I am always on the hunt for fun new techniques for you to try on your rock painting journey! Using alcohol ink on rocks has always intrigued me, however, I didn’t have enough experience to give out a good tutorial. I have seen Shelley’s rocks in a few groups in the past. Her work is AMAZING! Lucky for us, she said “yes” to giving us her best tips, tricks, and a video tutorial!
Alcohol Ink Rocks
Using alcohol inks on rocks gives this beautiful washed-out look. The colors blend and bleed together to give one-of-a-kind creations.
This technique is perfect for giving your rocks a unique base coat before adding your text or design.
Shelley has perfected her method for making this beautiful lined pattern on her rocks and this is the technique she will be sharing with us today.
Shelley has been painting rocks since 2012. She sells some rocks and then hides the rest in her community, lucky neighbors… I highly recommend you check out her Facebook Page Handmade by Shelley and Toni to see all of her beautiful rocks and some other unique projects! You can also follow along with her creations over on Instagram here.
This page contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using the link, I could receive a commission. Check out all the details here.
Tips for using alcohol inks on rocks
There are a lot of live and learn moments with any new art technique. Luckily for us, Shelley has quite a few tips to keep in mind before you get started!
- Always wear gloves. If you spill on your skin, rub with 91% isopropyl alcohol.
- Wear old clothes in case you splash ink.
- Work FAST! Your piece will run liquid off while you tilt and alcohol is extremely fast drying.
- Make sure to cap your inks right after use so they don’t dry out. Shake well before use.
- Start with lighter colors first and add darkest last.
- Santorini is absorbent and does not need to be primed, ink right on the stone!
- River and beach rocks need a white chalk base, any brand. The chalk paint is matte and will absorb the ink.
- Alcohol ink bleaches quickly in sunlight. It is best to use on rocks that will stay indoors.
Supplies for Alcohol Ink Rocks
There are a few unique supplies you need to get yourself started. We placed everything that Shelley used in her tutorial into an Amazon shop for you to easily grab if you need it! -CLICK TO SHOP ALL SUPPLIES NOW-
- Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks.
- 91% isopropyl alcohol.
- Alcohol Blending Solution.
- Spray Bottle.
- Rocks. Santorini Stones to paint onto the rock. Or smooth river rocks with a chalk paint base coat.
- Chalk Paint. To basecoat river rocks.
- Signo Broad Paint White Gel Pen. Optional for writing on finished stones.
Alcohol Ink Rock Painting Setup
You need to prep your space for this project. Alcohol ink may stain some surfaces. You can wipe off a glass tabletop with the isopropyl alcohol, but clothes, wood, rugs, and other things may stain. An easy way to protect a nice table is a cheap tablecloth or towels that you don’t care about.
In the video below you will see I am using an old roasting pan covered with foil. Another option is to take a plastic bin and place a cookie cooling rack inside. You will notice a few slits in the foil. This is for drainage so that your rocks don’t sit in a pool of ink