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How to Use Alcohol Ink on Ceramics

Recently I showed you my alcohol ink art experiments and today I’m building on that project with an interesting twist: how to use alcohol ink on ceramics.  Alcohol inks love a non-porous surface so they’re perfect for adding some interest to glazed ceramics or china.  The one downside is that alcohol inks are not food safe, but there are clever ways to get around that.  The good news is that ceramics and china decorated with alcohol inks can withstand a vigorous hand washing – especially once they’re sealed – so they can be used and enjoyed regularly.

Alcohol ink on ceramics

This beautiful, marbled espresso set started life plain and unloved before I rescued it from a thrift store.

Update an old china set

I actually really appreciated the simplicity, but everything can use a little more turquoise or teal.  That’s just my motto in life.

I decided that the saucers would be perfect for adding a swirl of marbling with alcohol inks because they won’t be used for food.  They’re too tiny to even set a cookie on, so I knew it was a safe place to use the alcohol inks.  Another option would be on the handle or bottom of a mug, on the back of a clear glass plate, or on the outside of vases and other home decor accessories – you can really get creative with the placement of alcohol inks on ceramics and china.

Marbled saucers with alcohol inkDIY marbled coffee setEasy DIY Marbled Dish Upcycle

I am obsessed with the gorgeous, inky design I was able to create with alcohol inks.  Intrigued?  Here are the supplies – and some pointers – for how to use alcohol inks on ceramics:


How to Use Alcohol Ink on Ceramic:

To make the swirls on the saucer, I used the same technique that I used on the alcohol ink art.  If you missed that tutorial don’t worry – it’s so easy!  I just dropped a few spots of ink, along with a few drops of alcohol blending solution, onto my ceramic saucer and used my straw to blow the ink around.  With the saucer, I was also able to pick it up and, using a swirling motion, coax the ink around.  By layering shades of blue and teal I was able to create this really inky effect with lots of depth and interest – but truly the magic is in the alcohol ink and this is a perfect DIY for any skill level.  Click here for some more tips and tricks!

When the alcohol ink had dried, I wanted to be doubly sure the design would hold so I placed the saucers on a sheet of cardboard and applied a few thin coats of Krylon clear glaze, which I allowed to dry undisturbed for 24 hours.  I bought this spray for a bisque pottery alcohol ink project (which needs it) and it might be overkill for this project, but I do like to make DIY projects that can stand the test of time.

Krylon clear glaze review

The really cool thing about alcohol ink is that if you don’t like the design, you can quickly wipe it all off the ceramic surface before it dries.  Just use rubbing alcohol, applied with a paper towel or cotton pad, and wipe the ink off for a clean slate.  So fear not – you can always start fresh if you don’t like how the inks have settled!  I did.  Many times.

That’s what makes using alcohol inks on ceramics so fun – and addictive!  After adding some marbling to my espresso set, I added a simple, monochromatic swirl to a plain white ceramic tea bag holder.

Using alcohol inks on chinaAlcohol ink project ideas

I hope you feel inspired to rescue some bland china or ceramics from the thrift store and give them a new lease on life!  I can’t wait to see what you make…

Alcohol ink china makeoverDIY alcohol ink ceramic project ideaDIY marbled project ideas

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Alcohol Inks on Ceramics




  1. June 7, 2018 / 7:38 am


    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 7, 2018 / 8:42 am

      So happy you like!!

  2. Susie
    June 7, 2018 / 10:45 am

    These look really good! Shows what you can achieve with a blank canvas. I really love the blues you’ve used, but the beauty is that you could use any palette.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 7, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      Thank you! Yes, you could do any colors and really put a personal stamp on it with the design too. Sky is the limit!

  3. June 9, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    I love this idea! This would make a great handmade housewarming present.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 10, 2018 / 12:18 am

      Thank you! I love YOUR idea!! This would be such a sweet housewarming gift, you’re so right!

