Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Family Art Project: Alcohol Ink Drink Coasters

On Mother's Day, I had only one request - that we make art together as a family. I had the project all picked out and while I expected grumbling, there wasn't any.

Perhaps that's because the magic that happens when alcohol ink hits a cheap ceramic tile is mesmerizing.

I love these kinds of art projects. And when I say "these kinds," I mean kids' art that's practical. (No offense to the art teacher in my son's elementary school, but that African mud hut my son made out of clay isn't exactly the kind of sculpture I was looking for to adorn my bedroom dresser.)

List of supplies
Alcohol inks (We used the Adirondack brand.)
Inexpensive ceramic tiles from the home improvement store (ours cost $0.16 each)
Plastic to cover your work surface (we just used trash bags)
Patience for drying time
Aleene's Jewelry Pendant Gel (we used 1 1/2-4 oz. bottles for six tiles)
Small self-stick felt pads
Plastic cups
Waxed paper or aluminum foil
Black permanent marker (optional)

How we did it
Day one of this project is when all the magic happens. Simply wipe your tiles clean and holding the bottle of alcohol ink upside down, drip them onto your tile. The colors will blend or push against each other, creating truly phenomenal effects. Some of our tiles looked like nebulas in space, while others looked like melted candy. The effect impressed each of us (our 4 1/2 yr. old, 8 1/2 yr. old, husband, and myself).

WARNING: The dye will stain your hands.

Once the tile is covered in ink, set it aside to dry. Depending on the amount of ink applied, you may need to wait up to 48 hours.

Once the dye is no longer tacky, place the tile on top of a plastic, disposable drinking cup that's turned upside down on top of waxed paper or aluminum foil. Make sure you are working on a level surface, where you can leave the materials for a day or two undisturbed.

If you don't make a cup stand onto which the tile can rest, the gel will pool around your coaster and it will adhere to your work surface.

Now squeeze Aleene's Jewelry Pendant Gel generously over the surface of the tile. Make sure all areas are covered. Pop any air bubbles with a toothpick. Let the excess gel dribble over the edge of the tile onto your waxed paper. Leave the gel to set up for 12-24 hours. (Don't worry about drips that dry. You can break off the excess gel from the bottom of the tile easily later.) The gel will be cloudy when you first pour it on but it will dry clear.

When completely dry, you can color the edges of the tile for a finished look with a black permanent marker or leave it as is. Now attach the small felt pads to the four corners of your tile.

Now use the coasters to hold a drink! I love how these turned out!

NOTE: Some of our cups did stick slightly to the coaster as they were sweating. Just hold the coaster down and remove the cup. The ink design remained unharmed. 


  1. I loved these so much I had to create a new board for them on Pinterest! Thanks for the neat idea.

  2. Did you use the toothpicks to make designs after you put the gel over the tiles?