I ordered a starter set of Jacquard Piñata Color alcohol inks along with a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol is used to thin the ink and to clean brushes.
Pictured above is the first project I made using alcohol ink. It's a vintage copper-plated cuff that I've had for several years. There were some copper leaf appliques on it, which I removed by heating the cuff over a gas burner on my stove. I was then able to remove them easily. The hammered copper plating already had some patina, which I didn't try to remove. Instead, I used the alcohol inks rights over the surface, after I cleaned the cuff with soap and water and dried it thoroughly.
I made an abstract design of a sunset, using sunbright yellow for the sun on top of copper wire coiled into a circle. I layered yellow, then white, then yellow again to get the color deep enough. I used dropping, brushing, and dabbing techniques to apply the inks. The other colors I used on the copper cuff were calabaza orange, señorita magenta, and baja blue.
I was pleased with the rustic vintage look of the cuff and with the colors I chose.
Alcohol inks are best used on hard surfaces, such as metal, glass, and ceramic. If you want to use them on paper, you'll need coated paper, such as yupo paper. For my next experiments, I chose ceramic tiles. My original idea was to make coasters, so I bought several white ceramic 4" x 4" tiles from Lowe's. Later I decided I'd prefer to display the tiles, rather than cover them up with a cup or mug. Below are a couple of abstracts I made on the ceramic tiles.
As you can see, the colors are quite vibrant. To achieve some of the lighter colors, I thinned the ink with alcohol. I'm going to continue experimenting with various techniques and some other colors.
If you want to try your hand at alcohol ink art, you will probably need to order the alcohol inks online. I found that although Michael's, Joann, and Dick Blick stores all sell alcohol inks, they do not stock them in my local stores, but you can order them on their websites as well as through Amazon and other online retailers.
Jacquard is not the only brand available, but I chose it because I use Jacquard silk colors when I dye silk, and I've always had good luck with it.