  4. June 11, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    These look fabulous! I have a plate gallery wall and I may need to buy a plain plate and make one to hang!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 19, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      Great idea! I have a feeling that your plate would be GORGEOUS!!

  5. Laura Webb
    June 13, 2018 / 10:42 am

    What an awesome idea! I love the suggestions that you can do the bottom side of a glass plate! That would be stunning! I look forward to trying it

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 19, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Thanks! I’d love to see what you make!

  6. June 15, 2018 / 9:07 am

    Damn, I love these! Ink makes such a beautiful texture on ceramics!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 19, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I’m blown away by how well it glides across glazed surfaces.

  7. Tia
    December 10, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Stunning, love the colors and texture on your plates! I would love to make these. Are these microwave and dishwasher safe?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      December 10, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Thanks Tia! I don’t own a microwave anymore so I couldn’t test it and I did hand wash these. That’s why I chose to just do the saucers, which I can even just rinse off and then throw the plain cups in the dishwasher. I gave them a vigorous handw ashing though – hot water, lots of scrubbing, and they held up fine.

  8. just E
    February 9, 2019 / 10:31 pm

    Love these. I know I can use flame on glass with real vodka and alcohol ink, have you tried using flame to set on ceramics or china?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 10, 2019 / 10:38 pm

      I haven’t tried that, thanks for the tip! Does that help set it?

  9. Sandra
    July 18, 2019 / 2:32 am

    Just wondering how the spray glaze holds up to the heat of the coffee cup? Does it stick or leave a ring on the glaze?

      • Julie S
        February 16, 2020 / 11:20 am

        Hi, Tanya. I’ve tried SO many different sealants with alcohol-inked surfaces and usually after time they start peeling off. Are yours still in good shape after all this time? I thought I had tried the Krylon Clear Glaze, but maybe it was a different kind. Would love to art up some ceramics again. Thanks!

        • February 16, 2020 / 7:47 pm

          I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such troubles! Mine have held up, but they’re not heavy use items. But I have also used the same sealant on coasters, which I do use more, and they have held up too. I gave away a set as well, and I never heard complaints. I wonder if maybe you need to let them dry longer before top coating? I don’t mean to imply you’re doing anything wrong – I just procrastinate and so mine were left to dry a long time before I applied the clear coat and perhaps that helped? Good luck! I hope the Krylon works for you.

        • Wioleta Brzezinska
          June 25, 2020 / 6:44 pm

          Hi Tanya, if it works you might be my savior. I’m strugglin with finding good sealer. I though that resin is my only chance. How many coats have you put on the cups and what was the time space between them?

        • June 26, 2020 / 10:21 pm

          I did not use much sealer at all – a few, thin coats. I just spray and waited a few minutes and spray again and then I let it cure for 24 hours.

  10. Mia
    August 12, 2019 / 2:00 pm

    How long does it take for the ink to dry on the ceramic piece? These are lovely!

    • August 12, 2019 / 2:39 pm

      That is a good question! I am not 100% sure they dry totally on their own. In my experience, they definitely needed to be sealed and I did it after a few hours.

  11. Maria
    March 7, 2020 / 5:45 pm

    Do you ever do the Mod Podge finish so one can put it in the dishwasher?

  12. Jade Tobin
    August 7, 2020 / 1:41 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous!!! I love how they’re sorta undercover funky….you see the nice pristine white China comin’ at ya for tea and then BAM….gorgeous pops of color different on every one!! Just made high tea MUCH more fun 🙂 I’ll defbe hoping try something this!! Thanks for all the help and inspiration!

  13. Meredith
    August 28, 2020 / 1:52 pm

    These plates are gorgeous. I’m curious, are they safe to eat off of with the Krylon glaze? Thank you!

    • August 28, 2020 / 4:50 pm

      The Krylon glaze is not food safe, that I know of, but you could seal with a food safe mod podge, I’ve seen those before. This is more a decorative touch, which is why I used a saucer and not a plate.

      • Meredith
        August 30, 2020 / 9:03 pm

        Thank you very much for the reply!

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