Christmas trees should reflect the personality and interests of the people who decorate them, and it’s always good to include some uniquely handcrafted ornaments.
Alcohol inks are a fun and creative medium for turning ordinary metal ornaments into one-of-a-kinds that will hang only on your tree!
Today is the second in a series of holiday-themed posts leading up to Christmas Day on Saturday. Links to the previous posts will be included at the bottom of each day’s new post.
Alcohol inks are made for nonporous surfaces such as slick paper, metal, glass, and plastic. The colors are wildly vibrant and intermixable. You literally have no idea what the visual result of the alcohol inks mixing together will be, and the colors are spectacular!
Adirondack Alcohol Inks by media mixed artist (and entrepreneur) Tim Holtz and manufactured by Ranger are the ones I use, and of the many available colors, I have Caramel, Raspberry, Lettuce, Sail Boat Blues, Latte, Cranberry, Ginger, Pink Sherbet, Eggplant, Copper, and Pearl.
Ordinarily I use alcohol inks to make greeting cards. The inks are applied to a slick, white paper made by Yupo, but it occurred to me since alcohol inks also can be used on metal to produce beautiful color patterns, why not try them on metal ornaments for the Christmas tree?
The galvanized metal ornaments were purchased at a local craft store for 79 cents each (no typo!), and I’m pleased with how they turned out. Be sure to wear disposable gloves when working with alcohol inks because they’re highly pigmented and designed to stain (as I once learned the hard way, especially your hands!).
I’ll do a future post on alcohol inks and the greeting cards I’ve made with them, but here are some examples so you’ll see how the beautiful colors mix together when placed on the slick white paper. I made panels from the alcohol ink designs and attached them to the greeting card fronts.
After the alcohol ink colors develop in a matter of minutes, I let them dry, and then stamp them with black ink for designs. You can use all kinds of things to make special effects, including acrylic gel medium, white glue, and little jewel embellishments as seen on the dress card.
For the Christmas tree ornaments, I used different combinations of the alcohol inks, and with a blending solution, worked the colors into designs I liked. Then after they dried, I added loops of twine or satin ribbon for the ornaments to hang on the branches.
You can achieve a beautifully distressed, aged patina by using alcohol inks on the metal ornaments, and they’ll look as if they have been in your family for generations.
Be sure to notice the “before” and “after” pictures of the ornaments. Much like yesterday’s post about Christmas tree angel Mary Catherine Grace, the transformation is significant in becoming handmade items (both fun and inexpensive) for your Christmas tree!
After the ornament photographs, you’ll find a couple of books on alcohol inks I recommend if you’re interested in learning more about them, and maybe making some ornaments for your Christmas tree!
A Compendium of Curiosities
Author Tim Holtz. (Advantus Corp)
Pigments of Your Imagination – Creating with Alcohol Inks
Author Cathy Taylor. (Schiffer Publishing)
Have you used alcohol inks in your arts and crafts? What beautiful, crazy results did you achieve? Please comment below!
Christmas Week Posts
December 20, 2021: The Making of an Angel