One of the draws of alcohol ink is its looseness and unpredictability–so what if we amplified that and added a little danger?
This week’s project was inspired by a video I saw on YouTube where an artist applied alcohol inks to a ceramic tile and then lit it on FIRE! The movement of the flame allows for truly unique designs as well as an extremely fast evaporation time. In the video, she mentioned using this technique to create backgrounds for future works, but I think the result looks great enough on its own, so I used it to make some tile coasters!
For this project, I picked up some plain white ceramic tiles (4″ x 4″) and a slightly larger tile (9″ x 12″) from a hardware store–super cheap, and you can sometimes even find them in thrift stores. I already had my stash of Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks and Blending Solution and a lighter stick, so I was good to go!
To get the colors to start moving around, I added a few splashes of Blending Solution.
Then I lit it with my lighter stick and let the flame burn down on its own (about 20 seconds)…
And here’s what I got!
I wasn’t entirely happy with the amount of white that was still showing through, so I tried again!
One of the best things about alcohol inks is their ability to be reworked when you’re not happy with the result.
Even though the alcohol was burned off from the flame, I was still able to add MORE inks and blending solution to the tile and it reactivated it!
Here’s what I got the second time around and I was much happier with this result!
Added my blending solution…
And lit it up!
A lot of my color got burned off the first go around, so I threw on more Watermelon and Wild Plum the second go ’round and got this!
I’ll never get tired of taking pictures of art on fire.
Oof. This one came out REALLY dark. But no worries!
I only added light tones (Cool Peri and the blending solution) the second time.
Let it do its thing…
And it brought back my brighter colors!
My last tile was…a learning experience.
I’m not sure why I thought this color scheme would be a good idea, I guess I was riding a bit of a high from the pyromania. For whatever reason, I picked Cool Peri, Sunset Orange, Sunshine Yellow, and Citrus…
Oh, what a mistake that was…
Here’s the unfortunate mess I got with those colors. I think it might have turned out okay, had I not included the green…
Rather than chalk this up to a total waste, I used it as an opportunity to experiment.
I had forgotten that metallic Silver was in my arsenal and didn’t even consider using it on the three prior tiles, so I threw it and some blending solution on top of this wreck just to see what it would do…
So, essentially, the silver just danced around on top and didn’t meld in with the other colors. I like the look of it, though! I’d like it more if it wasn’t on THIS tile…
I made another attempt by JUST adding blending solution, to see if it would burn anything off, and it mostly just got kind of burnt… No worries, though!
After a little rubbing alcohol and some light scrubbing, I had a clean tile again!
This time, I stuck with a combination of colors I knew would look good together: Cool Peri, Aqua, Stream, and Indigo.
Some blending solution, of course.
And presto! This one was pretty okay with me, but I still wanted more coverage on those white areas.
I added some more Cool Peri and blending solution…
And ended up with this! Much better than that orange-green train wreck…
Once they were all dry (not long at all, since the fire evaporated most of the moisture), I painted the sides of them with some Joe’s Prime Really Good Lightfast Acrylic to match their schemes.
Then I sealed them with a few coats of Liquitex Soluvar Aerosol Varnish (Glossy).
And when THAT was dry, I stuck these little feetsies underneath so the unfinished bottoms wouldn’t scratch up my tables. If you have some felt lying around, that would work great. But I just picked up these furniture pads while I was getting the tiles.
Here are my finished products:
If you attempt this project, PLEASE make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area and not under any low ceilings! While the flame doesn’t extend more than about 2.5 feet, it could still catch onto things around it. And also make sure your inks are a safe distance from your open flame.
With those things in mind, this project is entirely safe and tons of fun!
Comment down below and let me know if you’ve ever used fire with alcohol inks before OR if you’re trying this technique for the very first time!