressure and blending techniques to create smooth transitions or textured effects.
  • Using Alcohol Blending Solution: Apply drops of alcohol blending solution onto your tile surface before adding the ink colours. The blending solution helps the inks flow and spread more easily, creating beautiful organic patterns as they interact with each other.

Step 3. Applying and Manipulating the Inks

The application of the inks is where your creativity can truly shine. There are various techniques you can use to spread the inks across the tile surface and achieve unique effects. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Dropper Technique: One standard method is using a dropper to apply the inks onto the tile. This allows for precise control over where the colours go, giving you the ability to create intricate designs or patterns.
  • Blowing Technique: Another technique involves using a straw or an air blower to blow on the inks after applying them to the tile. This creates beautiful organic shapes and blends the colours, resulting in a stunning marbled effect.
  • Tilting Technique: Tilting the tile back and forth or side to side allows the inks to flow and mix naturally. This technique produces smooth gradients and interesting colour transitions.

Step 4. Sealing and Finishing Touches

Once you have completed your alcohol ink design on the coasters, it's essential to seal them to ensure their longevity and protect the vibrant colours. Here are some critical steps to follow when sealing your alcohol ink coasters:

  • Allow Sufficient Drying Time: Before applying the sealer, make sure the ink has completely dried on the surface of the coaster. This will prevent any smudging or smearing of the design during the sealing process.
  • Choose a Clear Topcoat Sealer: Select a clear topcoat sealer specifically designed for use on alcohol ink art. Look for a sealer that is waterproof and provides UV resistance to protect your design from fading over time. Some popular options include resin-based sealers or spray sealers.


Creating stunning alcohol ink coasters is both easy and accessible, allowing individuals to express their creativity and personalise their home decor effortlessly. Explore your artistic side and experiment with a variety of colours, patterns, and techniques to craft genuinely one-of-a-kind coasters. Remember to take important safety precautions when working with epoxy resin, such as wearing gloves, protective eyewear, and a respirator mask. Additionally, make sure to read and follow the specific instructions provided by the resin manufacturer for best results. Contact Us on Arts Shala to learn more about resin arts and crafts and expand your knowledge and skills in creating unique and beautiful artwork for your home.
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