Alcohol Ink Flow Painting

With alcohol inks, you’ can drip and doodle with alcohol inks, markers and more to create vibrant, fluid, abstract effects that will allow you to learn through play and experimentation.

Alcohol inks are fast-drying, highly pigmented, alcohol-based inks that are great to use on any hard, non-porous surface. We’ll be using them on a variety of specialty papers. You can create stand-alone masterpieces or use your Flow paintings to add to your collages, letters, and more.

Caution: INK STAINS!!!

This is the lesson you will want to wear your art shirt for. Gloves are also available, as the ink will stain your skin for several days. Please have extreme caution not to stain the tables and floors, or other surfaces at Vida Asana. If a stain occurs, immediately clean with rubbing alcohol.


-Empty dropper bottle with lid


-rubbing alcohol

-gold straw



-Spray bottle of pure alcohol

-Small piece of specialty paper:

-Photo paper (use the BACKside only)

-Transparent paper

-Yupo paper (business card size, 2 pieces per person)

Getting Started Project:
Wispy Flow Painting

Diluted alcohol ink technique with embellishments

Don’t worry, this isn’t the only color you get to use if you have a color you’re not crazy about. Once we have all diluted at least one color, we will all share the color options.

Please sanitize you hands frequently or wear gloves.

-an empty pin-tipped dropper bottle with lid


-rubbing alcohol

-gold straw for blowing

-Photo paper

The ink bottles are either Ranger brand or Picasso brand, and have highly pigmented ink. 

The pipettes are clear plastic and have a heart shape tip, because we love you.

To create a flowy wash, we want our diluted mixture to be about 20% of the strength (color intensity) of the pure color. Compare 1 drop of the pure color, placed on your paper, to a few drops of your mixture.

Use a blank sheet of the photo paper (backside) to test your work. Since this is a test, please share the paper with one or two people around you. 

This will also give you a chance to see how the inks interact before you begin your own piece.

Ideally, the bottle holding the mixture should end up 50-75% full.

Since each ink has a different saturation level, the amount of alcohol needed will vary according to the color.

Using the diluted mixture you’ve created, you’re ready to begin!

Be sure you have your gold straw at the ready and a dropper or sprayer with pure alcohol on hand. 

The alcohol will soften and blend the intensity of the ink at the edges of each ink droplet or puddle. 

You may want to experiment later and see what happens if you skip this step. The hard edges skipping the alcohol will create are also very cool!

As you squirt the alcohol mixture onto your page, have your straw ready! You can also try tilting your page, just be careful not to drip off the page over a stainable surface. 

If you happen to have a hair dryer, this can also work if you can safely blow and not drip/stain near an outline.

Add more colors to taste (2-3 recommended).

Taking it to the next level:
Adding Embellishments

Add drops of pure ink to add emphasis in areas.

Dip a Q-tip in Alcohol to create dots or lines of white. The longer you press down the alcohol, the wider the circle will be.

For a splatter effect, use the tiny spray bottles filled with alcohol.

Once your design is dry, add line designs in black or colored Sharpies. Please note that ONLY the Sharpies will work, not the water-based markers. 

Try tracing the shapes you’ve create in sharpie, and make some of the lines thicker in some places. Add designs and patterns. **See Zentangles collections for samples and ideas of patterns.** 

Inspiration Gallery

There is no wrong way to flow paint! Embrace experimentation and play in your work.

Youtube Gallery

No-blowdryer Flowy Ink Project

No-blowdryer Flowy Ink Project

Wispy flow with blow-dryer & embellishments