Alcohol Ink Coasters | Green & Gold

Alcohol ink coasters

A few months ago I made a huge batch of alcohol ink coasters but unfortunately the resin used to seal them didn’t cure perfectly (due to inconsistent temperatures during the first week). That’s chemistry, folks! As a result, the mug or glass may leave teeny tiny marks on the coaster, but when I say teeny tiny, they really are! The micro marks are barely perceptible and to be honest, most people wouldn’t even notice them. I however am cursed with chronic perfectionism and my eye is drawn to every single tiny imperfection. The good news is that the marks are only temporary, and usually vanish within a few minutes or hours. Oh the relief when I discovered this!

Green and gold coaster set – available here

Due to the coasters not being 100% perfect I didn’t feel comfortable charging full price for them. They are therefore priced at a bargain 40% off the intended price! Rest assured though, all the alcohol ink coasters are perfectly functional and perfectly beautiful and suitable for hot and cold drinks. They are a stunning addition to any coffee table and guaranteed to be a conversation piece, each one having been individually painted and completely unique!

The colours and shine are near impossible to capture on camera!

As is so common with internet shopping, a static image just doesn’t do the coasters justice. These glorious glossy beauties are, without doubt, doubly gorgeous in real life – the vibrancy of the colours and the mirror-like shine of the resin are just breathtaking and cannot be captured on camera.

Each coaster is backed with cork to prevent scratches on surfaces

These green and gold alcohol ink coasters were created with all the greens from the Ranger collection – Citrus, Lettuce, Bottle and Oregano – and the glittering gold (which really shimmers!) is from the Piñata range.  

Grab yourself a bargain as these alcohol ink coasters are still available at the discounted price of £29.99. International shipping available.

Watch this space for more alcohol ink coaster sets and as I endeavour to attempt the resin process again very soon!

Rainbow Coasters | Alcohol ink art

Alcohol ink coasters

A few months ago I started using alcohol inks on ceramic tiles with the intention of creating coasters. Each tile is individually painted using alcohol inks and is completely unique – a tiny square of original art on which to sit your favourite drink.🍸☕ Inking the tiles was the easy (‘ish!) part; the sealing process on the other hand, has been a seemingly never-ending learning curve!

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All the colours!! Created with Raspberry, Sunshine Yellow and Mermaid.

I have researched and researched and researched and experimented with several types of protective spray. The alcohol inks sit on the surface of the non-porous ceramic tiles so sealing them is essential. Without sealing them, they are at risk of scratching off and discolouring. In the US all alcohol ink artists seem to use Kamar Varnish, Kamar Clear Glaze and Kamar UV-Resistant Clear Varnish. These three sprays however, are painfully expensive when sourced online (as currently nowhere in the UK seems to stock them!) so finding a cheaper alternative was a necessity.

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Dandelion and Slate

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Coasters all sprayed and waiting to be resined

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Purple, Wild Plum and Sunshine Yellow

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Wild Plum & Black

After considerable trial and error and asking for suggestions in Facebook community groups for alcohol ink artists I found the answer!! Each of my coasters is now sprayed three times with Plastikote Clear Sealer, followed by three coats of Kamar UV-Resistant varnish. With this combination, the inks are sealed in and the colours remain gloriously vibrant! (Previous attempts with Rustoleum and Ghiant sprays DID NOT work for me. There was serious discolouration, especially with the pinks, and the deep magenta turned into an ugly shade of grey salmon.) After several distraught months and feeling hopeless, I found a solution and I was ecstatic!

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Lettuce & Slate.

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Coasters waiting to be sprayed.

Preventing the inks from fading however, isn’t sufficient for them to be used as coasters. They need to be sealed with epoxy resin too!! This in itself has been, and continues to be, a massive challenge for me. Every day’s a school day, so they say!

Resin is a viscous liquid which can be poured onto artwork to preserve it, as it hardens permanently to create a protective coating. It’s an extremely fiddly, messy and complicated process as so many factors can affect it. It needs to be mixed in the correct proportions (50% hardener 50% resin), stirred slowly so as not to incorporate air into it (thus creating bubbles – bubbles are the ENEMY!) and all done in a room of 23-25°C. It’s sticky, toxic and gloves are essential, but I still manage to get it everywhere! Resin is also really expensive, so mistakes are super costly. Like I said, I’m still learning!

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Elevated coasters waiting to be resined!

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Me and my enormous supply of resin!! It’s most economical to buy in bulk.

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Pouring the resin.

What I’ve learned:

  • Elevate the tiles, so the resin can drip off and not congeal underneath
  • Tape the under side of the coasters with frog tape, as resin hardens and once it’s hardened it’s a nightmare to get off!
  • Room temperature is EVERYTHING! The inks and alcohol isopropyl don’t work properly when they are too cold and the tiles are too cold – the coverage is dull, lumpy and lack lustre instead of beautifully vibrant and opaque. The alcohol also evaporates the ink in ugly patches, instead of blending the colours together.
  • Use a blow torch to burst the little bubbles in the resin, but again, temperature is everything. If it’s too cold, microbubbles form in the resin and there’s no getting those out!

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Frog taping each individual coaster – so time consuming!

On one hand, this has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done. At each stage there has been what felt like an insurmountable hurdle and I have often felt like giving up. Despondency used to be my default and I frequently have to fight those old thought patterns. Somehow though I’ve kept on keeping on and never lost sight of the end goal. I’m so utterly delighted with how these coasters look and can’t wait to start retailing them!

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Which style do you prefer? Left or right?

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