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Alcohol Ink Tiles

A fun project for a special event! I was recently asked to teach a craft at a women’s fall retreat. Having recently set up craft for my family’s 100 year anniversary of the homestead & family reunion, I thought a similiar craft would be a great idea! I was glad when the retreat leaders also thought the tile idea was a fun one!

For the homestead project, I created a silkscreen with the family reunion theme/logo and purchased Laguana Clay lowfire 4″ x 4″ bisque tiles from Each tile was silkscreened with underglaze, then coated with clear glaze and fired in a kiln to cone 05. At the reunion, each family member could create their own design on the tiles using alcohol ink and take them home. It’s important to know— the tiles fire a creamy white, not a bright white. If you want plain bright white tiles, pick some up at your local Habitat Restore or a home building supply store, they are super inexpensive!

For the women’s event, I did the same thing. I created a silkscreen with the retreat theme/logo using their clip art, then my husband silkscreened the tiles and I put clear glaze on them. We fired them in our largest kiln– it took 3 full kilns to get them all done! We packed them up with a bunch of other supplies for the workshop— canned air, alcohol ink, 99% isopropyl alcohol and lots of paper towels, cork bottoms and ziplocks. A quart size ziplock is great for transfering a tile home after its finished. Oh, yes, and sealant spray– two kinds both by Krylon, Kamar Varnish to seal the tiles and UV Resistant Clear Acrylic Glossy to prevent sunlight from fading the tiles. I should warn you, only spray the sealants outside, in low humidity and wear a heavy duty gas mask. The fumes are terrible and seriously bad for your brain cells. The sealants will make them water resistant, but not water proof. They must be sealed with Krylon Triple Thick Clear Spray glossy to make them water proof. The Varnish and UV spray really need multiple coats. for the sake of time, at the retreat they only got one coat each. Hopefully they will seal them with the triple thick and they will not chip.

The canned air worked great for making the tiles. We also had straws at the tables to use. The ladies at the retreat had so much fun and I did too! I did lots of demos and totally enjoyed it! It was a bit of work but so worth it! They were beautiful! And a wonderful keepsake of our time together! There were some leftover tiles at the end of class, but they were sold to ladies who wanted to do the project with their kids or grand kids! Look out Tim Holtz! There maybe a run on your ink!

One of the best things about this project is you are not stuck with your ink design if you hate it. You are able to spritz the rubbing alcohol on it and wipe it off with a paper towel and start again. It was an encouraging aspect of the project, especially because there was a bit of a learning curve with the ink and cans of air. I found lots of helpful videos on youtube to learn more about this process.

Below are some sample tiles I made to inspire the ladies! I hope they inspire you to pick up some tiles, some ink, and get making! You can use them for your coffee or for trivets or to frame in a shadow box for your wall to cheer you up during the long winter days ahead.

“Choose Joy” Alcohol Ink Tile made by Eileen Boomgaarden
“Live Amazed” Alcohol Ink Tile made by Eileen Boomgaarden

Demo tile done at the craft workshop

Happy Crafting Everyone!


2 thoughts on “Alcohol Ink Tiles”

  1. Love your creations! Bought a couple at Waukesha West high school craft fair last weekend. Would like to know which other craft/art shows you will be in, this year.

    1. Hi Priscilla, Thank you so much for your kind compliments! I appreciate it! At this current time, I do not have any more craft/art shows scheduled for the remainder of the year. If I do add any I will definitely post them here and on Instagram & Facebook. Please feel free to check my Etsy shop for items and I do have many items that are available at local venues: Timber Lane Gallery +Studio in Wales, WI, The Local Collective in Hartford, WI, Lake Country Mercantile in Pewaukee, and Farwell Gallery in McFarland, WI— suburb of Madison. Have a lovely week!

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