Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Starburst Stains + Surgical Spirit = Alcohol Inks!

Research and Development!

A few weeks ago I had a little play as Tracey, owner of the company that makes the Moonglow products emailed me about an idea she tried, it seems an obvious thing to try, once you know about it!

You may know that Starburst Stains come in the bottles and jars as a ready mixed formula that you need to add hot water to when you get them home. Therefore as the water isn't in them when you buy them, you can add other things!

Now Tracey said to use rubbing alcohol, which according to the chemist is surgical spirit. I needed to have an experiment with it so I tried filing a half bottle first and then found I could fill the dauber bottle with the same amount of surgical spirit as you would normally add water and still get the same colour shades as when you add water. I left them a while to activate as you normally need to when you add the hot water.

Bearing in mind you cannot do this if you have already added water to a set, you will need to decide if you want your new unused set as alcohol inks or the normal water based product. If you think this is something you'd like to try then perhaps mix a new set putting half the formula into another container with water and mix the other half with surgical spirit.

Be warned it does smell!! If you don't like the smell of surgical spirit, then this definitely isn't for you as the even the card takes a while to lose the smell. The smell reminds me of some mint sweets I bought in the US, I think they were called Wintermint, it was mentioned by someone that tried the sweets that they tasted of TCP, so it is that sort of smell if it helps!

A plus point to making them into alcohol inks is that the Starburst Stain set colours are lovely and work so well together and will match projects you may already have with the waterbased version.

Anyway, I filled the dauber bottle with surgical spirit (about £3 for a large bottle) and gave it the usual shake to get the mica mixed, then I tried it on glossy card and also on normal smooth stamping card. It works really well on both and using the gloss and matt card gives a different finish.

I liked the idea of applying it with the dauber top directly onto the card, I'm not sure I would fancy spraying it. I dabbed the inks onto a non stick craft sheet, swiped the card onto the mat to pick up the colour, then filled some of the white gaps on the card directly from the marigold yellow orange Stain dauber bottle.

When the card dried it left a residue of mica on the surface which I just wiped off, and I ended up polishing the card to a high sheen. I stamped one of the flower stamps from Kay's new Funky Flowers stamp sheet and as I didn't have the alcohol inks with me when I got around to colouring it, I used my normal water based French Country set to detail paint the flower.

I used 2 of the alcohol ink flowers that Debbie made for me a couple of weeks ago as an embellishment along with the new pink Woodware nailheads (metallic self adhesive dots).

When I have more time I will play a little more and let you know how I get on.



  1. This is soooooo beautiful!

  2. What a brilliant idea Jill and that I presume would make them usable on acetate (one of my favourites).

    Only problem is I need to buy my sets again as mine are all mixed with water. Boo Hoo!

    Lesley Xx

  3. Hello Jill
    Glad you had some relaxation on Tuesday, well deserved I'm sure & certainly much nicer than doing horrible old ironing.
    Today's card is super & many thanks for the tips/advice on making alcohol inks as these are something I have only just discovered how to use. Had put them on my wish list but won't have to wait, just go to the chemist ---- much cheaper too!
    Can't wait to see what you come up with when you do more playing.
    "Thanks!" for sharing. Keep up the good work!!

  4. This is a really lovely card Jill; great technique :)

  5. I'll have to try this.. I could be doing it for days!!! I love love love the smell of surgical spirit!!!

  6. This is really interesting , Jill. All my starbursts are mixed with water, so I shall have to wait until I've used them but this sounds definitely worth trying. I love alcohol inks.
    Your card is really lovely. Those soft colours work so well with the image. Thanks as always for sharing.


  7. Thanks for sharing this technique with us Jill, your card is beautiful, I love your colour choice and the stamps of course. Like Lisa, my starbursts are mixed with water but this will be an excuse for me to be naughty again and buy some more LOL
    Christine xx

  8. Thank you for your comments.

    I still need to experiment more with it, so hold fire for now!

    But, if you really want to try it, rather than buying a whole new set, perhaps buying one or two individual dauber bottles from the same set you already have mixed with water would enable the ones mixed with surgical spirit to compliment a set you already have. Does that make sense??? The individual Starburst Stain dauber bottles are on special offer at the moment too!

    I did find that the mica just sits on the top on the gloss card and also acetate when I tried it but it did wipe away. It means that you don't get such a 2 tone effect but the overall effect of using alcohol inks is then in matching colours to a set you have. Of course, the surgical spirit you have left acts as the blending solution! I did try spraying this over and it was good.

    Will waffle more on this another time!

    Thanks for your interest in this.

    Jill x

  9. Well, this is brilliant. One of those "Why didn't I think of that?" ideas. And the card is simply beautiful. Got to try it.

  10. It looks as though it gives a lovely effect.The example above is gorgeous.
    Bereyl xx


Your comments are always really appreciated!